High Density Power Solutions for Heavy Power Regulation

VI Chip PRM Non-Isolated Voltage RegulatorsVicor’s VI Chip PRM is a very efficient non-isolated regulator for high power applications, delivering up to 500 W from a single chip. It uses Zero Voltage Switching (ZVS) technology to  buck and boost a wide range of input voltages, providing a regulated, adjustable output voltage. In this post we see why the PRM improves and eases power system design, and give an overview of the internal topology behind its power density and efficiency.

High power requirements have typically been met with discrete component designs involving a number of chips, inductors and other passive devices. Time consuming to complete, these designs also consume a significant amount of board space. Board-level real estate and system-level density have come under steadily increasing pressure when designers attempt to pack more functionality into a fixed, or even diminishing, area in order to keep their products competitive. Integrated power solutions are available, but still require several chips and bulky  passives to deliver 100s to 1,000s of watts of power.

The PRM offers a superior alternative  with an integrated design module. Up to 500 watts of power can be delivered from a single 1.28” x 0.87” x 0.265”  (22.0 x 16.5 x 6.73 mm) chip and just two  passive devices. Kilowatt power applications are  just as simple, since PRM devices can be easily paralleled with a few connections. With the inductor, FET switches, and control circuitry integrated within the module, the designer’s high power board layout challenges, associated with discrete buck-boost topologies, are solved as well. The designer can focus on the challenges and complexities of  system-level integration and optimization, rather than power layout.   Regulation accuracy can be tuned with either remote or local sense feedback topologies, depending on the application requirements. Thermal management challenges are mitigated by module efficiencies of up to 97%. With these integrated modules, engineers are  empowered to deliver power solutions in less time and with less effort, while at the same time significantly increasing power density and reducing board space.

The high power density of PRM modules is due to Vicor’s proprietary ZVS (zero-voltage switching) topology and custom magnetics. The ZVS topology enables high-frequency switching operation—in the order of 1 MHz—with higher conversion efficiency than conventional regulators using hard switching topologies. High switching frequency reduces the size of reactive components, minimizing the required space needed for the circuitry. High switching frequency also reduces the size of the external filter components, increasing power density while enabling fast dynamic response to line and load transients. For supply-noise sensitive systems, the high switching frequency also puts the converter’s spectral artifacts beyond the band of interest for many applications.  This combination of topology and years of power design experience, result in an optimized and integrated module solution that solves many of the traditional challenges that typically require larger components and more development time to complete.

Built on Vicor’s ZVS topology, the VI Chip PRM Module is a powerful solution for power designers and architects.  The integrated module provides a high power regulation function in a high density package.  Customers can choose from a variety of standard catalog parts optimized for industry-standard voltages, and if a deeper level of system integration is needed customers can access the VI Chip PRM Module Configurator on Vicor’s website.  User-defined parts can be configured and simulated online, with real-time price and delivery lead-time provided.

Useful Links:

VI Chip PRM Modules Family Overview

Video: An Overview of Vicor’s VI Chip PRM Module Capabilities

VI Chip PRM Module Configurator

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