DN516 - 1μA IQ Synchronous Boost Converter Extends Battery Life in Portable Devices

1µA IQ Synchronous Boost Converter Extends Battery Life in
Portable Devices
Design Note 516
Goran Perica
Introduction
Boost converters are regularly used in portable devices to produce higher output voltages from lower
battery input voltages. Common battery configurations include two to three alkaline or NiMH cells or,
increasingly, Li-Ion batteries, yielding a typical input
voltage between 1.8V and 4.8V.
Because the batteries used in portable devices are
usually as small as possible, they present high internal impedance under heavy loads, especially close to
the end of their discharge cycle. Unlike other boost
converters that struggle with high source impedance
at startup, the LTC3122 prevents high surge currents
at startup.
The 12V output converter shown in Figure 1 is designed
to run from any typical small battery power source. This
design centers around the LTC®3122 boost converter,
which can efficiently generate a regulated output
up to 15V from a 1.8V to 5.5V input. The LTC3122
includes a 2.5A internal switch current limit and a full
complement of features to handle demanding boost
applications, including switching frequency programming, undervoltage lockout, Burst Mode® operation or
continuous switching mode, and true output disconnect.
The integrated synchronous rectifier is turned off when
the inductor current approaches zero, preventing reverse
inductor current and minimizing power loss at light loads.
1.8V to 5.5V Input to 12V Output Boost Regulator
The circuit in Figure 1 is designed for high efficiency
and small size. The LTC3122 operates at 1MHz to
minimize the size of the filter capacitors and boost
inductor, and uses Burst Mode operation to maintain
high efficiency at light loads, as shown in Figure 2. At
heavier loads, the converter can operate in constant
frequency mode, resulting in lower input and output
ripple. Constant frequency operation can result in
lower EMI and is easier to filter.
This unique output disconnect feature is especially
important in applications that have long periods of idle
time. While idling, the part can be shut down, leaving
the output capacitor fully charged and standing by for
quick turn-on. In shutdown, the part draws less than
1µA from the input source.
CIN
10µF
70
CAP
SW
0.1µF
VOUT
PWM/SYNC
RT
RT
57.6k
COUT
0.1µF
CAP
VIN
SD
VIN
PGND
VC
VOUT
12V
R1
1.02M
FB
VCC
RC
R2
86.6k 113k
CC
330p
dn4gp F01
Figure 1. The 1MHz Operating Frequency and Small
Inductor Make This Converter Suitable for Demanding
Portable Battery-Powered Applications.
07/13/516
90
80
U1
LTC3122
PGND
CVCC
4.7µ
Efficiency can be improved further by increasing the
inductor size. Figure 4 shows the increase in efficiency
EFFICIENCY (%)
VIN
1.8V to
5.5V
4.7µH
XAL4030-472
Efficiency can be increased by running the LTC3122 at
a relatively low switching frequency. Figure 3 shows
the results of reducing the switching frequency from
1MHz to 500kHz.
60
50
40
30
20
VIN=2V, BURST MODE
VIN=3.3V, BURST MODE
VIN=2V, PWM MODE
VIN=3.3V, PWM MODE
10
0
0.1
1
10
IOUT (mA)
100
1000
FSW = 1MHz
dn4gpf F02
Figure 2. The High Efficiency of the LTC3122 Boost
Converter Extends Battery Life in Portable Applications.
L, LT, LTC, LTM, Burst Mode, Linear Technology and the Linear logo are
registered trademarks of Linear Technology Corporation. All other trademarks
are the property of their respective owners.
90
80
70
EFFICIENCY (%)
60
50
40
30
1MHz, BURST MODE
500kHz, BURST MODE
1MHz, PWM MODE
500kHz, PWM MODE
20
10
0
0.1
1
10
IOUT (mA)
100
1000
dn4gpf F03
Figure 3. The Efficiency is Greatly Affected by the Operating
Frequency. At 100mA Load an Additional 4% Can Be Gained
by Reducing the Switching Frequency from 1MHz to 500kHz.
Battery size should be taken into account when considering inductor size. Using a relatively small inductor
running at a high frequency may necessitate a correspondingly higher capacity battery to achieve the
same run time at relatively lower efficiency. In other
words, space gains achieved with a smaller inductor
may be replaced by the need for a bigger battery.
Output Disconnect
Typical boost converters cannot disconnect the output
from the input because of the boost diode. Current
always flows from the input through the inductor and
boost diode to the output. Therefore the output can not
be shorted or disconnected from the input, a significant
problem in many applications, especially in shutdown.
In contrast, the LTC3122 includes an internal switch
that disconnects the boost MOSFET body diode from
the output. This also allows for inrush current limiting
at turn-on, minimizing the surge currents seen by the
input power source.
source can lift the output rail to regulation. The input
current slowly ramps up. The input current overshoot
required to charge the output capacitor is limited to
only 200mA and the input power source voltage droop
is limited to 0.5V, as shown in Figure 5.
Conclusion
The LTC3122 boost converter serves the needs of
battery-operated applications that require low standby
quiescent current and high efficiency. Unlike many
other boost converters, it includes features, enableing operation from batteries near full discharge when
battery ESR becomes high. Its very low quiescent and
shutdown currents, combined with output disconnect,
extend battery run time in applications with long idle
periods. The LTC3122 includes a complete set of
features for high performance battery operated applications and comes in a small, thermally enhanced
3mm × 4mm package.
90
80
70
EFFICIENCY (%)
achieved by replacing the 4mm × 4mm boost inductor
(XAL4030-472) with a 7mm × 7mm inductor (744-777910 from Würth). The 90% efficiency at 10mA is 5%
higher than the efficiency shown in Figure 3.
60
50
40
30
VIN = 2V, BURST MODE
VIN = 3.3V, BURST MODE
VIN = 2V, PWM MODE
VIN = 3.3V, PWM MODE
20
10
0
0.1
1
10
IOUT (mA)
100
1000
FSW = 300kHz
dn4gpf F04
Figure 4. With a Lower Switching Frequency and a Larger
Inductor, a Smaller Battery Can Be Used. Efficiency Gain
Up to 30% in the 1mA to 10mA Load Range (in PWM Mode)
Can Significantly Improve Applications That Operate with
Light Loads.
Figure 5 shows the output of the LTC3122 disconnected
in shutdown. The output voltage is pulled to zero by the
load following shutdown, and the LTC3122 consumes
less than 1µA of current.
Start-Up Inrush Current Limiting
To simulate a real battery-operated application, the
circuit in Figure 1 was tested with 1Ω of equivalent
series resistance (ESR) placed between the power
source and the LTC3122 circuit. Once the LTC3122 is
enabled, it controls the startup so that the input power
Data Sheet Download
www.linear.com/LT3122
Linear Technology Corporation
dn4gpf F05
Figure 5. Inrush Current Limiting at Turn-On Minimizes
Surge Currents Seen by the Input Source. The Output Is
Disconnected from Input During Shutdown.
For applications help,
call (408) 432-1900, Ext. 3788
dn516f LT/AP 0713 111K • PRINTED IN THE USA
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●
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 LINEAR TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION 2013
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