Linear Technology has introduced its LTC3226 , an inductorless supercapacitor charger with backup PowerPath controller for Li-ion or other low-voltage system rails in applications that require short term backup power. The device employs a low-noise dual mode (1x/2x) charge-pump architecture with constant input current to charge two supercapacitors in series from a 2.5V to 5.5V input supply to a programmable capacitor charge voltage between 2.5V and 5.3V. Charge current is resistor-programmable up to 150mA. The device’s automatic cell balancing and voltage clamping features maintain equal voltages on both cells without requiring balancing resistors. This protects each supercapacitor from overvoltage damage that could otherwise be caused by mismatches in cell capacitance or leakage, while minimizing current drain on the capacitors.
The LTC3226 has two modes of operation: normal and backup. Operating mode is determined by a programmable power fail (PFI) comparator. In normal mode (PFI high), power flows from VIN to VOUT through a low loss external FET ideal diode, and the charge pump stays on to top off the supercapacitor stack. In backup mode (PFI low), the charge pump is turned off and the internal LDO is turned on to supply the VOUT load current from the stored supercapacitor charge while the external ideal diode prevents reverse current flow into VIN. Up to 2A of backup current may be provided from the supercapacitor through the internal LDO.
The LTC3226 operates with a low 55µA quiescent current when the output voltage is in regulation. The IC is offered in a small 3mm x 3mm QFN package and the device’s 900kHz operating frequency reduces the size of external components as well. Internal current limit and thermal shutdown circuitry allow the device to survive a continuous short-circuit from the PROG, VOUT or CPO pins to ground. Other features include CAP PGOOD and VIN PFO\ (power fail) outputs as well as a VOUT RST\ output for system housekeeping. Pricing for the E and I grade devices starts at $2.67 and $3.07 each, respectively, in 1,000-piece quantities.