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What are Power Management ICs (PMICs)?
Many modern electronic devices require different voltages to power the various components within them whilst depending upon batteries as their main source of power. A power management integrated circuit allows these devices to function efficiently without quickly draining the battery. A PMIC may have multiple functions such as:
Battery management - measuring, charging and monitoring the battery or the battery pack in a device. Battery management systems (BMS) can measure the health of the battery, providing data to determine whether the battery is functioning properly or if it needs to be replaced.
Voltage Regulation – passive voltage regulation results from some property of a component on the circuit. Inactive voltage regulation, a specific action is taken when the voltage on a system drops or rises outside of a given range.
Charging functions - allow the charge in a battery to be replenished when it is exhausted. This is done by running an electrical current through the battery.
Types of Power Management ICs
- AC-DC Converters - usually plug into house current and convert the AC from the wall into DC current that is used by an electrical device. Most computer modems, routers and a great deal of other electronic equipment use these devices.
- Buck Converters - a type of DC to DC converter that outputs a lower voltage than their input voltage, also known as step down converters.
- DC-DC Controllers - manage the charge of a battery.
- DC-DC Converters - take a specific input voltage and convert it to a different output voltage. They come in designs that both increase and decrease the output voltage relative to the input voltage.
- Intelligent power switches - monitor electrical conditions in a circuit and take an active response accordingly.
- Linear voltage regulators - ensure that the voltage across any electrical system remains constant. They allow various loads to be attached to any electrical system without changing the voltage.
- MOSFET power drivers - power drivers that specifically function with a MOSFET semiconductor component.
- Motor driver ICs - power drivers that are designed to be used with electric motors. They're used in everything from large-scale industrial applications to very small motorized devices.
- Voltage References - supply a consistent voltage, no matter how much load is on the device.