ST’s Power Supply Controller Aims to Boosts Energy-efficiency for USB Chargers
Apart from reducing the carbon dioxide emissions in the environment, the new ST-ONE power supply controller also targets the production of energy-efficient USB adapters.
Electronic consumers now enjoy fast and ubiquitous charging thanks to universal serial bus power delivery (USB PD). The USB PD is a USB charging standard that gives higher power supply capabilities to devices over a single cable.
The latest standard version is the USB PD 3.1, which can deliver up to 240 W of power over a USB Type-C cable.
A high-level overview of the USB PD 3.1 protocol's power ratings. Image used courtesy of Satechi
Manufacturers are pushing forward innovation around the USB PD charging standard to produce energy-efficient adapters for laptops, smartphones, and so on. Moreover, the standard enables ease of use and allows the transmission of power, data, and video over a single cable. These capabilities could help promote environmental conservation by eliminating the need for multiple cables.
One recent example targeting this area is the new ST-ONE chip from STMicroelectronics. This chip aims to fabricate a high-power density USB PD device that supports fast charging over a USB-C adapter in laptops.
In this article, we'll discuss the interesting features packed inside the new power supply controller chip.
Unpacking ST's ST-ONE Controller Chip
Lately, there has been a demand to produce environment-friendly electronics. Companies hope to do this by introducing products with reduced carbon dioxide emissions and limiting the number of plastics consumed.
STMicroelectronics hopes to meet this demand as its latest power supply controller chip accelerates the development of eco-friendly adapters for fast and robust charging in smartphones and laptops.
The ST-ONE chip is claimed to control power supplies and develop robust energy-recovery circuits with a reduced number of components. Additionally, the product boasts the ability to save up to 100 terawatt-hours of energy while reducing the use of plastics in production.
Domenico Arrigo, Industrial and Power Conversion Division General Manager at STMicroelectronics, noted that this chip could save 0.2 million tons of plastics and raw materials if one billion chargers worldwide if incorporated.
The ST-ONE block diagram. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics (click to enlarge)
Furthermore, the new ST-ONE is said to be the first-ever produced controller chip that incorporates the Arm Cortex M0+ processor in its core. This core equips the device with a microcontroller with 64 KB flash memory for power conversion and USB-PD protocol. ST-ONE also features ZVS non-complementary active clamp flyback controller with synchronous rectification and USB-PD 3.1 PPS interface.
According to ST, the new chip pairs with MasterGaN power output modules. The MasterGaN technology enables adapters to function at high switching frequencies and allows smaller-size magnetic components to maximize power density. At the same time, the product offers an increase in power density as smaller-size components are used to control and manage large power deliveries.
The chip finds applications in adapters that delivers up to 100 W of power for consumer electronics such as smartphones and laptops.
The EVLONE65W Evaluation Board
Along with this chip, an evaluation board has also been released. Based on the ST-ONE digital power controller chip, the EVLONE65W is a high-power density USB-PD board. It aims to support a programmable power supply and could be particularly useful for manufacturing high power density chargers.
According to the company, the EVLONE65W offers the world's highest power density packing of more than 1.8 Watts per cubic centimeter. It can deliver up to 65 W of power over a USB Type-C adapter. At full load, the product boasts an efficiency that is greater than 93%.
The EVLONE65W evaluation board. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics
All in all, with this new power supply controller, ST aims to promote robust eco-friendly adapters and devices while delivering the required power to charge electronic devices in an energy-efficient manner.
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