DC/DC chip packs the most power management for 3-amp applications

Austin, Tex.&#8212Affording a one-chip solution for basic power-with-power management designs, Zilker Labs says its ZL2105 is the industry's only such offering for 3-amp service with complete digital-power management facility, and is the mostly easily configured.

The low-power device, retaining the power-managing capabilities of the company's ZL2005 (for 3-25 amp service) product in the Digital-DC family of devices, combines a synchronous step-down controller with drivers; voltage tracking, sequencing and margining blocks; voltage/current/temperature monitoring; and fault detection circuitry in a package measuring just 6-by-6 mm. As with the ZL2005, the ZL2105 does away with the need for the user to write software code for configuring the device.

“The ZL2105 combines the digital power management capabilities, simple configurability and high efficiency of our existing ZL2005 into a part that is ideal for lower power applications,” said Jim Templeton, vice president of marketing, pointing to its ease of use with respect to configuration as the key differentiator to competing products. “Customers can combine multiple Digital-DC devices on a given PCB and easily configure the parts to simplify a complicated power design. Ours are the only solutions to offer this 'plug and play' experience for board-level power.”

Indeed, a DSP-based solution often represents an overkill for even today's advanced power-management applications, points out Templeton. In its stead, the ZL2105 employs a state-machine approach to simplify design without sacrificing performance. Just as important, the efficiency of the state-machine technique, as is the case with control systems in the analog domain, isn't as affected at the higher switching rates (where DSP core power requirements greatly accelerate). The resulting one-chip solution does away with the need for a centralized controller or an extended power-supply managing architecture, and at the same time cuts real-estate and overall parts count by up to 60 percent.

The chip's high-efficiency (>90 percent) power conversion section, which can be configured for 200 kHz to 2 MHz operation, delivers up to 3 amps continuous at 0.6- to 5.5-volt output (accurate to 1 percent over line, load, and temperature) from a 4.5- to 14-volt input. Following on the footsteps of the ZL2005, the ZL2105 does away with the supervisory IC traditionally used to initalize the system from software instructions on power up. The user sets soft-start delay and ramp, sequencing, tracking, and margining by simple pin-strapping, or using resistors. Optionally, users may configure the device via the chip's I2 C/PMBus interface using an industry standard command set. Designers can combine multiple Digital-DC chips by configuring each IC via pin-strapping and connecting the SMBus of each device. The devices can be monitored and controlled individually, or as a system.

Click here for the device's datasheet. The ZL2105 is priced starting at $2.80 each in 1k quantities. An evaluation board, the ZL2105EV1, along with evaluation software is also available to speed designs.

Zilker Labs , 1-512-382-8300,

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