Dialog Semiconductor Launches New Series of Programmable Sub-PMICs

September 19, 2019 by Gary Elinoff

Dialog Semi's four new high-frequency, I2C-controlled buck converters aim to save onboard space and external component count.

Dialog Semiconductor has unveiled a new power management product family of Buck converters consisting of the DA9217, DA9220, DA9121, and the DA9122. The SUB-PMIC family features a 4MHz switching frequency, allowing designers to specify smaller output inductors, saving space, weight, and expense.


Image modified from Dialog Semiconductor


Family members offer single outputs of 6 or 10 amps, or dual output of 3 or 5 amps. They offer a smaller form factor than competing devices, enabling developers to fit a 6 to 10 amp power solution into the tight board areas available in today’s smartphones, tablets, notebooks, SSDs and DSLR cameras. 

The I2C interface enables dynamic voltage control, optimizing power savings and performance. Complex system sequencing is simplified with in-circuit digital programmability and configurability, for a seamless interface to the system microcontroller. Most importantly, fault protection features provide overvoltage, overcurrent, and thermal shutdown protection.


What Is a Sub-PMIC?

The concept of a "sub-PMIC" may not be immediately familiar. It is, as far as we can tell, a proprietary term from Dialog Semiconductor for a power management IC that is more modular and flexible than a traditional, full PMIC. 


Dialog Semi asserts that these new devices will be suitable for an array of consumer products, including lightweight mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and ultrabooks), infotainment systems, gaming consoles, and Wi-Fi modules. 

Scott Brown, Dialog's VP of Marketing for their Mixed-Signal Business Group, said that the new device family is intended to address new challenges that face engineers: “Designers continue to face new challenges with each passing year when it comes to power consumption and system size but are often forced to trade one feature for another.” He goes on to state that “These new devices are addressing these challenges head on which continue to demonstrate Dialog’s leadership within configurable power management solutions.”

Commonalities Across the Family of Four SubPMICS

All of the new devices can accept an input power supply ranging from 2.5 V to 5.5.V. This makes them suitable for a wide variety of low-voltage systems, particularly all Li-ion battery-powered applications. 

All offer output voltage range(s) chosen from between 0.3 to 1.9 volts, programmable in 10 millivolt increments. A remote differential sensing capacity guarantees high accuracy regardless of the PCB routing scenario opted for. They offer ±1% static accuracy and ±5% dynamic accuracy.

Finally, all operate over a temperature range of -40 °C to +85 °C and are available in a 2.5 mm x 1.7 mm (0.4 mm pitch)  24WLCSP package.


The DA9217 and the DA9121

The DA9217 and the DA9121 are both dual phase, single channel output SubPMICs. Each of the separate phases require an external 0.10 µH inductor. The DA9217 can source an output current of up to 6 amps, while the DA9121 can source up to 10 amps.

The DA9217. Image from Dialog Semiconductor


The DA9122 and the DA9220

The DA9122 and the DA9220 are both dual-phase, single-channel output SubPMIC. Each of the separate phases require an external 0.10 µH inductor.

The DA9122 can source two 5 amp outputs, while the DA9220 can source two 3 amp outputs.


The DA9122. Image from Dialog Semiconductor

Other Buck Regulators from Around the Industry

Because designers prefer to provide power at the point of load, many component providers are active in this field.

Renasas, for example, offers the ISL91302B, a dual or single output, synchronous multiphase Buck switching regulator that can deliver up to 5 amps per phase continuous output current. The device features four integrated power stages and is able to assign its power stages to either output.


Have you ever come across the term sub-PMIC before? Let us know in the comments below if this is a term you're used to.

  • Adam Dixon October 02, 2019

    Nice article. You did have me curious when I read 10 ‘microvolt’ step resolution. I had to pull up the datasheet and confirm it’s actually 10 millivolts 😉

    Like. Reply
    • K
      Kate Smith October 03, 2019
      Great catch! Thanks for pointing out this error. We've fixed the mistake—and added links to the datasheets so no one else has to go digging like you did. =D Thanks for reading, Adam, and for making the piece better!
      Like. Reply