Smallest power modules for highly space-constrained applications

March 21, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
Maxim Integrated (San Jose, CA) is laying claim to the industry's smallest DC-DC power converters with its latest Himalaya micro system-level IC (uSLIC) modules.

The 10-pin MAXM17532 and MAXM15462 buck regulators measure 2.6mm x 3.0mm x 1.5mm with nominal input voltages of 5V, 12V, 24V, and 36V. The output is 0.9V to 5.5V at 100mA and and 0.9V to 5.0V at 300mA for the  two versions. 

The modules are aimed at space constrainted designs in industrial, healthcare, communications, and consumer markets. Next-generation system designs from industrial internet of things (IIoT) sensors, defense electronics, and network infrastructure equipment to medical and consumer devices need to collect, synthesize, and act upon data.

This new intelligence requires more power in ever-reducing space without impacting thermal budget, making conventional solutions unviable and complicated. To fit into small enclosures that are deployed in harsh mechanical, electrical, and thermal environments means designers need shock and vibration tolerance, EMI compliance, increased energy efficiency, high temperature operation, and small size-a multidimensional challenge.

The modules integrate a synchronous wide-input Himalaya buck regulator with built-in FETs, compensation, and other functions with an integrated inductor. The combination of these components enables the designer to use the modules in small space-constrained systems while complying with mechanical and EMI standards.

The small size means designers can integrate the ready-made power module into almost the same space of an LDO.  They operate over the -40-degree Celsius to +125-degree Celsius temperature range with a peak efficiency of 90 per cent. 

The modules are compliant to CISPR 22 (EN 55022) Class B EMC emission standards, as well as JESD22-B103/B104/B111 drop, shock, and vibration standards

"With the industrial market adding more intelligence into sensors to improve factory throughput and profitability, new demands are placed on energy efficiency and small size. Maxim's Himalaya uSLIC power modules deliver an impressively small solution size and highly reduced design effort, as well as high efficiency and integrated functions," said Alexander Bohli, senior engineer at SICK. "Without Maxim's high-voltage uSLIC modules, we cannot offer our new tiny sensors in such small housings."

"These compact uSLIC modules completely transform power supply design for