EPC Introduces High Power Density GaN-based Solution for USB PD 3.1 Charging Needs

EPC has announced the availability of the EPC9177, a reference design board for high-power density, low-profile DC-DC converters that use eGaN IC-based technology. This board is optimized to meet the new, stringent demands for multiport chargers and on-motherboard DC-DC converting 28 V – 48 V input to 12 V or 20 V output, as specified in the USB PD 3.1 standard.

The EPC9177 is a digitally-controlled, single-output synchronous buck converter reference design board that operates at a 720 kHz switching frequency. It converts an input voltage of 48 V, 36 V, or 28 V to a regulated 12 V output voltage, delivering up to 20 A continuous output current. The synchronous buck converter has a small area of 21 mm x 13 mm and a low-profile inductor height of 3 mm. It features the EPC23102 fully integrated half-bridge ePower Stage. It is ideal for computing power supplies, USB PD 3.1 multiport chargers, and onboard DC-DC solutions that can convert a 28 V – 48 V input to a 12 V or 20 V output.

With USB PD 3.1, the output voltage for USB charging has increased from 20 V to 48 V. In contrast, the power has increased from 100 W to 240 W. This higher power enables USB charging for a range of applications beyond just laptops and cell phones fast charging, such as gaming PCs, power tools, and ebikes. To support a broader range of devices, multiport chargers must support lower output voltages such as 5 V, 12 V, and 20 V, requiring a smart DC-DC regulator to generate these lower voltages. Additionally, a DC-DC regulator resident on the motherboard of the gaming PC or power tools is necessary to convert the 48 V input to 20 V and 12 V output.

The EPC23102 GaN power stage integrates the half-bridge driver and FETs (100 V, 6.6 mΩ R(DSon)), the level shifter, and the bootstrap charging, which can switch with very high efficiency of up to 3 MHz. It enables the EPC9177 reference board to deliver up to 20 A continuous current using a heatsink and 15 A continuous current without a heatsink to 12 V output voltage, greater than 97.3% efficiency with a 48 V input. The high power density makes this reference design ideal for computing, industrial, consumer, and telecom power systems that require small size and high efficiency. eGaN FETs and ICs provide fast switching, high efficiency, and small size that can meet the stringent power density requirements of these leading-edge applications.

Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC, commented, “GaN ICs provide the highest power density for DC-DC converters. EPC GaN power stages give power system designers the highest power density and low component count solutions for USB PD 3.1. The EPC9177 reference solution, based on the EPC23102, increases efficiency and power density, and reduces overall system cost for USB PD 3.1 implementation.”

The EPC9177 reference design board is priced at $480.00 each and is available for immediate delivery from Digi-Key at https://www.digikey.com/en/supplier-centers/epc.

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