March 29, 2018
|By: John Woodward
Executive Business Manager, Industrial Power, Maxim Integrated
How quickly things change. At home, you could be controlling all your lights, oven, and maybe even your refrigerator from your smartphone. In the factory, you could be changing the positioning, alignment, and sensitivity of your sensors on the fly as you adjust the production flow. One thing that never changes, however, is the pressure on power design engineers to minimize the size and heat of their solution.
Let's look at an example of where there is such a challenge: industrial sensors.
Figure 1: Industrial sensors need to be small, low power, and fast.
Industrial sensors used to only have the ability to send the information from the sensor back to the intelligent hub where all the decisions are made. It was a very simple design, not a lot of components in the sensor housing. Relatively inflexible, but that was all that was needed. Now, sensors need to be flexible, quick, and small. Designers are stuffing microcontrollers and other components along with the sensor into a SMALLER housing or encasement. These new sensors have bi-directional data transfer, which adds the ability to make adjustments to the actual sensor as needed. What does that mean? More power! Yup, where there was once a simple sensor and maybe an LDO, now we have more ICs with an increased power budget in a smaller space.
What options are available to the power designer for these sensors? Many. But, which ones will actually meet their needs? Meeting the power and size budget is tough, which is why Maxim has created a new line of wide-input voltage Himalaya uSLIC™ power modules for these heat- and space-constrained applications.
Maxim's Himalaya uSLIC power modules have a very small package size, currently 7.8mm². They have peak efficiencies of 90%. They require as few as five extra components for a complete power solution. They support an input voltage range from 4.0V all the way up to 42V, extra margin for that noisy typical 24V supply voltage rail. Need I say more? Sure, why not? These modules support load currents of between 0 and 300mA. Some other features include soft start, programmable switching frequency, and power good. In my humble opinion, these are just the power solution that power designers need for those heat- and space-constrained applications.
One of the parts available in our compact uSLIC packaging is the MAXM17532, a 4V to 42V, 100mA step-down power module that integrates a controller, MOSFETs, an inductor, and compensation components. With the high level of integration, designers benefit from reduced design complexity and manufacturing risks, as well as true plug-and-play approach.
Figure 2: The MAXM17532 and MAXM15462 are compact step-down power modules that provide a true plug-and-play power-supply solution.