Buck converter extends power scalability for smartphones and tablets

February 18, 2013 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Dialog Semiconductor has announced the DA9210 programmable multiphase DC-to-DC buck converter that can be scaled for use across multiple, high-end smartphone and tablet platforms to help accelerate development cycles.

The four-phase buck converter delivers an output current of up to 12 A. This can be doubled to 24 A when two DA9210 converters are used in parallel and up to 38 A when combined with the the company’s DA9063 System PMIC to supply other power rails in the system. This makes the DA9210 ideally suited to high performance, ARM® Dual big-Little or Cortex A15 multicore application processors that enable consumers to multi-task using several applications simultaneously.

Next generation processors are increasingly being architected to step between sleep mode and maximum load very rapidly to help minimise heat build-up. DA9210 supports this operation and delivers power with class-leading efficiency. This allows users to run several background tasks, such as weather or Facebook updates, combined with application updates over 4G LTE, whilst downloading HD video with Wi-Fi streaming to TV. The DC-to-DC buck converter delivers the highest level of efficiency across the entire output current range by selectively enabling and disabling phases, reducing losses by up to 50%. Further, it can increase the current supplied from zero to maximum in a millionth of a second to support very fast processor wake-up and application response times.

By using this four-phase architecture, combined with a fast switching frequency, the DA9210 enables the use of very low profile components ‒ with a maximum height of just 1 mm ‒ to support the design of ultra-thin devices. The power management system, consisting of up to three ICs, behaves as one, simplifying the start-up configuration and control of the power management system. Software loading on the host processor is optimised, improving customer time-to-market while minimising the design effort of the power scheme for subsequent designs.

The DA9210 wide supply range of 2.7 V to 5.5 V enables the use of single cell lithium-ion batteries as well as a standard 5 V supply or a USB power supply. The operating temperature range is -40 to +85 °C.