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Texas Instruments Puts Its Weight Behind Power Management

The chipmaker claims its new UCC28070 circuit can help save 25% or more power in communications equipment, servers, and other industrial equipment.

With power efficiency of data center equipment of increasing concern to businesses, Texas Instruments this week introduced a single-chip power management integrated circuit designed to minimize power usage in multikilowatt communications, server, and industrial systems, providing power savings of 25% or greater.

"Businesses are looking literally anywhere they can to pick up efficiency savings," said Timothy Goodrow, marketing manager for line power products at TI. "They are looking at novel ideas for improving power efficiency, and the magnitude of power requirements for data centers and telecom systems continues to drive industry-wide efforts to reduce wasted energy and improve power quality."

The new UCC28070 two-phase interleaved power factor correction (PFC) control circuit is designed to increase reliability and achieve improved power factor ratings in power supplies used in communications equipment, servers, and other industrial equipment. The chip was designed to meet requirements of multikilowatt power systems where small gains in efficiency can lead to significant reductions in total power requirements, Goodrow said.

Since the UCC28070 operates at two phase levels, it can more precisely match power requirements to actual demand loads, he said. For example, in a 240-watt power supply running at 20% load conditions, the power factor correction can move to low phase operation and reduce power demand by 27%.

The device helps enable the design equipment that meets or exceeds energy guidelines being developed by such organizations as The Green Grid, Climate Savers Computing Initiative, and Project Big Green.

The power management IC will be available in volume in January and is expected to be used by manufacturers of power supplies, as well as telecommunications and server vendors. Power factor correction allows for "light-load" phase management, which allows a system to turn on or off phases of the power supply so that only the phases required to power the load are enabled.

The device also helps increase system reliability through the use of a 180-degree interleaving method which reduces the amount of input and output current ripple, and distributes the magnetics to improve thermal management. Current mode interleaving allows a system to achieve between 50% and 100% reduction in ripple compared with typical non-interleaved PFC devices, Goodrow said.

An optional programmable-frequency dithering model allows a designer to spread switching frequency over a range to minimize the generation of electromagnetic interference. The dithering feature reduces capacitor size, and gives users the ability to use smaller and less expensive EMI filters.

The new chip is an enhanced version of a two-phase single-chip power factor correction controller introduced by TI in June that is targeted at consumer applications such as digital TVs, PCs, and entry-level server platforms.

The single-chip PFCs allow designers to create smaller equipment, and reduce dedicated motherboard space to allow for other devices such as additional memory, Goodrow said.

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