alixHosted by ECN's Editorial Director, Alix Paultre, the Tinker's Toolbox is ECN's web-based interview show where we talk about the latest technology, components, and design issues for the electronic design engineering community.

Jim TempletonIn this episode of the Tinker's Toolbox we talk to Jim Templeton at the recent APEC event ( Jim is one of the first advocates of digital power, first as a founder of Zilker Labs and currently as a director of Maxim's ( digital power effort. Maxim's new InTune brand digital power technology increases overall efficiency by using a “state-space” or “model-predictive” control along with several efficiency-optimizing algorithms while using up to five times lower bias current of competing solutions. 


Click here to listen:


Here is another link to the podcast: Maxim Interview

Here is a press release on the technology:
maxim intuneMaxim Integrated Products announces its entry into the fast-growing digital power market with its InTune brand digital power technology; it is based on “state-space” or “model-predictive” control rather than proportional-integral-derivative (PID) control used by competitors.

Maxim’s InTune digital power technology performs an automatic compensation routine that is based on measured parameters, which enables the construction of an internal mathematical model of the power supply including the external components. The result is a switching power supply that achieves the highest possible dynamic performance while guaranteeing stability. Furthermore, this information enables several proprietary algorithms that optimize efficiency across a wide range of operating conditions. Maxim’s InTune digital power technology requires up to 5x lower bias current than competing devices, further improving overall efficiency for applications such as networking, telecom, and servers.

“Unlike competing technology, Maxim’s InTune digital power technology is not an iterative tuning technique. It is deterministic and resolves several limitations present in today’s digital power solutions,” said Jim Templeton, Director of Business Management, leading Maxim’s digital power effort. “Unlike PID-based solutions, the loop used by Maxim’s InTune digital power technology provides seamless small- and large-signal response without the need to cross back and forth between linear and nonlinear modes. This enables loop response up to 10x faster than competitors and does not require any user-set thresholds. In fact, the PWM controllers used by Maxim’s InTune digital power technology are even faster than their analog equivalents.”

In addition to internal R&D efforts, the Company has made a key acquisition of a digital power R&D firm and notable university intellectual property. The Company also recently licensed digital power technology “DPT” patents from Power-One, Inc. Using its new technology and acquisitions, Maxim plans to leverage its position as a top supplier of power-management and control ICs to become the number one supplier of digital power solutions.

maxim intune2

“The digital power market has entered the mainstream adoption stage of customer acceptance,” said Ryan Sanderson, Senior Market Research Analyst at IMS Research. “Some OEMs report that they now have more than 40 different power supplies on a single PCB. It is no longer practical to rely solely on analog power techniques for these designs. Digital power simplifies design, reduces components, and provides flexibility. IMS estimates that while the digital power IC market accounts for less than 10% of the total market today, it is growing by an average of 30% per year and will amount to over $900 million by 2016.”

“Maxim’s InTune digital power technology represents the next-generation of digital power,” said Wei Tang, Director of R&D at Delta Electronics, Inc. “By providing the best transient response over all operating conditions and enhanced efficiency modes, Maxim’s InTune digital power technology allows us to enable new features, flexibility, and enhanced performance for our power supply customers.”

Maxim is building a complete family of digital power products to complement its full offering of analog power ICs. The first chips using Maxim’s InTune digital power technology are currently sampling with partner customers; individual product announcements will follow in the coming months. Maxim will be demonstrating its InTune digital power technology at the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC) in Fort Worth, Texas, USA in March. For more information please visit: