Introducing the ZL8800 - Part 1

Added on November 10, 2013
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Video Transcript

Hello I'm Chance Dunlap, I am the business unit manager of the Zilker labs Digital Power Products at Intersil, and today I'd like to showcase the new ZL8800. This device is a dual phase or a dual output PWN controller. So we are just showing one output with it right now. A ZL8800 device with an external ZL1505 gauge driver and of course its synchronizing buck controller. One of the main benefits of the product is the ability to have a PMBus interface, which is essentially a two wire SMBus or I2C interface such that you can configure the device and then you also have telemetry. Now, the benefit of telemetry is you are able to monitor all of the different aspects of the power supply in real time. So at any point, you can know what the input voltage is, the input current, the output voltage and also the associate output current of the load. This gives you the ability to continuously monitor your supply in the application, and respond to faults and the events that occur. So I'd like to show you on the bench how this device works with this GUI, such that we can look at how it monitors all the data real time.

To really understand the benefit and the power of the ZL8800 and what digital power can do, let's take a look at it in an actual lab environment. So what we have here is the evaluation board of a ZL8800, this is the dual phase board, so we have a single ZL8800 IC on this board, and we have the two separate channels, now these are tied together to a single output voltage. So it operates as a dual phase converter. The power stages that are shown here, are using just DrMOS devices, and you can see the output inductor on the output capacitors. Now, in this setup, I'm running from a 12 old Vin source, so you can see in the multimeter It's running right now at 12 volts in, I've got a 1.2 volt output, and I've got it connected to a low box. So we can start manipulating different conditions such as input voltage and the output load. The last piece I have on this board is the dongle, this connects into the PC that's running the new power navigator GUI. So the PC will send signals across to the USB that's converted into I2C or the PMBus commands to talk to the device, and this provides all the real time data back such as the input voltage and the output voltage. So if we take a look at the GUI, we can see exactly the real time measurements.

The GUI is monitoring the five key parameters we were looking for on the board, the output voltage, the output current, the input voltage, and the input current, along with the temperature of the IC. So as we look on the GUI, we can see each one of these is presented clearly on the main page. The output voltage reading 1.2 volts. You can see the output current right now with a no-load condition, the input voltage, input current and also the temperature. You notice the temperature is reading two different things, it shows an internal temperature and an external temperature. The difference between them is the internal temperature is the actual temperature of the silicon, the ZL8800. The external temperature is measured at the inductor, so we are using the external temperature sensor, the 3904 MPN just to measure right up against the inductor, so that we can temperature compensate it, and that way we always have an accurate output current measurement across temperature.

To show how this can change, we have a can of freeze spray here and, if we just simply freeze the device. You notice how right away within the GUI, you can see that internal temperature dropping by several degrees C. One of the other parameters that’s constantly monitored is the input voltage. So we can just vary the input supply and watch how the GUI continuously updates and monitors it. So I'm taking it down from 12 volts, down 9 volts, 8 volts, and we can watch how the GUI will continuously record the voltage seen at the IC. Okay, come back up to 12 volts now, same thing. Another parameter we can vary would be the load. So as we have a load box connected, and we just turn it up from 0 current, up right now it’s at 0.3 and we continue increasing it, and you’re going to see that the GUI will continuously monitor the low current seen on the board. So right now the load box is reading a little low because of the voltage drop across the cabling, but still you get an accurate measurement of what’s the current exactly at the point of load converter. So that demonstrates the capability and the simplicity of using the new PowerNavigator GUI on the ZL8800. For more information on configuring a device, please watch the remaining videos.