Power-One has gained an ally for its Z-One digital intermediate bus architecture (IBA) standard. Micrel's MIC68000 family of linear regulators are interoperable with Power-One's Z-One point-of-load converters (POLs) and ZM7300 digital power managers. Until now, power-system designers could use only Power-One's switching POLs to take advantage of the Z-One concept.
The virtue of Z-One digital IBA has always been its comprehensive control of POL sequencing, tracking, and slew rate, along with an intuitive programming GUI that goes far beyond plugging numbers into boxes. It differs from PMBus in using a separate controller chip with an I2C interface that then communicates with the POLs via a single-wire bus.
Micrel's alliance with Power-One is evidence that Z-One can be a true open standard. Micrel's first family member, the MIC68200, is a 2-A low-dropout regulator that operates from a 1.65- to 5.5-V input range.
The MIC68200 is currently available in volume. Pricing starts at $1.63 in 1000-unit quantities.