While the power supply circuit design is very important to keep the required specification, it is also important to keep the PCB area small.
Power circuit requires many passive components to achieve the performance and the space to lower the power integrity and thermal impacts.
Having the smaller components is always helpful and Torex semiconductor is the one of the key vendor that produces the small voltage regulators.
Their new devices, XCL223/XCL224 the synchronous buck “micro DC/DC” converter with integrated coil, are the ultra small size which dimension is 2.25mm x 1.5mm, and the height is 0.75mm. Yes, integrated coil.
Here is the quick summary in their product news page.
"Torex Semiconductor Ltd. (Tokyo Japan: President, Koji Shibamiya, 6616: 2nd section at Tokyo Stock Exchange) has launched mass production of the XCL223/224 Synchronous Buck “micro DC/DC” Converter with integrated coil. Minimum operating voltage is 2.5V & maximum operating temperature is 105°C.
The XCL223/XCL224 series are ultra-small (external dimensions: 2.25mm x 1.5mm x h0.75mm) step-down micro DC/DC converters with an integrated coil and control IC. These converters achieve the world’s smallest class of miniaturization and height reduction among output types with an output current of 0.4A / 0.7A."
Having the integrated coil is the value adder since the designer does not need to consider the vendor identifications for the external inductor.
The efficiency can be 80%-90% depending on the conditions and it supports HiSAT-COT which is an original Torex term for High Speed Transient Response.
The difference between XCL223 and XCL224 is either PWM control (XCL223) or PWM/PFM control (XCL224).
The typical application circuit described in the product page is very simple, just require the input and output capacitance as below.
The input and output voltage range is
The output current and oscillation frequency is
・Output Current：700mA(Type A)、400mA(Type B)
・Oscillation Frequency ：3.0MHz
I am not sure how the cost is like compared with the conventional step-down converter with the similar specification, but it might be worth it considering the other advantages like PCB space, test, external passive components, mechanical design, etc..
I would think it can be used for the CPU reference designs with the small form factor.
It does not seem like they have the any samples or boards that can be purchased online, unfortunately.
It would be fun to design voltage regulator evaluation boards or breakout boards using this part.
In the consumer area, many semiconductor companies make MCU (Micro Controller Unit) using ARM core.
Sanken electric is a bit different and they make MCU targeting the power supply related products.
The new MCU, "MD6603", is 4th device of their MD series.
Utilizing their knowledge and the technology of digital power devices and made the power control design much easier and higher performance.
New product page can be found here.
"MD6603 is a MCU (Micro Controller Unit) which includes an "EPU" core, in addition to the "8bit CPU + 16 bit Tiny DSP (x2) " which is incorporated in the conventional MD series. EPU is a 16 bit processor with zero latency task switching. A close interaction with rich analog functions inluding Tiny DSP and high resolution PWM enables real time processing of complex events with only a small delay. It also includes rich analog components and strong system support functions , which can assist you in creating a more efficient and high performing power control application. "
The product page describes key features and specs.
The block diagram is also shown in the page, it is really different from the MCU chips for the portable consumer products.
The main processor is 8 bit 8051 for the small computation, however, the DSP can mange the signal processing side from analog signals, and it seems quite good enough for the task or scheduling oriented applications which is listed in the page.
・DC/DC power supply
・AC/DC power supply
・LED lighting control
・Chargers ...and so forth
One of the key features that is new to their MD series is EPU that can handle the each event input.
The product page shows the block diagram and the descriptions.
"*EPU (Event Proceccing Unit): A Multi Context Processor for arithmetic operations and conditional judgments with zero latency task switching triggered by internal event signals"
Although I am not sure how it actually works yet, this feature would give additional real-time task processing to the applications.
It seems like this device is still under development and datasheet is not available at this moment.
I think this type of MCU would be a good combination with Arduino or Raspberry PI.
It would be nice if we can get the part and build a shield boards for the quick experience.
RICOH Electronic Devices developed a new LDO (Low Dropout) voltage regulator, RP118, with 100 mA output current.
The advantage of this LDO is the very low quiescent current (200nA typical).
The low quiescent current of LDO is one of the key features to keep the long battery life especially for the IoT, wearable, or energy harvesting devices.
The descriptions from the website.
"RP118 is a voltage regulator featuring 0.2 µA ultra-low supply current. This device is ideal for a wearable equipment and IoT which require a long service life and a miniaturization of a battery.
A small package is available to achieve the smallest possible footprint solution on boards where area is limited."
The chip only has 4 to 5 pins depending on the package options.
3 packages, WLCSP-4-P8 (0.64 mm × 0.64 mm), DFN(PLP)1010-4 (1.0 mm × 1.0 mm), and SOT-23-5 (2.9 mm × 2.8 mm), are available.
WLCSP package is very small and great for the design with the limited PCB space.
The reference circuit is also simple enough with the recommended 1.0 uF ceramic capacitors each input and output power pins.
You can buy the samples online, but I do not think evaluation board is available.
For the quick prototype, it is better to use SOT-23-5 package so that you can easily solder it by hand.
The target application is listed in the website as well.
I think it would be nice to see this kind of low quiescent current LDOs in the application specific reference designs if the price is reasonable.
SII (Seiko Instruments Inc.) semiconductor developed a new magnetic sensing device "S-5718" which is based on hall effect technology.
Here is the quick description of the device.
"This IC, developed by CMOS technology, is a high-accuracy Hall effect IC with switchable detection pole function that operates at a low voltage and low current consumption.
The output voltage changes when this IC detects the intensity level of magnetic flux density of the polarity according to the input pin status. The inclusion of a switchable detection pole function makes it possible to reduce the number of parts and realize a variety of different systems by using this IC with a magnet. High-density mounting is possible by using the super small SNT-4A package.
Due to its low voltage operation and low current consumption, this IC is suitable for battery-operated portable devices. Its high-accuracy magnetic characteristics also allow this IC to reduce operation dispersion in magnet combination systems."
What is different from the previous their hall sensors is that this chip actually supports 3 state detection. The conventional hall effect switch ICs are capable to distinguish only 2 states. The conventional hall effect switch ICs are fixed configuration and detect only the presence or absence of an N pole or S pole.
This new chip is able to detect N poles, S poles, and both poles which means it can distinguish 3 states with a single IC, N pole in proximity, S pole in proximity, and no magnet.
In their article, it explains the possible IoT applications using this 3 state hall effect switch IC.
The one of the examples they mention in the article is to monitor the opened/closed states of patient room doors could be made to distinguish three states instead of just closed or opened states and send alerts. Before a door is opened so that a person can pass through, an alert could be sent to the smartphones of the nurses over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The chip is available through their sales but I am not sure if the evaluation board is available.
I think having 3 state with low power is good features to the IoT applications such as the monitoring system even the personal belongings like luggage/bag.
Tiny gadget might be very useful and it is probably fun to build such a DIY device.
I personally think it can be used for board game to track the progress of the players.
Memory LCD display is one of the display technology that is used in the smart watch and other embedded products. You can also use this display for your DIY projects as you can easily buy the module from some of the online stores.
EPSON's semiconductor division developed the microcontroller "S1C31D01" that has the built-in memory LCD display controller and the power supply circuits.
Their product family line-up can be seen here.
Their website describes as below.
"Epson's low-power microcontrollers, which have built-in Flash memory, are designed to be embedded in mobile devices. In October 2015 Epson began shipping samples of the S1C31W74, the company's first product in the S1C31 series of microcontrollers with an ARM® Cortex®-M0+ processor. The S1C31D01 is the second product in the series. The biggest features of the S1C31D01 are that the memory LCD controller and the power supply IC for it are integrated on this single-chip solution."
ARM and Cortex are registered trademarks of ARM Limited (or its subsidiaries) in the EU and other countries. All rights reserved.
As mentioned above, the chip supports a new memory LCD controller, a power supply IC for the memory LCD that can output two voltages of the developer's choice, and a 6-bit parallel interface. As a results, these features eliminate the need for the external components and interface software development that can save developer's time and effort while also reducing the PCB area of the necessary circuits.
Recently, they also announced that they start the support and free of charge distribution of the emWin embedded GUI tool for this microcontroller S1C31D01.
emWin is the GUI (graphical user interface) tool designed by SEGGER to provide an efficient, processor and display controller independent GUI for any application with a graphical display.
According to their website, the emWin library for the emWin library for Epson's S1C31D01 series microcontrollers supports the following features.
The evaluation board is available from here, but I do not think you can buy online at this moment...
I personally think it would be nice to have MCU only small module to provide more design flexibility during the proto phase and also would be nice to have a platform for DIY users.
THine Electronics is a well know company as "V-by-One" technology, but this "THP7312" is their first ISP (Image Signal Processor) chip targeting the applications like automotive and security camera.
The ISP product page describes,
"THine's ISP is an image processing engine for a digital camera. The pipelined image processing engine is possible to high speed processing. Auto Exposure / Auto Focus / Auto White Balance can be done by the special circuit. You can get the best picture quality in each CMOS sensor by using THine's ISP with our original noise reduction and gamma correction."
, and the chip supports MIPI® 2ch or parallel input and MIPI® 1ch or parallel output to host.
* MIPI® is a registered trademark of MIPI Alliance, Inc.
It also has I2C master/slave, SPI master/slave, PWM, and GPIO signals to control image sensors and lens drivers as you can see the block diagram here.
They actually introduced the reference design of USB camera module in their website here.
This module uses 13MP image sensor and the basic spec is listed in the the link.
・Output resolutions and frame rate
*Maximum frame rate is 120fps
・Other key features
Auto White Balance
UVC Video Processing Amplifier Properties (Brightness, Hue, etc.)
Either USB3.0 or USB2.0
Other UVC Standard Device Requests
It is quite nice reference design to start with.
I personally think it would be great if it can support stereo camera, but maybe using 2 of this design may allow you to do simple stereo camera concept design just adding the frame sync method although I am not sure if their chip is capable to do it.
If they can support thermal image sensor, it would be value adder, I think, and it would expand the application area.
Wireless communication is the one of the hot topics in the various applications including the industrial area.
We here "IoT" more and more and most of the design conferences has the section that is focused on wireless network.
Today's product is ML7404, RF LSI for LPWA (Low Power WIde Area) that is introduced LAPIS Semiconductor.
You may not be familiar with this Japanese company, but they are producing the unique and high performance LSIs targeting the various application.
LAPIS Semiconductor ML7404
Here is the introduction from their site.
"The ML7404 is the first wireless communication LSI in the industry to feature LPWA dual-mode functionality, supporting both Sigfox standard(subscription-based LPWA using unlicensed sub-GHz), which has been adopted in more than 30 countries and expanding in metropolitan areas including Japan, and the international protocol IEEE802.15.4k that is extremely robust against interference from the same system and has the capacity to cover more terminals under one network."
This chip supports dual frequency bands, 750MHz - 960MHz and 315MHz - 960MHz depending on the LPWA mode, Sigfox or IEEE802.15.4k.
It seems like the evaluation kit will be available soon as the website says
"An optional evaluation kit bundles sample programs (simple MAC) and various test scenarios, with reference module designs currently being prepared. In addition, full support is offered, including manuals and tools that can be downloaded from LAPIS Semiconductor’ website (registration required). And in the future, communication modules integrating the ML7404 along with low power protocol stacks for IEEE802.15.4k will be released from partner companies."
If you are interested in it, you can contact from here.
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