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EPC adds GaN reference design for USB PD 3.1


eGaN IC-based reference design addresses new stringent demands for multiport chargers and on-motherboard DC-DC

EPC has introduced the EPC9177, an eGaN IC-based reference design for high power density, low profile DC-DC converters to address new USB PD 3.1 stringent demands for multiport chargers and on-motherboard DC-DC converting 28 V – 48 V input to 12 V or 20 V output.

With the advent of USB PD 3.1, the output voltage for USB charging increases from 20 V to 48 V and the power increases from 100 W up to 240 W. This higher power enables USB charging beyond laptop and cell phone fast charging to higher power applications including gaming PCs, power tools, and ebikes.

While the main output of the chargers is 48 V to allow the higher output power with 5 A rated cables, multiport chargers can also support lower output voltages such as 5 V, 12 V, 20 V to be compatible with a wider range of devices. A smart DC-DC regulator is required to generate these lower voltages. Additionally, a DC-DC regulator will be required resident on the motherboard of the gaming PC or power tools to convert the 48 V to 20 V and 12 V input.

The EPC9177 is a digitally-controlled, single-output synchronous buck converter reference design board operating at 720 kHz switching frequency converting an input voltage of 48 V, 36 V, 28 V to a regulated 12 V output voltage and delivering up to 20 A continuous output current.

The small area (21 mm x 13 mm), low-profile (3 mm height inductor), synchronous buck converter features the EPC23102 fully integrated half-bridge ePower Stage and is optimised for computing power supplies and USB PD 3.1 multiport chargers and on-board DC-DC solutions able to convert a 28 V – 48 V input to a 12 V or 20 V output.

The EPC23102 GaN power stage integrates the half-bridge driver and FETs (100 V, 6.6 mΩ R(DSon)), the level shifter and the bootstrap charging and can switch with very high efficiency – up to 3 MHz. It enables the EPC9177 reference board to deliver up to 20 A continuous current using a heatsink and 15 A continuous current without a heatsink to 12 V output voltage, with greater than 97.3% efficiency with a 48 V input.

EPC says the high power density makes this reference design ideal for computing, industrial, consumer, and telecom power systems requiring small size and high efficiency. eGaN FETs and ICs provide the fast switching, high efficiency and small size that can meet the stringent power density requirements of these leading-edge applications.

Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC commented: “GaN ICs provide the maxim power density for DC-DC converters. EPC GaN power stages give power system designers the highest power density and low component count solutions for USB PD 3.1. The EPC9177 reference solution, based on the EPC23102, increases efficiency and power density, and reduces overall system cost for USB PD 3.1 implementation.”

The reference design board is priced $480.00 each and is available from Digi-Key.

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