Intelligent power devices displace automotive relays, 1.6mΩ on-resistance

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By Julien Happich

The devices provide an extremely reliable, high-performance solution compared with mechanical relays that switch the current flow on and off in electronic control units (ECUs). The power ICs integrate in a single package control circuits that implement protection functions and self-diagnostic functions, in addition to power MOSFET (metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor) switching element(s). The devices combine Renesas’ low-loss technology and a new fabrication process with a cell size of 2 µm to achieve an on-resistance of 1.6 mΩ (RAJ280002, typical value when Tch = 25°C).

This makes their use suitable in high current applications where they can replace conventional mechanical relays while providing a reduced mounting area. The devices can operate at up to 100 million switching cycles with no degradation. The guaranteed on-resistance characteristics at a power supply voltage of 3.2V allow the IPDs to be used in applications where starter motor cranking might otherwise be an issue, such as cases where the driver turns off the engine at stoplights to prevent the engine from idling. The IPDs also feature built-in diagnostic functions and proportional load sensing, allowing for clearly defined fault signals that flag the system/controller when an abnormal load condition is detected. The new chips also feature excellent breakdown tolerance, contributing to smaller and less costly ECUs (eliminating the need for flywheel diodes as external protection elements). 

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