Demo board makes GaN as easy to use as silicon

10th February 2021
Alex Lynn

EPC has announced the availability of the EPC9157, a 300 W DC-DC demo board in the tiny 1/16th brick size, measuring just 33x22.9x9mm. The EPC9157 demo board integrates the Renesas ISL81806 80 V dual synchronous buck controller with the latest-generation EPC2218 eGaN FETs from EPC to achieve greater than 95% efficiency for 48V input to 12V regulated output conversion at 25A. 

Brick DC/DC converters are widely used in data centre, computing, telecommunication and automotive applications, converting a nominal 48 to a nominal 12V distribution bus, among other output voltages. The main trend has been towards higher power density. eGaN FETs provide the fast switching, high efficiency and small size that can meet the stringent power density requirements of these leading-edge applications. EPC2218 is the smallest high efficiency 100V eGAN FET on the market.

Renesas’ ISL81806 is the industry’s first 80V dual-output or two-phase synchronous buck controller with integrated GaN drivers, supporting switching frequencies up to 2MHz. It uses peak current mode control and generates two independent outputs, or one output with two interleaved phases. It supports current sharing, synchronisation for paralleling more controllers and/or more phases, enhanced light load efficiency, and low shutdown current.

Protection features include input UVLO, over current, over voltage and over temperature. The ISL81806 can directly drive EPC GaN FETs, ensuring easy design, low component count and low solution cost. The highly integrated ISL81806 reduces BOM cost for GaN solutions because it does not require any microcontroller, current sense amplifiers, or housekeeping power.

Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC commented: “Renesas’ synchronous buck controller IC makes using GaN even easier. We are delighted to work with Renesas to combine the benefits of its advanced controllers with the performance of GaN to provide customers with a low component-count solution that increases efficiency and power density and reduces system cost for 48 V power conversion.”

“The ISL81806 takes full advantage of the high performance of GaN FETs for high-power-density solutions while reducing BOM costs. It makes designing with GaN FETs as simple as using silicon-based FETs,” added Philip Chesley, Vice President, Industrial and Communications Business Division at Renesas. “We are excited to work alongside EPC to provide our customers with the latest in power conversion technology.”

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