Car infotainment systems need multi-output power ICs: Page 3 of 9

March 11, 2013 //By Nathan Hanagami, Steve Knoth and Marty Merchant
Car infotainment systems need multi-output power ICs
Nathan Hanagami, Steve Knoth and Marty Merchant of Linear Technology examine why car infotainment systems need multi-output power ICs.
This will result in a bevy of increased costs and delays due to a redesign and re-layout of the board. A highly specialized, high performance configurable power management IC is needed to properly manage the power block to ensure that all of the performance benefits of the system can be realized and allow flexibility for inevitable power block system changes. Until now, there has not been a single IC that could accomplish this task.

In summary, the main IC design challenges facing an automotive infotainment system architect include the following:
•    Changes in design requirements (voltage & current levels) over the project development time
•    Many systems need numerous <5V rails
•    The current requirements for each rail are frequently unknown until the end of development (e.g. FPGA’s have software dependent Icc)
•    Similar applications can have big differences in DC/DC current requirements from revision to revision
•    ISO26262 specification, aimed at reducing risks associated with software for safety functions in automobiles
•    Balancing power dissipation with the high level of integration of multiple switching regulators
•    Immunity to harsh voltage changes from transients and cold crank conditions
•    Monitoring power supply IC die temperature
•    Minimizing solution size and footprint
•    Minimizing EMI and noise emissions

A simple solution

Historically, many of the existing multi-output PMICs have not possessed the necessary flexibility to handle these modern systems. Any solution to satisfy the automotive power management IC design constraints outlined above must combine a high level of integration, including moderate-current buck switching regulators with low voltage capability, wide temperature range of operation, and a high degree of flexibility. What’s needed is a multi-channel, configurable DC/DC converter to address all of these issues - one device - which can provide high levels of integration and configurability, while simultaneously satisfying the needs of numerous applications.

Flexible octal buck regulator

The LTC3375 is an integrated general-purpose power management solution for systems requiring multiple

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