Article | March 1, 2023

How To Get Smaller, Smarter, More Reliable Power Management

Source: Qorvo

In this industry, it can be easy to take power for granted. Easy, of course, until you don't have it. Managing that vital resource is critical for systems to operate properly, and in a world that demands smaller, faster and smarter devices, it can be a real challenge. But what if a built-in power management device helped tackle that job?

Qorvo's Configurable Intelligent Power Solutions (ActiveCiPS™) devices help control, monitor and optimize power distribution and conversion in different systems with built-in intelligence and configurability. In this educational video (length: 27 minutes), you will learn about ActiveCiPS power management and how it dramatically helps engineers optimize their designs.

In complex systems, or when a designer needs a more advanced or innovative power solution, it can be too expensive to use discrete components. Power Management Integrated Circuits (PMICs) integrate multiple voltage regulators and control circuits into a single chip. Today's PMICs are flexible, allowing users to update default settings like output voltages, sequencing, fault thresholds and other parameters.

As a result, PMICs are used in many small devices such as wearables, hearables and IoT (Internet of Things) devices - all thanks to their small size, high efficiency and low power consumption. These tiny, high-performance PMICs maximize system efficiency and performance while providing design flexibility and lowering the bill-of-materials cost.

The diagram above illustrates a typical size reduction achieved using a configurable power supply solution.

Because ActiveCiPS PMIC products are configurable, Qorvo provides an ActiveCiPS programming dongle to enable designers to configure the PMIC multiple times during the design process. This helps make the debug stage painless and can speed time to market. With the programing dongle, designers can generate their own custom programed samples again and again until they achieve the functionality they're looking for. After the customer has optimized the PMICs for their system, Qorvo then ships ICs that are built and tested to those settings.

ActiveCiPS programming dongle to enable designers to configure the PMIC multiple times during the design process.

As an example of power management intelligence, consider systems that use Gallium Nitride (GaN) power amplifiers like phased array radar and satellite communication. Specific bias sequencing is required to power the radio frequency power amplifier (RFPA) and calibrate it before transmitting the RF. GaN devices are depletion mode FETs that demand a negative gate voltage during operation. That negative Gate voltage must be applied before increasing the drain bias voltage to protect the device from damage. Different GaN PAs need a different drain voltage level at a different power level. They also need to be calibrated to reach optimal quiescent current at the drain for better performance. This is where an IC like the ACT41000 ActiveCiPS power management device can help customers.

The ACT41000 configurability and built-in intelligence allow the system to auto-calibrate at power-up and then provide the required startup sequencing. Auto calibration can be performed after the system is deployed, which provides aging compensation over time. It comes with an ActiveCiPS programming dongle and GUI, allowing designers to adjust:

  • Output Drain Voltage
  • Quiescent and Maximum Drain Current
  • PA device current and voltage protection
  • Switching Frequency
  • Other features to optimize GaN PA performance

Qorvo ActiveCiPS provides the size, weight, power and cost benefits combined with the intelligence to optimize power for many needs. Learn more in the video and explore Qorvo's many online resources for a wide variety of solutions and products.