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Switcher delivers power savings in always-on smart meters

08 Sep 2014

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Texas Instruments revealed a switcher for non-isolated AC/DC conversion, touting industry's lowest quiescent current below 100µA, which is half the power consumption of existing solutions.

The UCC28880 integrates a 700V power MOSFET and high-voltage current source, increasing overall energy efficiency of "always-on" non-isolated power systems with output currents up to 100mA, such as smart meters, home automation equipment and white goods.

The switcher reduces system cost and minimises the overall size of the power supply, while maintaining high efficiency and system performance. Designers can use the device to build different converter topologies, such as buck, buck-boost and flyback, without adding extra semiconductor components.

"Hundreds of millions of smart meters around the world continuously draw power from the grid to measure energy use and provide feedback to the utility," said Dave Freeman, chief technology officer for TI's high-voltage power solutions group. "Even though meters consume relatively small amounts of power that is not charged to the customer, when you multiply the amount of energy needed to power the devices, it makes sense to minimise the energy consumed. New power conversion technologies, such as TI's new high-voltage power solution will help smart meters minimise energy consumption."

TI provides an AC/DC reference design based on the UCC28880 to enable designers to quickly design a low-cost, low-power non-isolated high-side buck converter with a total solution size of 38mm x 32mm x 22mm that supports 13V, while generating up to 100mA of output current. The reference design features a buck converter with integrated switch and can be used in numerous industrial applications. The design's schematic, CAD files and test results are available for download from TI's website.

Other key features of the UCC28880 include:

  • Excellent system performance under excessive currents: Along with current limit function, the controller's inductor current runaway protection helps protect against under load short-circuit conditions to ensure design reliability.
  • Thermal protection: The device provides over-temperature protection with hysteretic re-start for safe operation.
  • Increased creepage and clearance: High-voltage pins are segregated to one side of the package, which maximises separation between low and high voltage pins.

The switcher is available in a 7-pin SOIC package at $0.55 in 1,000-unit quantities. The UCC28880 low-side buck evaluation module (EVM) and high-side buck EVM are priced at $49 and include a downloadable PSpice model.


UCC28880 simplified schematic. Source: TI

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