Silicon Laboratories introduces world's smallest, lowest loss AC current sensor

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 28 March 2008



(2008), "Silicon Laboratories introduces world's smallest, lowest loss AC current sensor", Sensor Review, Vol. 28 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Silicon Laboratories introduces world's smallest, lowest loss AC current sensor

Article Type: New products From: Sensor Review, Volume 28, Issue 2.

Silicon Laboratories Inc., a leader in high performance, analog intensive, mixed-signal ICs, has announced the world's smallest low loss high accuracy AC current sensors for a wide range of power applications. The Si8500 family (Figure 3) measures up to 20A of current for control and protection in power systems and is ideal for a broad range of applications including AC-DC switching power supplies, isolated DC- DC supplies, motor control and electronic ballasts for lighting.

Figure 3 The Si8500 family of AC current sensors are the smallest in the world

The patent pending Si8500 integrates the functional equivalent of a current transformer circuit into a tiny 4×4×1mm QFN package, including the current transformer, blocking diode, burden resistor and output RC filter, decreasing board space by up to 75 percent and reducing enclosure volume requirements by up to 80 percent. The Si8500 family also integrates temperature and offset compensation circuitry to achieve industry-leading measurement accuracy of ±5 percent with a 2Vpp full-scale output signal swing. To further save cost and board space, the Si8510 family offers a “ping-pong” output that enables one Si8510 to replace two current transformer circuits in full-bridge applications.

The Si8500 family boosts efficiency and performance in both custom and off-the-shelf AC-DC power supplies. By integrating the current sensor into silicon, the Si8500 architecture provides greater than five times lower series resistance and over two times lower series inductance than traditional discrete implementations. These performance gains translate directly into lower power dissipation, higher efficiency, lower noise and reduced power supply complexity.

The Si8500 family integrates auto- calibration circuitry that improves manufacturability and reliability by eliminating measurement offset and temperature sensitivities found in discrete current sensor implementations. Discrete designs typically use current transformers that suffer from mechanical variations. These variations can cause manufacturability problems related to component placement issues, as well as excessive mechanical tolerances, leading to further manufacturing steps for calibration and proper operation. The Si8500 is also rated to operate from 240 to þ1258C in a standard surface mount package, simplifying power supply designs.

“Silicon Labs' current sensors eliminate the need for large current transformers and associated discrete components,” said David Bresemann, Vice President of Silicon Laboratories. “We are continuing to expand our family of power products with unique architectures that use cutting edge mixed-signal design techniques. Customers recognize that our vast improvements in performance, footprint and efficiency will translate to greater functionality and better performance in a smaller space.”

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