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Virtual remote sense controller overcomes the need for remote sense wires

April 15, 2010 // Paul Buckley

Virtual remote sense controller overcomes the need for remote sense wires

A Virtual Remote Sense (VRS) DC/DC controller that eliminates the remote sense wires required to compensate for the voltage drop in cables, wires and circuit board trace runs has been unveiled by Linear Technology Corporation.

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Voltage drops in wiring and cables that cause load regulation errors are usually corrected by an additional set of sensing wires but Linears LT4180 continuously interrogates the line impedance and corrects the regulators output voltage.

As a load current increases, the voltage drop (IR losses) in the wiring increases (due to the line impedance) and the voltage delivered to the system drops. The traditional approach to solving such a problem is to sense the output voltage with a pair of wires that run from the regulators feedback network to the load. While this approach works well, the additional pair of wires may not be practical or reliable.


The LT4180 is designed to maintain a corrected regulated voltage at the load regardless of current or line impedance. The 3 V to 50 V input voltage range address a variety of applications, including remote instrumentation, battery charging, wall adaptors, notebook power, surveillance equipment and halogen lighting.

The LT4180s key benefits are achieved by the device continuously interrogating the line impedance and correcting the power supply output voltage to maintain a steady voltage at the load regardless of current changes. VRS works with a small modulation on the output of the regulator to compute the correction. The modulation is filtered by the output capacitor at the load. The LT4180 works with any conversion topology and isolated or non-isolated power supplies, DC/DC converter including bricks, modules and adjustable linear regulators.
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