Switching regulators increase mobile device battery life

20th March 2014
Nat Bowers

Enabling improved efficiency for high current designs in a small form factor, Intersil has announced what the company claims is the industry’s first high-current buck-boost and boost switching regulator family in a tiny, integrated CSP package. The ISL91110, ISL91108 and ISL91117 regulators offer up to 96% efficiency to extend battery life and reduce overheating in high-current handheld devices.

Intersil’s ISL91110 and ISL91108 buck-boost switching regulators are used in mobile devices to supply the system power management IC, the WiFi or RF power amplifier, as well as other system peripherals such as the camera and memory interfaces. The ISL911xx family is based on proprietary, fully synchronous four-switch architecture. This advanced architecture enables the seamless transition from buck to boost, delivery of up to 2.5A output current at the lowest single-cell Li battery voltages to significantly improve power efficiency, increase battery life and prevent overheating of mobile devices. The ISL91117 boost converter is ideal for USB on-the-go implementations in handheld devices that require high current and high efficiency. The proprietary architecture allows for smooth transitions from buck to boost to prevent glitches and noise in smartphones, tablets and other single-cell lithium ion battery-based systems.

Mobile OEMs are under significant pressure to differentiate their device offerings, which are becoming more power hungry as consumers continue to demand increased processing capability and seamless connectivity in shrinking form factors. Issues such as shortened battery life, glitches and overheating often result from these increased system demands and negatively impact consumers’ user experiences. Intersil helps OEMs to address these issues head on with the ISL911xx switching regulators by improving the system performance and power efficiency of their devices.

Intersil delivers industry-leading, ultra-fast transient response with new ISL911xx series, which allows devices to handle large current bursts from spikes in power consumption without significant output disturbance. This permits reliable system operation under all load conditions without any glitches or noise, resulting in seamless functionality and an improved user experience for consumers. Intersil’s buck-boost regulators also allow system designers to leverage a wider range of battery voltage in their system designs due to the regulators’ ability to cover the full range of the most advanced Li battery chemistry.

The ISL911xx family was designed with space constrained applications in mind and is capable of working with the smallest inductors and capacitors, making them suited for mobile devices. A 2.6MHz switching frequency further reduces the power supply solution size. The ISL911xx series is packaged in an advanced wafer-level CSP package, reducing the footprint of the device to as small as 2.34x1.72mm. Furthermore, the switching regulators require only a single inductor and very few external components, minimising overall space requirements.

The ISL91110 is the highest-current switching regulator of the series and was designed for smartphone and tablet PC OEMs as a supply for the system PMIC, the WiFi or RF power amplifiers, or other peripheral devices such as memory cards. The ISL91110 can provide 2A of current at input voltages as low as 2.5V. The device improves overall system efficiency, which translates into longer battery run-times and the prevention of brown-outs during large burst currents from high-power application processors. The ISL91110 is suited for the most demanding high-current applications.

The ISL91108 is also designed for smartphone and tablet PC OEMs as a supply for the system PMIC, WiFi or RF power amplifiers, or other peripheral devices such as memory cards. The device improves overall system efficiency, which translates into increased battery life and the elimination of brown-outs during large burst currents from quad-core processors. The ISL91108 is highly efficient at light loads, making it suitable for “always-on” applications.

The ISL91117 is a highly-integrated boost switching regulator for battery powered applications. The device is used by smartphone and tablet PC OEMs to boost voltage in applications in which small solution size, flexibility and efficiency are critical. The ISL91117 is available in both fixed 5V as well as adjustable output voltage options.

“Intersil has pioneered many of the most important advances in power management for computing. We’re applying these proven and proprietary technologies to the mobile market, where systems are becoming increasingly complex and power hungry,” said Andrew Cowell, senior vice president of Mobile Power Products at Intersil. “Our latest family of buck-boost switching regulators is one of several key building blocks that we are leveraging to develop more highly integrated, high performance power management ICs to fundamentally improve the efficiency of mobile devices.”

The ISL91110, ISL91108 and ISL91117 switching regulators are available now, priced respectively at $0.83 (USD), $0.74 (USD) and $0.74 (USD) each in 1,000 unit quantities. The ISL91110IIA-EVZ, ISL91108IIA-EVZ and ISL91117IIA-EVZ evaluation boards are available now priced at $334.00 (USD) each.

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