Automotive-grade, integrated power regulators from Altera/Enpirion

October 17, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
AEC-Q100-qualified PowerSoCs, asserts Altera, feature the smallest footprint, superior efficiency, excellent thermals, and high reliability.

The nine Enpirion power system-on-chip (PowerSoC) devices fully comply with the Automotive Electronics Council (AEC-Q100) qualification standard temperature grade 2, a critical stress test qualification for automotive integrated circuits (ICs). The devices include step-down PowerSoCs from the EP53xx and efficiency-optimised EN63xx families, supporting load currents up to 12A. Unlike discrete power products, these turnkey solutions give designers complete power systems that are fully simulated, characterised and production-qualified, streamlining the design-in process and making it much faster. These pre-tested power solutions are suitable for use with Altera's automotive-grade Cyclone FPGAs and SoCs and MAX FPGAs and CPLDs.

“Our automotive-grade Enpirion PowerSoCs are specified, simulated, characterised, validated and manufacturing-tested as a complete power system. Fewer components and a tightly controlled IC manufacturing processes permit 45,000-year mean time between failures (MTBF) reliability,” said Dan McNamara, vice president of Altera’s Automotive Business Unit.

ADAS designers, Altera says, are increasingly turning to FPGAs to run their algorithms at higher frame rates, process multiple algorithms simultaneously and adapt to the latest trends. This makes thermal performance, energy efficiency, integration and small footprint critical attributes. By integrating the inductors, high-frequency filter capacitors, controller, and MOSFETs, Altera’s Enpirion PowerSoCs typically have a 25 to 50% smaller footprint compared to alternative discrete switching regulators and modules. Altera is the only programmable logic supplier to offer both FPGAs and PowerSoCs to the automotive market, the company adds.

Enpirion PowerSoCs claim up to 96% peak efficiency and are candidates for the following applications:

  1. Infotainment and driver information—Head units, display interfaces, instrument clusters, head-up displays (HUDs), human-machine interface (HMI) technology, and rear-seat entertainment (RSE) systems;
  2. ADAS—Forward-looking cameras, surround view systems, radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR), rear-view cameras, e-mirrors (electronic mirrors) and telematics (V2X) applications;
  3. Electric vehicle and powertrain—Engine control unit (ECU), battery management systems, motor control, power conversion (DC/DC, AC/DC) and adaptive suspension.