Glossary Definition for Idle Mode™

Glossary Term: Idle Mode™ 

Definition

A method for improving the efficiency of switching regulators by skipping pulses when the circuit is lightly loaded.

This variation in PWM (pulse-width modulation) combines the efficiency at low loads afforded by PFM (Pulse-Frequency Modulation) with PWM's efficiency and low-noise characteristics at higher loads. At light loads the circuit skips pulses as necessary (acting like a PFM circuit). At higher loads it acts like PWM. The net result is the maximum efficiency over the widest possible load range.

Learn more: "DC-DC Converter Tutorial" (see the paragraphs around Figure 14).

Related Parts
  • MAX1636 - Low-Voltage, Precision Step-Down Controller for Portable CPU Power
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