App note: Current sharing in parallel diodes


Application note from STMicroelectronics on the performance of each diode in a parallel diode connection and how the forward voltage dispersion can have a great impact over thermal effect on the current imbalance. Link here (PDF)

The use of diodes in parallel is commonly found in power electronic design. An important consideration for this practice is the current sharing between diodes due to the difference of electrical characteristics. This application note highlights the cause of the behavior of several diodes are connected in parallel. Some recommendations will be given to help the designer to produce a safe design. An electro-thermal model is described which simulates the current and junction temperature of each diode for given application conditions. This tool is illustrated using an example.

App note: Current sensing in metering applications using a pulse current sensor and ST metering devices


App note from STMicroelectronics about current sensing using Rogowski coil together with STPMxx metering device. Link here (PDF)

This application note describes the benefits of a current sensing system for metering applications using STPMxx metering devices and a current sensor developed by Pulse Engineering Inc. (hereafter referred to as “Pulse current sensor”), based on the Rogowski coil principle. Following an overview of the Rogowski coil principle, the Pulse current sensor is introduced along with a comparison to other current measuring devices. This is followed by a presentation of the characteristics of the STPMxx family of metering devices, and the results of accuracy testing conducted using a demonstration board with the STPM01 and the Pulse current sensor.

App note: Watt-hour meter based on the STM32F101 microcontroller


ARM Microcontroller based watt-hour meter implementation from STMicroelectronics. Link here (PDF)

This document describes, in detail, the hardware and software implementation of a watthour meter using the STM32F101 microcontroller. This cost effective watt-hour meter uses shunt with an operational amplifier as a current sensor, an embedded 12-bit ADC for current and voltage measurement, GPIO for LCD management, and a lot of other peripherals for communication, tamper detection, keyboard, and power disconnection. Powerful architecture of the STM32™ microcontroller allows sampling at 1 Msps. The high sampling rate makes it possible to use methods for ADC resolution enhancement.

App note: Thermal design calculations for integrated stepper motor driver solutions


Another technical note from STMicroelectronics on fine tuning motor drivers for optimal thermal design. Link here (PDF)

One constant trend in the automotive world is the tendency to reduce the size of electronic components and the ECUs (Electronic Control Unit). While this development has many benefits for the car manufacturer as well as for the end customer, there are also challenges for the developers of these systems: especially for power drivers the design of robust applications requires an accurate estimation of the thermal power dissipation on a system level.

In this article a method to calculate the thermal power dissipation of a stepper motor driver is derived from a simple example to a model that includes the various configuration options and modes of a state of the art stepper driver, like that of ST Microelectronic’s L9942.

App note: Pop & click in audio amplifiers


Technical note from STMicroelectronics about popping noise usually heard on audio amplifiers and how to minimize it. Link here (PDF)

Pop and click, or rather, the absence of it, is a characteristic that makes a lot of impact in the world of audio amplifiers. This is especially true for those destined for headphone-equipped applications (such as mobile phones and MP3 players).
Pop and click are the names given to the popping noise that may be heard through the headphones when you switch on or off portable audio equipment or mobile phones. The noise is generated by a voltage difference at across the output stage of the amplifier at switch-on or switch-off before it reaches its idle (or equilibrium) state.

App note: Intelligent power switches for 48 V battery applications


Application note on controling Intelligent Power Switches (IPS) from STMicroelectronics. Link here (PDF)

For the last 15-20 years, the automotive electronics market has been moving from electromechanical relays to solid state components for driving all kind of loads.

It is obvious why: solid state components are smaller in size, lighter, silent, easy to mass produce because they are housed in SMD packages, and they boast an unrivaled number of switching activations. On top of this, the solutions based on silicon components have a much higher electrical efficiency and offer useful types of diagnostics such as short-circuit, overload and thermal protections, they can supply an actual image of the current flowing into the load, and so on. In fact, they are called “Intelligent Power Switches (IPS)” or “Smart Power MOSFETs” for good reasons. The key “switching” element is an N-MOSFET, with the relevant charge pump. Around the N-MOSFET, logic interfaces and other elements contribute to the protection of the MOS and they generate and manage diagnostic data.

App note: How to select the Triac, ACS, or ACST that fits your application


Choosing the right AC switch for your application based on specification like current rating, voltage rating and triggering quadrant. Here’s an app note from STMicroelectronics to guide you on selecting the right part. Link here (PDF)

This document gives basic guidelines to select the AC switch device according to the targeted application requirements. These guidelines will allow the appropriate Triac, ACS or ACST to be selected, for most of the applications. Some very specific cases could require a higher level of expertise to ensure a reliable and efficient operation.

App note: A logic-level transient-voltage protected AC switch


STMicroelectronics’ AC switch directly controlled by microcontroller. Link here (PDF)

Home appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and dishwashers employ a lot of low power loads such as valves, door lock systems, dispensers or drain pumps. Since these loads are powered by the mains in ON / OFF mode, they were initially controlled by relays. Recently, relays have been replaced by triacs, due to their smaller size and lower driving energy. Nevertheless triacs don’t fulfill alone the new requirements that users now need and are used with others components.

Power switches must now be directly driven by a microcontroller unit (MCU) and must be robust to withstand the A.C. line transients so that systems may fall into line with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards. ACSs (for Alternating Current Switches) have been designed with this goal mind, i.e. to offer logic level and more robust semiconductor devices.