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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

APEC Day 2: Hot Rod Layouts, SiC Proponents, and New Options for LED Lighting Drivers Aimee Kalnoskas

 If you weren’t certain by Day 1 of the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) exhibition what the running themes were, you found confirmation on Day 2. High density, low power, SiC and GaN all played out through new products, technical sessions, and papers.

“Hot Rod” Layout

For their part, Texas Instruments wants to “help designers realize the potential of GaN”. Their new LMG5200 GaN high-electron mobility transistor (HEMT) is the first integrated GaN field effect transistor (FET) power-stage prototype. Chief Technologist of Power Management and TI Fellow Dave Freeman said the device’s “hot rod” layout specifically addresses packaging parasitics challenges -- one of the biggest barriers to GaN-based power design.

“Even a less-experienced power designer can take this device and be successful,” said Freeman. “For an analog designer, the simplified topology allows them to focus on their application and be less concerned about how to use a high-performance part.”

Rated at 10A and operating up to 80VDC, the device consists of a high-frequency driver and two GaN FETs in a half-bridge configuration. It is an ideal solution for applications requiring high frequency, high-efficiency operation in a small form factor.

Cree Covers SiC

Cree’s large show-footprint brought a bit more attention to silicon carbide technology. As suppliers of 90% of all SiC products on the market, they have a stake in the game. On display were products in their portfolio that demonstrated the broad range of power levels that SiC can support, as well as size and cost reductions. Their booth centerpiece – a SiC-based 220W LED power supply – illustrated cost/performance saving of moving from silicon (SI) super junction MOSFET technology to Cree’s SiC MOSFET technology. By moving their power supply’s LED drivers from a two-stage to one-stage topology, they were able to demonstrate a 40% decrease in physical size and 10 – 15% decrease in bill of materials.

“The only way you can get power systems designers to take a chance on anything,” said Paul Kiersted, Cree’s Director of Marketing for SiC Power Products, “is to show you can lower the costs.”

And GaN vs SiC? Instead of battling over the best technology, Kiersted promotes finding the sweet spot along the voltage range for each technology. “SiC is best above 600W,” said Kiersted. “Draw the line there and then just deliver reliable, qualified devices at whatever voltage and a good price. That will settle it.”

Lighting Up

Fairchild’s phase-cut dimmable single-stage FL7734 LED driver for 5 W to 30 W applications uses the company’s dimmer technology to eliminate visible flicker or shimmer symptoms. The device delivers over 90% dimmer compatibility with a wider range of dimmers.

The FL7733A is similar but for higher power (up to 60 W) applications. The wide range allows to designers to meet LED lighting standard and regulations with a single product. High-power factor and low THD are obtained by minimizing turn-on time fluctuation.

Fairchild also displayed a 1000V integrated power switch, buck switch devices for motion control and industrial auxiliary power, and a demonstration of advanced adaptive charger products.

Thus ends day 2 at APEC. Stay tuned for Day 3, posting soon!


Socializing at the APEC evening event at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

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Aimee Kalnoskas

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