Communications Power

Digital Controller targets Densely-Populated High-Current Applications

Intersil Corporation today announced the ZL8801 dual-phase, dc-dc digital pwm controller. The ZL8801 expands Intersil’s fourth-generation controller family by enabling a simple dual-phase solution for higher-current applications ranging from 40A to 100A. With the ability to current share across multiple devices, its range can be extended up to 300A for high-end FPGAs and ASICs employed in densely-populated power supplies in servers, storage equipment and base stations. Used in conjunction with Intersil’s easy-to-use PowerNavigator™ graphical user interface (GUI), the ZL8801 simplifies system power conversion and speeds the design process.

The ZL8801 utilizes Intersil's latest advances in digital power technology, leveraging the patented ChargeMode control loop architecture to deliver transient response performance that's far superior to today's analog controllers. Inherently stable, the ZL8801's fully-digital control loop corrects errors cycle-by-cycle, eliminating the need for compensation. Its high control loop bandwidth reduces the amount of output capacitance needed to meet the latest transient requirements of high-end FPGAs and ASICs, resulting in a smaller board size and lower bill of materials cost. The ZL8801 can be paired with the ISL99140 40A DrMOS (Integrated Driver and MOSFET) output stage to create a complete voltage regulator solution.

The ZL8801 supports Intersil's proprietary DDC (digital dc) bus for inter-controller communication. This bus allows for system-based sequencing, fault management and current sharing in conjunction with other Intersil digital power ICs, all on a single wire. Configuration is easily managed with the graphical PowerNavigator tool to provide drag and drop sequencing control, which is autonomously managed in system by the ZL8801. Even current sharing is enabled by the DDC bus, allowing up to four ZL8801's to be paralleled providing for high current power system designs.

Modern systems have increased complexity and reliability demands requiring designers to control and monitor every power rail to maximize efficiency and reduce downtime. This has historically been achieved through the use of numerous discrete monitors, sequencers and system controllers to provide added functionality around the POL converters. The ZL8801 integrates all of these functions, so a designer can monitor and control every aspect of the power supply through a PMBus interface. Full telemetric data can be read using the PowerNavigator GUI, including input voltage, input current, output voltage, output current, temperature and all fault conditions.

“A fully-digital control loop improves system performance and provides the intelligence customers need to monitor power supply health and optimize their systems dynamically, such as changing output voltage on the fly," said Mark Downing, senior vice president of infrastructure and industrial power products at Intersil. "Intersil is on the forefront of digital power design, making it easy to use through advanced control technology and intuitive GUIs."

Key features and specifications include: Dual-phase output for high-current applications; Unique compensation-free modulation technique allows designs to meet transient specifications with minimum output capacitance, saving cost and board space; 1% output voltage accuracy over line, load and temperature; Single input supply operation simplifies design, eliminates the need for multiple supply rails to the controller; Integrated 5V, 80mA LDO for external driver supply voltage eliminates the need for additional supply rail for gate drive, saving board space; 200kHz to 1.33MHz switching frequency range allows for a variety of power stage and output filter options; SnapShot fault logging capability captures telemetry and fault information in non-volatile memory in the case of a fault, enabling diagnostic and system debug; Adjustable cycle-by-cycle inductor peak current protection enables quick reaction to overcurrent faults, prevents saturation and damage to the load; and Supports a wide range of output voltages (0.54V to 5.5V) operating from input voltages from 4.5V up to 14V.

The ZL8801 is available in a 7mm x 7mm, 44-pin QFN package and is priced at $4.95 USD in 1k quantities. Two demo boards are also available: the ZL8801-2PH-DEMO1Z 80A dual phase demo board is priced at $120 USD, and the ZL8801-4PH-DEMO1Z 160A 4-phase demo board is priced at $160 USD.

Intersil Corporation
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