With the demand for AC-DC external power supplies projected to increase from just over 3 billion units in 2010 to 4.97 billion units in 2014, and because this is a key growth area of communications, driven by mobile phones, finding ways to reduce standby power is essential.
These growth numbers are indicators of the scope of the problems associated with reducing standby power consumption. On one level, the growth in external power supplies is a proxy for the growth in the appliances and electronic equipment segments that populate more homes and offices worldwide. On another level, consider that the single biggest application for power adapters-cell phone chargers-typically sit plugged in and unused for 20 hours a day, wasting energy that entire time.
A typical American home has 40 products constantly drawing power (standby power). Together these amount to almost 10 percent of residential electricity use, or about $220 per year. Figures for most developed countries also show 5 percent to 10 percent of power consumption going to standby power.
When you look at the cumulative data, the scope of the situation is more dramatic. In the US the collective bill for standby power usage now exceeds $4 billion annually. Altogether (offices and homes) standby power use is roughly responsible for 1 percent of the global CO2 emissions. Further, experts agree that a majority of standby power consumption can be eliminated with regulatory policies, smart engineering and changes in personal habits.
To help designers meet the ultra-low standby power challenge they face, Fairchild Semiconductor developed mWSaverTM technology. Offering best-in-class power savings for power supplies, with the fewest possible components, devices in this series integrate five patented technologies: off-time modulation, JFET HV start-up and circuit, feedback impedance switch, HV discharge, and PSR control to drop out voltage; as well as burst mode operation and low operation current techniques. It is only by integrating these unique technologies, leveraged together, that the most stringent standby specifications can be met.
Take the FAN302HL for example. This device is a highly integrated PWM that provides several features to enhance the performance of general flyback converters, including constant-current control and a proprietary topology that enables simplified circuit designs without secondary feedback circuitry, especially important in battery charger applications. Using the FAN302HL, the standby power of a typical charger can be reduced to under 10mW, compared to roughly 400mW.
By developing solutions like mWSaver technology and the FAN302HL, Fairchild enables engineers to drive innovation in their designs for maximum performance, simplify designs and reduce bill of materials costs. To learn more, visit http://www.fairchildsemi.com/products/mwsaver/