Pioneered by ST, intelligent high-side switches provide a more reliable and efficient replacement for conventional relays. For several generations, ST’s VIPower family has offered advantages such as a common package style for many devices in the range. This allows tier-one suppliers to build several module variants using the same basic hardware and software so car makers can address differing requirements in international markets and offer various model specifications and options cost-effectively. The common-package approach has become widely adopted among high-side switch vendors.
In the seventh generation of ST’s VIPower family, the M0-7 series announced today, 75% of family members are available in a 5 x 4mm package, which is 40% smaller than the smallest competing devices. This allows car electronics designers to save pc-board space and aim for smaller module sizes. Moreover, various internal design changes increase precision, enhance diagnostic feedback, and improve reliability. Specifically, performance improvements include greater protection against short circuits, more accurate voltage and temperature feedback, increased current-sense precision, and best-in-class electromagnetic emission (EMI) performance.
Samples of all family members are available now. The first device to enter production will be the dual-channel VND7020AJ-E, in Q2 2013, priced from $1.10 for orders over 1,000 pieces. The full range of package types available across the new family will include PowerSSO-16, PowerSSO-36, Octapak, and SO-8.