Single inductor, multiple-output PMIC halves regulator size for the IoT

December 04, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Maxim Integrated Products has launched six power management ICs based around a new single inductor, multiple output (SIMO) architecture to cut the size of regulators in the Internet of Things (IoT)

The MAX17270, MAX77278, MAX77640/MAX77641 and MAX77680/MAX77681 reduce the power-management footprint by up to 50 percent for space-constrained products such as wearables, hearables, sensors, smart-home automation hubs and IoT devices. The architecture increases overall system efficiency by nine percent compared, reducing heat dissipation, an important consideration for wearable products that make skin contact.

The SIMO control architecture in the PMICs allows a single inductor to serve as the critical energy-storage element for multiple, independent DC-rail outputs. This allows designers to reduce the number of bulky inductors in their designs, thereby improving efficiency, shrinking form factor and reducing heat dissipation. In addition, the low quiescent current of the PMICs plays an important role in extending battery life. With the intrinsic buck-boost operation of the PMICs, the power rails can operate over a battery’s entire range.

The MAX17270 SIMO buck-boost converter is half the size of the previous SIMO-only devices, reducing the number of inductors and ICs that are required for a power tree. The quiescent current of 850nA for one SIMO channel and 1.3µA for three SIMO channels helps extend battery life of end devices, prevents overheating and reduces frequent charging cycles for wearables and hearables. They are available in TQFN and WLP package options. 

The MAX77278 is optimised for small lithium ion batteries with three buck-boost regulators with independent voltage outputs (0.8VOUT to 5.25VOUT), 16µA operating quiescent current/300nA standby current and flexible power sequencing. The device is also a charger for small Li+ cells (7.5mA – 300mA CC range), including an adjustable 425mA current sink for an LED, eight general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins and a 3.7125V to 5.3V, 50mA low-noise low-dropout regulator (LDO) with fixed headroom control in a total footprint of 24mm². An I²C interface allows an applications processor to monitor the status and control power management in remote controls, health and fitness monitors, body cameras and IoT applications.

The MAX77640/MAX77641 also have three buck-boost regulators alongside a low-noise 150mA LDO, a GPIO output


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