World’s first M0+ USB-C PD 3.1 controller 

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

STMicroelectronics has launched the first controller based around the ARM Cortex M0+ core for power adapters using the latest USB-C PD 3.1 standard.

The ST-ONE is the world’s first digital controller to integrate a programmable offline power-supply controller, a high voltage start-up circuit, a synchronous-rectification controller, and USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) circuitry in one package.

The chip is aimed at increasing energy efficiency in a wide variety of ac-dc adapters, fully compliant with USB-PD 3.1, including laptop and smartphone chargers. New adapters built with ST-ONE can reduce both CO2 emissions and the quantity of plastics consumed.

It pairs with ST’s MasterGaN power output modules to enable the energy savings and smaller equipment dimensions.

The USB-PD communication is implemented on the secondary side and reinforced galvanic isolation is provided to let the primary and the secondary side circuits communicate while respecting safety requirements.

Using the MasterGaN integrated power stage with GaN transitors and optimized drivers allows the adapters to operate at elevated switching frequencies and use smaller magnetic components to maximize power density.

The ST-ONE comes with 64kByte of embedded flash for designers to customize both the USB-PD protocol and the power-conversion stage and includes USB-PD 3.1 PPS certified firmware pre-loaded into the flash.

“If every power adapter achieved at least 1% higher efficiency, which is possible using the ST-ONE energy-recovery circuit design, the world could save about 93 terawatt-hours of energy, equivalent to the output of 15 nuclear plants,” said Domenico Arrigo, Industrial and Power Conversion Division General Manager, STMicroelectronics. “In addition, if one billion chargers worldwide were to use our technology, 0.2 million tons of plastics and raw materials could be saved.”

The reduction in consumption of materials such as plastics is achieved with the increase in so-called power density that enables smaller components to manage a larger power delivery. A high power density also cuts down recycling and environmental costs.

On display at the Embedded World exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany, ST’s reference design, EVLONE65W, enables a 65W USB-C PD adapter of the same size and weight (less than 70g in a 37cm3) of a standard 20W smartphone charger with a power density of 1.8W/cm3

ST-ONE is in production and available now, in a SSOP36 package, from $3.70 for orders of 1000 pieces.

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