Linear Technology Corporation (Milpitas, CA) has introduced the LTC3226 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 LTC3226 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.
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 very low 55µA quiescent current when the output voltage is in regulation. The basic charging circuit requires few external components and takes up little space.