Volterra Semiconductor Patent Grants

Coupled inductors enabling increased switching stage pitch

Granted: September 19, 2017
Patent Number: 9767947
A coupled inductor includes a first end magnetic element, a second end magnetic element, N connecting magnetic elements, and N windings, where N is an integer greater than one. Each of the N connecting magnetic elements connects to both of the first and second end magnetic elements. Each of the N windings is wound around a respective one of the N connecting magnetic elements such that the N windings are wound in alternating opposing directions. Possible applications of the coupled…

Systems and methods for controlling DC-to-DC converters including unregulated operating modes

Granted: August 8, 2017
Patent Number: 9729052
A method for controlling a DC-to-DC converter includes: (a) regulating a magnitude of an output voltage of the DC-to-DC converter according to a magnitude of a reference voltage; (b) in response to a command to enter the unregulated operating mode, allowing the magnitude of the output voltage to fall; and (c) adjusting the magnitude of the reference voltage to track the magnitude of the output voltage. A controller for a DC-to-DC converter includes reference and switching modules. The…

Coupled inductors with leakage plates, and associated systems and methods

Granted: August 1, 2017
Patent Number: 9721719
A coupled inductor includes a ladder magnetic core, a first common leakage plate formed of a magnetic material, and N windings, where N is an integer greater than one. The ladder magnetic core includes first and second rails and N rungs, where each of the N rungs connects the first and second rails. Each of the N windings includes a respective first portion. Each of the N windings is wound around a respective one of the N rungs, and at least two of the N windings are wrapped at least…

Voltage regulators with multiple transistors

Granted: August 1, 2017
Patent Number: 9722483
A voltage regulator has an input terminal and a ground terminal. The voltage regulator includes a high-side device, a low side device, and a controller. The high-side device is coupled between the input terminal and an intermediate terminal. The high-side device includes first and second transistors each coupled between the input terminal and the intermediate terminal, such that the first transistor controls a drain-source switching voltage of the second transistor. The low-side device…

Coupled inductors with non-uniform winding terminal distributions

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9704629
A coupled inductor includes a ladder magnetic core including two opposing rails extending in a lengthwise direction and joined by a plurality of rungs. The coupled inductor further includes a respective winding wound around each of the plurality of rungs. The plurality of rungs are divided into at least two groups of rungs, and a lengthwise separation distance between adjacent rungs in each group of rungs is less than a lengthwise separation distance between adjacent rungs of different…

Switching circuits for extracting power from an electric power source and associated methods

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9698599
An electric power system includes N electric power sources and N switching circuits, where N is an integer greater than one. Each switching circuit includes an input port electrically coupled to a respective one of the N electric power sources, an output port, and a first switching device adapted to switch between its conductive and non-conductive states to transfer power from the input port to the output port. The output ports of the N switching circuits are electrically coupled in…

Magnetic devices for power converters with light load enhancers

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9691538
A magnetic device includes a magnetic core, one or more first windings, and one or more second windings. Each first winding forms a respective first turn around a respective first winding center axis, and each second winding forms a respective second turn around a common second winding center axis that is orthogonal to each first winding center axis. Another magnetic device includes a magnetic core, a plurality of first windings forming respective first winding turns, and a second…

Integrated protection devices with monitoring of electrical characteristics

Granted: June 13, 2017
Patent Number: 9679885
Disclosed are systems, devices, circuits, components, mechanisms, and processes in which a switching mechanism can be coupled between components. The switching mechanism is configured to have an on state or an off state, where the on state allows current to pass along a current path. A monitoring mechanism has one or more sensing inputs coupled to sense an electrical characteristic at the current path. The electrical characteristic can be a current, voltage, and/or power by way of…

Voltage converter inductor having a nonlinear inductance value

Granted: April 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9627125
Single phase inductors have non-linear inductance values, and M-phase coupled inductors having non-linear leakage inductance values. Each inductor includes, for example, at least one of the following: a saturable magnetic element, a gap of non-uniform thickness, a core formed of a distributed gap material, or a non-homogeneous core. A DC-to-DC converter includes an inductor having a non-linear inductance value, a switching subsystem, and an output filer. Another DC-to-DC converter…

Switching circuits for extracting power from an electric power source and associated methods

Granted: February 21, 2017
Patent Number: 9577426
An integrated circuit chip includes a first input port, a first output port, and first and second transistors electrically coupled in series across the first input port. The second transistor is also electrically coupled across the first output port and is adapted to provide a path for current flowing through the first output port when the first transistor is in its non-conductive state. The integrated circuit chip additionally includes first driver circuitry for driving gates of the…

Systems and methods for controlling maximum power point tracking controllers

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9557758
A method for operating a maximum power point tracking (MPPT) controller including a switching circuit adapted to transfer power between an input port and an output port includes the steps of: (a) in a first operating mode of the MPPT controller, causing a first switching device of the switching circuit to operate at a fixed duty cycle; and (b) in a second operating mode of the MPPT controller, causing a control switching device of the switching circuit to repeatedly switch between its…

Integrated circuits including magnetic devices

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559679
An integrated circuit includes a semiconductor die including one or more switching circuits, a magnetic core having length and width, first and second metallic leads, and integrated circuit packaging material. The first metallic lead forms a first winding turn around a portion of the magnetic core, and the first metallic lead is electrically coupled to the semiconductor die. The second metallic lead forms a second winding turn around a portion of the magnetic core. The first and second…

Fault-rejecting mixer and applications

Granted: December 27, 2016
Patent Number: 9529372
Mixers are described which allow for information sharing in redundant systems, while providing sufficient isolation between redundant system components to enable fault-tolerant operation.

Power management applications of interconnect substrates

Granted: December 13, 2016
Patent Number: 9520342
Various applications of interconnect substrates in power management systems are described.

DC-to-DC converter controllers including over-current protection, and associated systems and methods

Granted: November 8, 2016
Patent Number: 9490629
A DC-to-DC converter includes a switching circuit, an energy storage inductor electrically coupled to the switching circuit, and a controller. The controller includes a control signal generator, a current sensing subsystem, an over-current detection subsystem, and filter logic. The control signal generator generates unfiltered control signals to control the switching circuit, and the current sensing subsystem senses current flowing through the energy storage inductor. The over-current…

Systems and methods for DC-to-DC converter control

Granted: August 2, 2016
Patent Number: 9407145
A regulated, power supply system is described using multiphase DC-DC converters with dynamic fast-turnon, slow-turnoff phase shedding, early phase turn-on, and both load-voltage and drive-transistor feedback to pulsewidth modulators to provide fast response to load transients. In an embodiment, a system master can automatically determine whether all, or only some, slave phase units are fully populated. The programmable system includes fault detection with current and voltage sensing,…

System and method for proportioned power distribution in power converter arrays

Granted: July 19, 2016
Patent Number: 9397502
A system and method for proportioned power distribution in arrays of power converters are disclosed. According to one embodiment, a method includes distributing a node-specific transfer function to each node of a plurality of nodes via a communication bus. Each node includes a power converter, and nodes of the plurality of nodes are electrically connected in series. Each node-specific transfer function enables each node to contribute a positive impedance to a total impedance of the…

Controlled delivery of a charging current to a boost capacitor of a voltage regulator

Granted: July 19, 2016
Patent Number: 9397571
Disclosed are devices, apparatus, circuitry, components, mechanisms, modules, units, systems, and processes for controlling a power switch of a voltage regulator. A capacitor is coupled to an output of the power switch. Charge delivery circuitry is coupled to the capacitor and configured to provide a charging current to the capacitor. Charge control circuitry can be coupled to the charge delivery circuitry and configured to selectively allow the providing of the charging current to the…

DC-to-DC converters capable of communicating information between a slave circuit and a master controller, and associated devices and methods

Granted: July 5, 2016
Patent Number: 9385608
A slave circuit for a DC-to-DC converter includes a switching circuit adapted to repeatedly switch a switching node between two different voltage levels, a slave control adapted to control switching of the switching circuit based at least in part on control signals from a master controller, a communication port, and a communication module. The communication module is adapted to (a) generate an analog slave communication signal at the communication port, where the analog slave…

Coupled inductor arrays and associated methods

Granted: June 21, 2016
Patent Number: 9373438
A coupled inductor array has length, width, and height. The coupled inductor array includes a monolithic magnetic core formed of a magnetic material having a distributed gap, and a plurality of windings embedded in the monolithic magnetic core. Each winding forms a respective winding loop of one or more turns around a respective winding axis, and each winding axis extends in the height direction. Areas of the monolithic magnetic core enclosed by the winding loops are greater than areas…