Demonstration board shrinks bi-directional converter for mild hybrid vehicles

The EPC9163 two-phase, 48V/12V DC/DC demonstration board is intended for more efficient, smaller, faster, bi-directional converters for mild hybrid cars, says Efficient Power Conversion (EPC).

The bi-directional converter delivers 2kW with 96.5 per cent efficiency in a small footprint. The design of this demonstration board is scalable; two converters can be paralleled to achieve 4kW or three converters can be paralleled to achieve 6kW. 

The board features eight EPC2218 100V eGaN FETs and is controlled by a module that includes the Microchip dsPIC33CK256MP503 16-bit digital controller.

The fast-switching speed and low losses of the eGaN FETs allow the converter to operate at 500kHz, which significantly reduces the size, says EPC. The high switching frequency capability allows the use of the small IHTH-1125KZ-5A Vishay inductor in the design.

According to EPC, the DC/DC converter is three times faster, more than 35 per cent smaller and lighter and offers greater than 1.5 per cent higher efficiency and lower overall system costs compared to silicon MOSFETs. The efficiency and thermal performance of GaN FETs enables air cooling instead of water cooling, points out EPC, and the small size of the GaN FETs reduces the size of the heat-dissipating aluminium housing, with contributes to additional system cost savings, adds the company.

“eGaN FETs provide the fast switching, small size, and high efficiency needed to further reduce the size and weight of 48 to 12V automotive power system converters,” said Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC. He added that the EPC9163 illustrates the capabilities of GaN FETs “to increase frequency and efficiency to allow smaller inductance for less phases and higher power density.”

The EPC9163 demonstration board is available for immediate delivery from distributor, Digi-Key.

EPC specialises in enhancement mode GaN (eGaN) based power management. eGaN FETs and ICs provide performance many times greater than the best silicon power MOSFETs in applications such as DC/DC converters, remote sensing technology (lidar), motor drives for e-mobility, robotics, and drones, and low-cost satellites, says the company. 

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