A DC-to-DC converter is an electronic circuit, which converts a source of direct current (DC) from one voltage level to another. DC to DC converters are important in portable electronic devices such as cellular phones and every such electronic device, which is supplied with power, primarily from batteries. Such electronic devices often contain several sub-circuits, each with its own voltage level requirement different from that supplied by the battery or an external supply. Additionally, the battery voltage declines as its stored power is drained. Switched DC to DC converters offer a method to increase voltage from a partially lowered battery voltage, thereby saving space instead of using multiple batteries to accomplish the same thing.
Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) today introduced the industry’s lowest power DC/DC step-down converter, which increases the amount of harvested energy an end application can use as much as 70 percent over alternative devices. The ultra-low power circuit enables battery-free power to applications, such as wireless sensor networks, monitoring systems, smoke detectors, wearable medical devices and mobile accessories.
What is it?
The TPS62736 is a highly integrated Nano-Power buck converter solution that is well suited for meeting the special needs of ultra low power applications such as energy harvesting. It provides the system with an externally programmable regulated supply in order to preserve the overall efficiency of the power management stage versus a linear step down converter. This regulator is intended to step down the voltage from an energy storage element such as a battery or super cap while supplying the rail to low voltage electronics. It integrates an optimized hysteretic controller for low power applications. The input good indication and output regulator level are programmed independently via external resistors. The external resistors are periodically biased to sample and hold the reference in order to reduce the quiescent current consumption of the resistor strings.
As mentioned before, the device is a Nano-power Buck Converter with the efficiency optimised for a peak output current of 100 mA. The operating range on the input side for the converter is 2V to 5.5V. The current during active operation is around 350nA while during full standby, it goes down as low as 50nA. All this while operating at an efficient 2 per cent voltage regulation.
The converter has two Power off states viz. the Full Standby and the Standby + PGOOD Indication along with a Pass Mode State.
The device finds varied uses in fields ranging from energy harvesting, solar chargers , thermal electric generator harvesting to wireless sensor networks, low power wireless monitoring to environmental monitoring, bridge and structural health monitoring. Other fields like the control systems used to operate on smart buildings along with portable and wearable health devices and entertainment system remote controls can use this device to their benefit.