Texas Instruments Debuts 3 New Products at APEC 2022
Focusing on performance and size, Texas Instruments is doubling down on EV power systems at this year's APEC.
The field of power electronics has received renewed interest in recent years as systems such as electric vehicles have become increasingly popular. This is because many of the more inefficient, costly, and heavy subsystems within electric vehicles are power electronics. To ensure a future in which electric vehicles maintain high performance and an affordable price point, power solutions must be improved.
Today at the annual Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), Texas Instruments released three new power solutions that aim to address these problems head-on. All About Circuits had the chance to hear from three TI representatives, Jeff Morroni, Carsten Oppitz, and Alex Chin, to hear firsthand about the new solutions and how they address power challenges in the automotive space.
Trends in EV Power
Texas Instruments believes two of the most pressing issues in EV power systems are how to achieve low noise performance and low EMI.
Morroni, manager of power management R&D at Kilby Labs, tells us, “My first car from the 60s had only one car radio, which was the only thing that could be interfered with. In today’s electric vehicle, you have so many more systems, and these systems are all really sensitive. We really have to protect these systems from interfering with each other, and it's really complex.”
Some of the power systems in an EV. Image (modified) used courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy
The challenge here becomes clear. First, electrifying vehicles requires extremely high power systems and kilometers' worth of cabling, which creates large amounts of EMI. At the same time, developers are introducing new and sensitive analog electronic systems into vehicles for ADAS and autonomous driving functions. These two factors conflict with one another, and the question becomes, How do we design high-power electric vehicles for the lowest EMI possible?
Alex Chin, the vice president of linear power at TI, elaborates: “ADAS systems tend to be very sensitive. For example, the CMOS image sensors that are around the vehicle are very susceptible to noise, and beyond EMI, they need to have a clean power supply with low noise levels.”
Hence, the challenge goes beyond just eliminating EMI; designers must also ensure low noise levels on power rails for sensitive analog signals in general.
Low EMI Buck Converters
To address the challenge of low EMI systems, Texas Instruments today released two new buck converter solutions.
The two products, the LMQ66430 and LMQ66430-Q1, are both 36V-3A power converters designed specifically for mitigating EMI and noise in industrial and automotive applications. Notably, the converters are able to help reduce system EMI by integrating two input bypass capacitors and one boot capacitor onto the package.
This integration allows designers to reduce the high di/dt current loops that generally exist in these kinds of switching applications by taking passives off the board and onto the package. Further, these decreased loop inductances allow for faster control of timing-critical switching elements like GaN transistors.
The LMQ66430 integrates passive in the package. Image used courtesy of TI
“In the LMQ66430, integrating these passives allows us to control the loop inductances to reduce EMI,” Morroni explains. “Further, in the case of high-efficiency GaN switching, this allows us to drive switches faster to get higher efficiency.”
Beyond this, the buck converters feature a quiescent current of 1.5µA, meaning that systems can be more power-efficient even when off.
Low-noise LDO Linear Regulator
The third product released by TI at APEC today is the TPS7A94, a new low-dropout (LDO) linear regulator intended for extremely low noise performance.
The new LDO—designed to be used as a low-noise option downstream of a noise power supply like a buck—offers an ultra-low output noise of 0.46µVRMS, a number TI claims is 46% better than the competition. Further, to help isolate downstream components from upstream noise, the TPS7A94 features a PSRR of 100 dB at 1 kHz down to 60 dB at 1 MHz.
Typical application circuit for the TPS7A94. Image used courtesy of TI
Discussing the new LDO, Chin said, “With the TPS7A94, we're really adjusting two main noise sources of a power rail. First, we are driving the noise generated by the LDO down to industry-leading levels. Second, we are providing really amazing PSRR performance to clean up the noise coming from the upstream power supply.”
TI to Demo at APEC
From March 20–24, TI has set up a booth at APEC to present its power management portfolio and demonstrate ways to increase power density; cut EMI, noise, and quiescent current; and boost reliability.