Demo board for highly efficient bi-di converter for mild-hybrids

Demo board for highly efficient bi-di converter for mild-hybrids

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The GaN expert EPC has introduced the EPC9163, a 2 kW, two-phase 48 V – 12 V bidirectional converter that operates with 96.5 % efficiency in a very small footprint. The design of this demonstration board is scalable; that is, two converters can be paralleled to achieve 4 kW or three converters can be paralleled to achieve 6 kW. The board features eight EPC2218 100 V eGaN FETs and is controlled by a module that includes the Microchip dsPIC33CK256MP503 16-bit digital controller.

The fast-switching speed and low losses of the eGaN FETs allow the converter to operate at 500 kHz, which significantly reduces the size of the solution. The high switching frequency capability allowed the use of the extremely small IHTH-1125KZ-5A Vishay inductor in this design.

Overall, the DC-DC converter is three times faster, greater than 35% smaller and lighter, and offers greater than 1.5% higher efficiency, and lower overall system costs compared to silicon MOSFET solutions. Additionally, the excellent efficiency and thermal performance of GaN FETs enables air cooling instead of water cooling and the small size of the GaN FETs strongly reduce the size of heat-dissipating aluminum housing for additional system cost saving.

“eGaN FETs provide the fast switching, small size, and high efficiency needed to further reduce the size and weight of 48 V – 12 V automotive power system converters,” said Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC. “The EPC9163 is an ideal example of the capabilities of GaN FETs to increase frequency and efficiency to allow smaller inductance for less phases and higher power density.”

The EPC9163 demonstration board is priced at $536.26/each and is available for immediate delivery from Digi-Key at  


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