Regulations which are in place today, or which are set to come into force in the near future, are forcing manufacturers of electronic equipment to reduce stand-by power consumption in devices sold in almost every developed region of the world. Many kinds of appliance sit in an idle state most of the time. Today, they normally waste energy simply because the user omits to turn off the mechanical switch, leaving the connection with the mains power line open.
Now, however, there is a solution which solves this problem without having to change the behaviour of the user: the Zero Power mode in the VIPer0P, an offline AC-DC converter from STMicroelectronics. Its clever on/off management enables extremely low input-power consumption even when appliances are connected to the mains in an idle state.
In fact, as soon as the equipment completes its working cycle, it can be automatically turned off and immediately switched on again only when required. The control of the Zero Power mode is automatic with a microcontroller, or manual using a tactile low-voltage button or remote control system. In fact, thanks to the VIPer0P’s Zero Power mode mechanical switches can be eliminated, saving bill-of-materials cost.
A simplified block diagram of the VIPer0P converter is shown in Figure 1. It consists of an 800V MOSFET with on-resistance rated at 20Ω, and a fixed-frequency current-mode PWM controller with over-current protection. It operates at a jittered fixed frequency, reducing EMI filtering requirements.
Two different part numbers are available: the ‘L’ version is optimised for a 60kHz switching frequency, and the ‘H’ version for 120kHz. The user can choose the frequency which best balances efficiency and transformer size. The VIPer0P is also equipped with a light-load management scheme which ensures that it achieves good efficiency even when supplying a load as small as a few milliamps.
In the steady state, the IC supports either self-supply or an external supply. Since it has a wide input-voltage range of 5-30V, it can operate from an external supply even when the output voltage is as low as 5V. The upper limit of 30V accommodates large variations in the auxiliary voltage, thus giving the user flexibility in the selection of a transformer.
Zero-Power mode for stand-by operation
A key feature of the VIPer0P IC is its Zero Power mode, an idle state in which the device is totally shut down, the output voltage is zero, and the residual power consumption from the mains is kept below 4mW at 230V AC, as shown in Table 1.
All the IC’s functional blocks are turned off except those needed to exit the mode. Microcontroller management of the operation of the Zero Power mode is shown in Figure 2.
An evaluation kit, the STEVAL-ISA174V1, shows that a power supply with a built-in VIPer0P easily meets the demand of energy regulations such as the European Union’s Code of Conduct for the efficiency of external power supplies, and the IEC 62301 standard for zero power consumption in stand-by mode. Moreover, the evaluation kit demonstrates pre-compliance with IEC standards for EMC, EMI, surge current, burst-mode current, and in-application ESD. The evaluation board implements a non-isolated flyback topology, delivering about 7W across a dual output: 800mA on the -5V output, 400mA on the 7V output. It uses the VIPer0P L version.
Values for the light-load and no-load power consumption of the equivalent single-output 12V/6.8W converter are shown in Table 1. Its Active mode efficiency, which is defined as the average of the efficiencies measured at 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% of maximum load, is 81.6% at a nominal 115V AC input voltage, and 81.5% at 230V AC. This means that the single-output equivalent converter complies with the EU Code of Conduct and with US Department of Energy standards.