EPC. MPS team for 2kW 48V DC-DC converter design

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By Nick Flaherty

EPC has worked with long-term partner Monolithic Power Solutions (MPS) on a high efficiency reference design for a 2kW bidirectional DC-DC converter using gallium nitride (GaN) devices.

The EPC9165 design operates with 96.8% peak efficiency with an output from 12V to 48V in a footprint of 108 x 70 x 40 mm (4.3 x 2.8 x 1.6 in). It is aimed at high density 48V battery packs such as those required for hybrid EVs, light mobility and data centre servers.

Two converters can be paralleled for 4 kW, three converters for 6 kW or only one phase can be used for 1 kW. In this design the output voltage is 14V; however, since the topology is a hard-switching buck converter, the output voltage can easily be adjusted for voltages between 12 V and 36 V.

The design combines the EPC2302 100V GaN FET switching at 500kHz with the MPS MPQ1918 100 V automotive half-bridge driver that MPS developed specifically for use with GaN FETs. The gate driver available in a small 3x3mm FCQFN package with wettable flanks to enable optical inspection and has a peak source current of 1.6A with a 0.2Ω / 1.2Ω pull-down/pull-up resistance to enable usage of high power FETs with faster switching edges to maximize efficiency and increase power density.

This is used to control the 100V FET, which supports 101 A of continuous current and 390 A pulsed current. The thermally enhanced QFN package of the FET has an exposed top improves the thermal dissipation to the heatsink. It delivers 0.2 degC/W thermal resistance to the heatsink, and like the MPQ1918 has wettable flanks to simplify assembly inspection and improve robustness for thermal cycles.

“GaN FETs and ICs provide the fast switching, small size, and high efficiency needed to further reduce the size and weight of 48 V to 12 V/14 V converters,” said Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC. “. By utilizing the MPS 100 V automotive gate driver and EPC’s first packaged device, the EPC2302, the EPC9165 reference design showcases a solution that increases efficiency, increases power density, and simplifies design; in space and weight critical designs like eMobility.”

“The new MPS MPQ1918 is designed to fully utilize the high performance of GaN FETs to maximize efficiency and power density for high power solutions. As EPC is one of the key players providing power eGaN FET’s, we are glad to collaborate to bring this solution to market to improve efficiency and reduce solution size in bidirectional converters” said Maurice Sciammas, VP of Sales & Marketing at MPS.

The EPC2302 has a typical RDS(on) of 1.4 mOhm typical and 1.8 mOhm maximum, together with QG of 23 nC typical, QGD of 2.3 nC typical, QOSS of 85 nC typical, and zero QRR for low conduction and switching losses.

The EPC9165 demonstration board is priced at $498.00 /each and is available for immediate delivery from Digi-Key.

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