H Bridges provide smart power for automotive SoCs

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

The wide diversity of automotive motor-drivers, including those used for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), headlamp, seat positioning, window, and mirror applications, requires circuits that do more than just switch the motor on and off. The drivers have to control direction, torque, speed, acceleration, and deceleration to sense

H Bridges provide smart power for automotive SoCs
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position and to detect stall conditions. In addition, they have to withstand severe environmental conditions, such as system electrostatic discharge (ESD), over- and reverse-voltages, wide temperature ranges, and electromagnetic interference (EMI). Finally, since some applications are safety-critical, they also have to fulfill very high quality and reliability demands. Integrating the drive-control functions on a single chip (system-on-chip, or SoC) is a difficult task, because the chips have to operate at high temperatures, high voltages (up to 80V), and handle up to multi-amp currents. This article will describe design implementation of H-Bridges in "smart power" technologies for three automotive applications —a stepper motor actuator for positioning headlamps, a ventilator motor controller to control the airflow and temperature of a car`s airflow, and also a Class D power amplifier for audio amplification. Most automotive applications require the co-existence of analog and digital functionality. Thus the benefits of combining this functionality on a single chip to create an integrated circuit (IC) are significant. Such mixed-signal integration, however, also presents significant challenges, including having to withstand the severe environmental conditions noted previously. Basically, as shown in the schematic, the chip is integrating the system functionality from a sensor (left) to an actuator (right) by going through...

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