New GDB kit from Skyworks enables higher efficiency

21st November 2022
Beth Floyd

Skyworks Solutions is introducing an isolated gate driver reference design that operates with Wolfspeed’s silicon carbide (SiC) field effect transistor (FET) power modules.

With the growing adoption of SiC for power conversion and inverter applications — fueled by consumer demand for greater range, faster charging and more efficient propulsion for electric vehicles (EVs) — there is an increasing need for gate drivers that are optimised for SiC FETs. The new Si828x gate driver board (GDB) kit from Skyworks simplifies design and enables increased integration for automotive applications by replacing competing designs with more complex gate driver board layouts.

Designed and tested for Wolfspeed XM3 SiC FET modules and instantiated on an evaluation board, the Skyworks Si828x GDB kit keeps high voltage/high current SiC modules from overload and circuit damage.

The Si828x GDB with Wolfspeed XM3 solution meets the needs of the market by:

  • Simplifying automotive traction inverter design for high-growth EV markets by providing a complete, high power-capable reference design
  • Allowing design engineers to implement the power switching stage of their systems and providing extensive pre-testing with supporting documentation of Skyworks isolated gate drivers and Wolfspeed’s SiC FETs
  • Enabling a system that can survive and operate well under extreme short-circuit conditions, by combining the Si828x's robust short-circuit protection feature with the rugged SiC XM3 module

Together, the Skyworks GDB and Wolfspeed XM3 solution is well-suited for fast charging and power conversion applications, EV drivetrains, as well as drive motors and uninterruptable power supplies for industrial environments.

“We are excited about this continued partnership,” said Mark Thompson, Senior Vice President of Mixed Signal Solutions at Skyworks. “Our Si828x gate drivers were originally tested with Wolfspeed SiC MOSFETs. Now, in adding the GDB board, we have a complete tried-and-true solution for the market.”

“We have teamed up with Skyworks to validate their gate driver board that pairs with our XM3 SiC FET power modules. The Si828x gate driver board is very robust for protecting the power module during a short circuit event, detecting the load fault and shutting off the XM3 in less than one microsecond,” said Austin Curbow, Manager of the Applications & Systems Team for Power Modules at Wolfspeed. “Further, its robust 15 Amp source and sink capability maximises switching speed, minimising switching losses and increasing efficiency.” 

Customers can purchase the Si828x-AAWB-KIT gate driver board kit in small numbers via Skyworks distribution partners, Arrow, Digikey and Mouser.

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