Cost, design time and unexpected problems: these are three of the most significant issues in the minds of project managers who are involved with the design of power modules. And innovative Power-Thru™ technology from Heyday Integrated Circuits can help to minimise all of them.
Whether they’re for use in electric vehicle charging stations, variable speed drives, IT equipment power supplies or any one of hundreds of other applications, modern power modules almost always have one thing in common: at their heart are gate drivers controlling the semiconductor power switches. There’s no shortage of gate drivers for designers to choose from but, with conventional types, choosing the driver is by no means the end of the story.
Designers also need to provide a source of power to drive the gates of the switches, and that’s not necessarily simple. Often the supplies need to be isolated from control ground, and, in many power module configurations, multiple supplies are needed. Designing these power supplies occupies a lot of valuable engineering time, the components they use add to the cost and size of the power modules and the complexity they bring increases the risk of problems during design validation, and later in the field.
A simpler system
Wouldn’t things be much easier if the gate driver itself supplied the power needed to control the switches? With Heyday gate drivers, that’s exactly what happens. The patented Power-Thru™ technology means that the power for driving the gate of the switch is transferred along with the gate on/off logic signal by a single novel magnetic coupling device within the integrated circuit. No external auxiliary power supply is needed, and the coupling provides complete electrical isolation, so the drivers are equally suitable for use in high-side and low-side applications, or isolated applications.
Free up design time
The benefits are significant. No longer is it necessary to devote design time to auxiliary power supplies, which frees up engineers to concentrate on their core design challenges. Component count is also dramatically reduced – in one recent application, 9 separate bias rails are merged into 1 rail, by using Heyday drivers. Fewer components mean lower BOM costs, smaller power modules and reduced build complexity. In addition, reliability is increased and, because the overall design is simpler, problems during testing and validation are much less likely to be encountered.
Because of their unique design and construction, Heyday gate drivers also score on ease of use. Conventional gate drivers typically use a bootstrap circuit to create the floating voltage required for controlling the high-side switches. Choosing the optimum combination of components to use in this circuit is, however, often difficult. With Heyday gate drivers, this problem is eliminated – only a single capacitor needs to be specified – which further reduces design time and the risk of performance problems.
Heyday gate drivers can save you money, simplify the design and construction of your power modules and help you to engineer products with improved reliability and performance. Why not investigate further by watching our free gate driver webinar. For more details, simply click on the button below.