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AC-DC CONVERTERS New MinE-CAP IC enables smaller AC-DC converters

Author / Editor: Luke James / Jochen Schwab

The new MinE-CAP IC from Power Integrations, the leader in high-voltage integrated circuits for energy-efficient power conversion, reduces the total volume of AC-DC converters by up to 40 percent.

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The MinE-CAP IC reduces AC-DC converter size by up to 40 percent.
The MinE-CAP IC reduces AC-DC converter size by up to 40 percent.
(Source: Power Integrations)

Announced at the end of October, Power Integrations’ new MinE-CAP IC is targeted towards high power density, universal input AC-DC converters. It dramatically reduces the size of the high-voltage bulk electrolytic capacitors that are required in the offline power supplies used in applications like chargers and adapters, meaning that adapter sizes can be reduced by up to 40 percent.

The MinE-CAP IC also greatly reduces in-rush current, which makes the use of NTC thermistors unnecessary, increasing system efficiency and reducing heat dissipation.

Leveraging PowiGaN gallium nitride transistors

The MinE-CAP IC leverages the small size and low RDSon PowiGaN™ gallium nitride (GaN) transistors to actively and automatically connect and disconnect parts of the bulk capacitor network depending on voltage conditions of the AC line.

A typical application schematic for Power Integrations’ MinE-CAP IC.
A typical application schematic for Power Integrations’ MinE-CAP IC.
(Source: Power Integrations)

When designers use MinE-CAP, they select the smallest high-line rated bulk capacitor needed for high AC line voltages and allocate most of the energy storage to lower voltage capacitors that are protected by the IC until needed at a low AC line.

This approach means that the size of bulk input capacitors can be shrunk down without compromising factors like operating efficiency, output ripple, or necessitating the redesign of the transformer.

Housed in a 16A package

In contrast to conventional power conversion solutions which require upping switching frequency to enable the use of a smaller transformer, the MinE-CAP IC achieves just as significant of an overall power supply reduction while using fewer components and avoiding problems typically associated with high-frequency designs, such as higher EMI and increased transformer/clamp dissipation.

The IC is housed in a miniature MinSOP-16A package and works seamlessly with Power Innovations’ InnoSwitch family of power supply ICs while requiring minimal external components.

“The MinE-CAP will be a game-changer for compact chargers and adapters. Electrolytic capacitors are physically large, occupy a significant fraction of the internal volume and often constrain form factor options – particularly minimum thickness – of adapter designs,” said Chris Lee, Power Integrations’ product marketing director.

MinE-CAP IC allows designers to use low voltage rated capacitors for a large portion of the energy storage, thus shrinking the volume of those components linearly with voltage. “MinE-CAP provides more volume saving than doubling the switching frequency, while actually increasing system efficiency,” he added.

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