GaN Systems and Renesas Reduce Automotive DC/DC by 50%

By Tiera Oliver

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

October 19, 2022


GaN Systems and Renesas Reduce Automotive DC/DC by 50%

OTTAWA, Canada – GaN Systems announced that the company’s power transistors are now powering Renesas Electronics’ new automotive 48V/12V Bidirectional DC/DC Converter to provide power density improvements. Renesas’ converter utilizes GaN Systems’ GS61008P, a 100V enhancement mode GaN-on-silicon power transistor designed to enable a 46% reduction in system size.

GaN is becoming increasingly popular in consumer electronics and is ideal for power conversion and battery charging for hybrid and electric vehicles. This makes GaN Systems’ power transistors ideal for use in Renesas’ new automotive solution, which is designed for 48V mild hybrid vehicles and electric motorcycles and requires high efficiency 48V/12V DC/DC converters.

GaN provides high switching frequency at high efficiency enabling smaller magnetics and smaller size. According to the company, GaN Systems’ GaN HEMTs provides a 50% smaller PCB area compared to Si-MOSFETs.

“Customers in automotive are constantly looking for improvements in power density and cost, and this design is another reflection that GaN delivers significant improvements in power density in a smaller, more efficient, and cost-effective design,” said Jim Witham, CEO of GaN Systems. 

Benefits​ of the new 48V/12V Bidirectional DC/DC Converter include:

  • 46% reduction of the PCB area by leveraging the switching capabilities of GaN Systems transistors—enabling a high-efficiency power converter with a high switching frequency of 500kHz. This allows the use of very small 1.3µH inductors, which leads to a decrease in size and weight.
  • High efficiency over a wide range of loads. A combination of GaN with the automatic phase drop function achieves efficient power conversion even at low loads, exceeding 94% power efficiency over a wide load range of 400W to 3kW.
  • The ISL78226 PWM controller is designed to eliminate the need for complicated DC/DC converter control software development.
  • The half-bridge driver ISL78420/444 provides a cost-effective method of driving GaN transistors.

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Tiera Oliver, Associate Editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content edits, product news, and constructing stories. She also assists with newsletter updates as well as contributing and editing content for ECD podcasts and the ECD YouTube channel. Before working at ECD, Tiera graduated from Northern Arizona University where she received her B.S. in journalism and political science and worked as a news reporter for the university’s student led newspaper, The Lumberjack.

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