Amber Semi New

AmberSemi’s Newly Taped-Out IC Extracts DC from AC Mains

March 22, 2023
The company’s manufacturing milestone represents the start of commercialization and technology integration with key product and semiconductor partners.

This article appeared in Microwaves & RF and has been published here with permission.

Check out more of our APEC 2023 coverage.

In Booth #131 at APEC 2023, Amber Semiconductor will feature the first tapeout of one of its three core technologies: The company’s AC Direct DC Enabler has entered the manufacturing and integration phase. The fabless house’s chip extracts dc directly from ac mains without the use of transformers, rectifier bridges, or filtering.

The AC Direct DC Enabler silicon chip enables dynamic delivery of dc power on demand while requiring only half the components of today’s standard, comparable systems. By pairing dynamic power capabilities with a much smaller system size, AmberSemi hopes to enable significantly more capabilities and features to be added into electrical endpoints without altering the standard footprints of products. Such products include smoke detectors, doorbell cameras, thermostats, smart products, appliances, intelligent HVACR, and more.

The technology can be paired with key semiconductor devices like microcontrollers and wireless radios to create AC Direct semiconductor systems. These would enable both housekeeping power plus outside sensor power provisioning from the single AC Direct system.

Configurable Converter

The AC Direct DC Enabler operates as a configurable power converter, without the need for rectifier bridges, input filtering, or transformers. The device converts a wide supply voltage range of 25 to 277 V ac, 50/60 Hz input to a regulated 1.8 V to 24 V dc, with a capability of up to 5 W of power across all voltages. In addition, two auxiliary regulated dc outputs providing 5.0 V and 3.3 V, respectively, are available.

The architecture enables a minimum 66% size reduction in footprint, or even further reduction depending on the specific power requirements. Additional flexibility for system developers is afforded by the integrated SPI port, allowing for programmability of default values and accessibility to status bits within a control register file. Configuration of voltages, load current, and status monitoring of protection thresholds for current, voltage, and temperature operating parameters are determined by control bits within the register file, held in non-volatile memory. 

AmberSemi’s silicon-chip engineering samples will be available for customer demo testing later in 2023 into the start of 2024. The company is currently working with strategic customers to conduct ongoing evaluations of its AC Direct DC Enabler technology under non-disclosure agreements.

In addition to showcasing its AC Direct DC Enabler technology and other technologies at APEC, AmberSemi CEO Thar Casey will conduct an education seminar titled, “AC Direct Digitization of Electricity – The NEW Emerging Solid-State Standard for Power Management” on Tuesday, March 21, from 3:45 to 4:15 pm in Session Room W203A.

Check out more of our APEC 2023 coverage.


To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Electronic Design, create an account today!