National puts power modules into friendlier package

National Semiconductor has developed a packaging technique that lets it put passives and integrated circuits together to build switching power modules that come in the same format as many, simpler, linear power converters.

Michael White, vice president of the power management division at National, said other suppliers had already produced integrated switching converters but that they used ball-grid arrays and other specialised packages that are not familiar to “a customer used to TO-222 or TO-263 packages”.

“As we have gone out and talked to alpha-site customers, we found not only are the other packages difficult to use in prototyping but they are also difficult to manufacture with,” White claimed.

For the Simple Switcher Power Modules, the company has concentrated on relatively low currents up to this point. “For the first generation of power modules, we have output currents up to 5A. We are in development of future generations that will widen out the input voltages and output currents,” said White.

Lead-frame design and a heat slug on the back of the package helps dissipate heat into the PCB. “Most of the innovation is around the package technology,” said White.

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