STMicroelectronics Inc. (Lexington, MA) has introduced the first members of a new generation of fully auto-protected low-voltage power MOSFETs. The new OMNIFET II family uses the latest VIPower M0-3 technology to achieve lower conduction losses through reduced on-resistance, small structural volume and a high level of ruggedness and avalanche energy handling capability.The new family includes a full range of rugged power MOSFETs with integrated user-transparent clamping and protection circuits, including linear current limit, over-voltage clamp circuit, short-circuit protection ESD protection of the gate, and fast-acting thermal protection with an on-chip sensor in the hot spot of the power structure. The benefits of the OMNIFET II range include a direct connection to the MOSFET gate, allowing devices to be driven by analog signals as well as by log-level signals, low gate threshold voltage and a diagnostic mechanism that provides load status feedback through the input (gate) pin allowing easy integration with logic and microprocessor controlled systems and real-time control of the load. The protection circuitry does not need an external power supply; when the device is switched on a small current (200uA maximum) is drawn from the gate and when the device is off, energy is drawn from the drain voltage across the load. According to ST, this allows the devices to be housed in the same packages as standard Power MOSFETs, enabling direct pin-to-pin compatibility in existing designs, along with increased circuit reliability, easy assembly and reduced cost compared to implementing the protection functions externally.A typical member of the OMNIFET II family is the VNN3NV04, an n-channel device with 120 milliohms on-resistance, 3A internal current limit and 40V clamping voltage, housed in an SOT-223 package. Other packages available include SO-8, DPAK, IPAK, Power SO-10 and TO-220.The new MOSFETs will be available in the third quarter of this year. Prices in quantities of 10,000 for the VNNINV04 is $0.22, for the VND14NVO4 is $0.67 and for the VNP35NVO4 is $1.97.