6 June 2022
EPC launches three-phase BLDC motor drive inverter
Efficient Power Conversion Corp (EPC) of El Segundo, CA, USA – which makes enhancement-mode gallium nitride on silicon (eGaN) power field-effect transistors (FETs) and integrated circuits for power management applications – has announced the availability of the EPC9173, a three-phase BLDC (brushless DC) motor drive inverter using the EPC23101 eGaN IC with embedded gate driver function and a floating power GaN FET with 3.3mΩ RDS(on).
The EPC9173 operates from an input supply voltage between 20V and 85V and can deliver up to 50Apk (35ARMS). This voltage range and power level makes the solution suitable for a variety of motor drive applications including e-bikes, scooters, city cars, drones, and robotics.
The EPC9173 contains all the necessary critical function circuits to support a complete motor drive inverter including gate drivers, regulated auxiliary power rails for housekeeping supplies, voltage, and temperature sense, accurate current sense, and protection functions.
Major benefits of a GaN-based motor drive are exhibited with these reference design boards, including less than 30ns deadtime for very high motor + inverter system efficiency for longer range, lower distortion for lower acoustic noise, lower current ripple for reduced magnetic loss, lower torque ripple for improved precision, and lower filtering for lower cost. The lower weight and size of the EPC9173 solution enables incorporation of the drive into the motor housing and supports low-inductance, higher-power-density motors. When configured for 100kHz frequency, the input filter and the number of capacitors can be dramatically reduced, and the electrolytic capacitors can be eliminated from the board.
The use of the EPC23101 integrated GaN-on-silicon device offers higher performance in a smaller footprint with significantly reduced design engineering requirements for fast time to market. The solution enables phase current sensing and leg shunt current sensing, for maximum flexibility. EPC provides full demonstration kits, which include interface boards that connect the inverter board to the controller board development tool for fast prototyping that reduce design cycle times.
The EPC9173 boards measure just 130mm x 100mm (including connector). The boards can also be configured for multiphase DC–DC conversion topologies including buck, boost, half-bridge, full bridge, or LLC converters.
“Designers can use the GaN IC to make lighter-weight and more precise battery-operated motor drives for eMotion, robotic arms, and drones,” says CEO Alex Lidow. “GaN enables motor systems that are smaller, lighter, less noisy, have more torque, more range, and greater precision.”
The EPC9173 reference design board is priced at $900 and is available for immediate delivery from Digi-Key Corp.