Off-line converter IC cuts parasitic losses in lighting and appliances

October 29, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
STMicroelectronics has unveiled an IC that meets the international specification for zero standby power.

The VIPer0P claims to be the first in the world to provide a smart way of managing the wake-up function in lighting, in white goods and industrial equipment.

The long-running battle to minimise power sucked in by equipment in standby mode ("vampire" power) has driven worldwide adoption of proposals such as the IEA1 initiatives to reduce standby power used by appliances to less than 1W in 2010 and 0.5W in 2013. Today, the most advanced power-supply technologies are capable of driving down standby power consumption below 5 mW, which is rounded to zero according to the IEC standard for household and office appliances.

Although regulations are driving down standby power per appliance, the number of appliances in use globally is increasing. ST’s VIPer0P IC helps reduce wasted power and CO2 emissions by enabling effective zero-power standby in appliances such as clothes dryers, washing machines, dishwashers, coffee makers, and microwaves. The chip can also be used in lighting controls, industrial appliances, and air conditioners. By introducing a smart-management capability not offered by any other converter in the market, VIPer0P allows the appliance to be woken from standby via a touchscreen or remote control thereby enhancing convenience for users.

VIPer0P is able to provide standby power for the system host microcontroller while in idle mode. This allows the system to be woken via the main-appliance user interface, such as the touchscreen or a remote controller. There is no need for a dedicated high-voltage mechanical switch to take the appliance out of standby. VIPer0P consumes less than 5 mW in idle mode (at 230 Vac supply). This performance is rounded to zero power according to Clause 4.5 of the IEC 62301 standard for household and office appliances.

If a switch is used to control standby, idle power can be further reduced to 4 mW. Switching can be done at Safety Extra-Low Voltage (SELV), hence eliminating bulky high-voltage components.