PMIC solutions by Microchip

Chips designed for PIC microprocessor-based systems.

  • Not only PIC microcontrollers
  • PMICs for microprocessor-based systems
    • MCP16501 ICs
    • MCP16502 ICs
    • Evaluation kits

Microprocessor-based systems are an increasingly popular element of electronic devices that are present all around us. They are used, among others, in household appliances and consumer electronics, automotive applications and industrial automation controllers. As the requirements for safety, precision and performance of such systems are becoming more stringent, microcontroller- and microprocessor-based systems are getting extended with new peripheral elements: non-volatile memory, random access memory, sensors and transducers that interact with the environment, but also monitor the condition of the device itself. There is also an increasing demand for HMI (Human Machine Interface), which is now most commonly executed by implementing a Graphical User Interface (GUI). This in turn implies the need for graphical displays, touch panels, etc. All these factors contribute significantly to the load on the power supply chips found in microprocessor-based systems.

These components often have different requirements concerning supply voltage values; their current consumption also varies, depending on the operations performed. What’s more, each component introduces its own peculiar distortions — even if they are minimal, when aggregated they can significantly (and negatively) affect the operation of the entire application. Therefore, there is a need for high-performance and reliable chips that provide stable power to the components of the device. Such chips are called PMICs, i.e. Power Management ICs. Their task is to provide a constant, pre-programmed voltage to all components present in the system, as well as to monitor and adjust the power supply depending on the device’s variable operating conditions (temperature, current consumption).

TME’s catalogue includes a number of components that meet the requirements described above. However, in the case of systems based on solutions by Microchip, it would be best to look at PMIC solutions offered by this manufacturer. In this article, we will discuss two Microchip product families that will certainly satisfy designers’ requirements. Not only do they provide efficient and stable power supply, but at the same time they contribute to the miniaturisation of designed electronic circuits.

Not only PIC microcontrollers

Microchip Technology is primarily known as a manufacturer of high-quality microcontrollers and microprocessors. However, this supplier also offers a wide range of analog and interface circuits. Microchip solutions are characterised by a high degree of integration. The manufacturer’s analog and interface chip portfolio includes: linear, interface, temperature monitoring and control, power, power supply and battery charging, as well as digital-to-analog circuits (converters) and safety and information protection components. Many of these solutions are available directly from the TME catalogue. This includes PMICs, which are discussed below.

PMICs for microprocessor-based systems

The two most important PMIC product families by Microchip are MCP16501 and MCP16502. The latter is a more advanced solution, designed for complex ICs. In both cases, the manufacturer stresses that one of its primary goals was to reduce the number of necessary external components and far-reaching miniaturisation in relation to classic power stabilisation ICs. Microchip estimates that the use of its products allows it to save up to 60% of PCB space reserved for the construction of standard power management ICs. What is most important — it does so without a significant change in the cost of implementation. These products are designed for industrial robotics, IT and consumer industries, as well as automotive and communications. It is worth noting here that MCP16501 and MCP16502 ICs are designed primarily to work with microprocessors from the SAM9X6, SAMA5D3, SAMA5D4 and SAMA5D2 families.

MCP16501 ICs

The input voltage of the MCP16501 ICs ranges from 2.7 V to 5.5 V DC, which makes it suitable for powering lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries, which is particularly important for IoT devices and other mobile equipment. The chips feature 3 DC-DC channels with a maximum output current of 1 A. In addition, the user is provided with an LDO (low-dropout) stabiliser that is triggered by feeding a signal to a dedicated pin.

The voltage generated by the MCP16501 is characterised by precision (tolerance of 1%) and stability required for operation with DDR memories (1.2 V, 1.35 V, 1.8 V, depending on the type of memory) and microprocessor cores (1.0 V, 1.15 V, 1.25 V), and is also compatible with low-voltage logic circuits, i.e. those supplied with voltages from 1.0 V to 3.6 V. As the manufacturer ensured full compatibility with its products, the series supports microprocessor operation in reduced current consumption modes (including sleep mode). The PMIC itself consumes about 6 µA in standby mode and 250 µA in idle mode. The chip has an operating temperature range of -40°C to +125°C. It features built-in thermal and overload protection. The chip comes in a 24 x 4x 4 mm VQFN package.

Power management IC by Microchip, 4 x 4 mm VQFN24 package.

MCP16502 ICs

The MCP16501 series components will fully meet the needs of smaller microprocessor systems. However, more demanding applications may require the use of MCP16502 family chips. These are larger (32-pin, 5 x 5mm VQFN package) components; however, they offer additional functionalities. These chips are designed with technologies such as DVS (dynamic voltage scaling) in mind — which is one of the power-saving methods for mobile devices. The MCP16502 series features 4 channels of DC-DC stabilisers and two outputs of external LDO stabilisers. The chip communicates with the master unit via the I²C interface.

With pushbutton support and sequential switching functions (switching consecutive peripherals on/off in a predetermined order), it can serve as a fully integrated power management system for the target device, saving both PCB space and the design and manufacturing time. Microchip offers an AEC-certified version of the MCP16502 IC designed for automotive applications.

Evaluation kits

Customers interested in implementing the MCP16501 and MCP16502 ICs in their projects can use evaluation kits provided by Microchip. These are ADM01123 and DT100105, respectively. With these products, you can conduct comprehensive tests of PMIC's operation — power stability under load in the target circuit, settings for all channels, etc. In the case of DT100105, you also have access to the I²C interface bus via which the MCP16502 can be configured and controlled.

Moreover, it is worth noting that the MCP16502 IC is included in launch kits designed for the SAMA5D2 processor (EV26C77A) and the ATSAMA5D27-SOM1 (ATSAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1) and ATSAMA5D27-WLSOM1 (DM320117) modules.

Text prepared by Transfer Multisort Elektronik Sp. z o.o.

Originally published here.

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