Power Module Distributor - Your Best Power Module Supplier in China
RANTLE Power Module is complete DC/DC power solutions that reduce design time, lower cost and save board space. With a small form factor, high power efficiency and robust features such as digital control, current sharing and cascading up to six modules for high output power. These modules get you to market faster.
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RANTLE Power Module provide reliable power for FPGAs, ASICs, DSPs, and microprocessors. They leverage the advantage of a digitally-controlled power supply while eliminating the need to store operating parameters in non-volatile memory.
RANTLE Power Module has also complete PMBUS enabled DC/DC, dual-channel, step-down advance power supply, capable of delivering up to 30A per channel and optimize for high power density applications. operating across an input voltage range of 4.5V to 14V, the RANTLE Power Module offers adjustable output voltages down to 0.6V and achieves up to 95.5% conversion efficiencies.
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Reputed Power Module Supplier - Rantle East Electronic
RANTLE Power Module is a single-channel, synchronous step-down, non-isolated complete power supply, capable of delivering up to 15A of continuous current. Operating from a single 7V to 42V wide input power rail and integrating the controller and power inductor.
Power module requires only a few external components to operate and is optimized for space constrained applications.
RANTLE Power Module is available in a thermally-enhanced QFN package. Excellent efficiency and low thermal resistance permit power operation without heat sinks or fan. In addition, the QFN package with external leads permits easy probing and visual solder inspection.
At RANTLE, we strive to give you the best Power Module with a high-quality standard. We stock an extensive range of power module and also offer a free component sourcing service for our customers.
RANTLE offers swift delivery of your order with 30 days warranty. Hurry and avail now! If you are interested on our power module, feel free to contact with us today.
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Power Module: The Ultimate FAQ Guide
Today’s guide will answer all questions you have about power modules.
So, if you want to become an expert in power modules, or you intend to import power modules from China, the information you’re looking for is here.
Take a look:
- What is a Power Module?
- Where is a Power Module used?
- What are some Design Considerations for a Power Module?
- What are some of the Advantages of using a Power Module?
- What are some of the Limitations of the Power Module?
- What are Discrete Power Devices?
- What are the Differences between Discrete Power Devices and Power Modules?
- What is Contained in a Power Module?
- How is the Power Module Die Attached to the Package?
- What Material is Used for the Bonding Wires of a Power Module?
- What is Heavy Wire Bonding and Ribbon Bonding?
- What is the DBC Substrate?
- What is the Role of the Baseplate in a Power Module?
- How many Types of Power Modules are there?
- What is Thermal Management in Power Modules?
- How can you Cool a Power Module?
- What is Double-sided Cooling?
- How can a Power Module Fail?
- What is Thermal Stress in Power Modules?
- How can you Test a Power Module’s Reliability?
What is a Power Module?
A power electronic module is an agglomeration of interconnected semiconductor power devices that have been wired to harmoniously convert power.
A power module depends mostly on its internal components requiring very little external peripherals.
When self-regulating aspects are included in a power electronic module, it is referred to as an intelligent power module.
Control aspects could include sensor mechanisms and use of logic gate drivers.
The semiconductor components in a power module are closely packed, providing a compact design.
Also, the heat generated during the conversion process is dissipated via a heat sink or cold plate.
Mini power module
Where is a Power Module used?
You find power modules employed in high power applications where a specific function entails the use of multiple silicon-based components.
The use of a power module will dictate the types of semiconductor devices used.
Such uses include: as an inverter, as a converter, and as a rectifier.
What are some Design Considerations for a Power Module?
A power module is a configuration of different power semiconductor devices to achieve a defined power conversion objective.
This makes the design of a power module an affair requiring the observation of certain aspects to achieve the desired end.
Some things to consider while designing a power module are:
The intended use of the power module is important to inform on its.
Power modules are made to serve different purposes such as a rectifier, a converter and an inverter.
This means the internal infrastructure will be dissimilar.
· Semiconductor Components
The power module is a union of semiconductor devices.
The selection of these devices is related to its function.
You should determine whether you need multiple diodes or a single thyristor, for example.
The parameter ratings of the module are important to describe the performance limits of the module.
Ratings include current rating, power rating, operating temperature and maximum frequency.
These characteristic are useful to avoid causing the module stress.
· Electric and Thermal Design
Electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity are two major features of a power module.
Electrical conductivity is desired to power the module.
Thermal conductivity is useful in conducting away the dissipated heat energy.
What are some of the Advantages of using a Power Module?
You find a power module favoured in use due to the following reasons:
- Power modules are able to accommodate more than one component of power semiconductors.
- Due to the multiplication of devices, power modules feature high current and consequently, high power ratings.
- By configuring silicon-based power devices tightly together, the power module is made a compact device.
- The close-fitting of devices in the power module enables efficient management of heat loss and temperature changes.
- The closed design of the power module reduces the average resistance to change in the current flow of the module members.
- A power module can comfortably operate at high frequencies by switching operations.
- You find power modules are capable of filtering signals to allow the module to operate at quieter noise levels.
What are some of the Limitations of the Power Module?
As a combination of more than one semiconductor components, a power module exhibits a few limitations in its operation and otherwise.
You note that first of all, power modules are expensive when compared to discrete devices. Other drawbacks of the power module include:
- The increased power semiconductor devices count in the module results in an increase in power losses.
- As it is a consolidation of power semiconductors, some components will initiate dormancy resulting in lower efficiency levels.
- Sometimes you find a power module generating audible noise.
- Additionally, the design of the power module may fail to meet specific use for which it is intended.
What are Discrete Power Devices?
A discrete power device features a single active or passive semiconductor element in the circuit excluding the integrated circuit members.
Power diodes and transistors provide a suitable example of a discrete power device.
Discrete power devices are single-purpose devices used in applications such as voltage regulation and switching applications.
Besides, they have lower current demands and less power dissipation compared to power modules.
Discrete power module circuit
What are the Differences between Discrete Power Devices and Power Modules?
You find the following dissimilarities between discrete power devices and power modules.
- Power modules are an internal network of several power semiconductor devices. Discrete power devices usually compose a single semiconductor circuit element.
- Power modules can be used to carry out multiple functions based on their composition. Discrete power devices have a singleness of purpose/function.
- By virtue of their composition, power modules possess high power ratings. The power rating of discrete devices is lower than that of power modules.
- Power modules experience increased levels of heat dissipation than discrete power devices by virtue of the increased count of components.
- With discrete power devices, there is no need to electrically isolate the plate connected to the heat sink.
Power modules require electrical sequestration of components.
This is because the metal plate is a good electrical conductor that can interfere with individual characteristics of components.
What is Contained in a Power Module?
Power module internal components
The power module is an assembly of semiconductor power devices put together and linked electrically and mechanically.
Wires are used to provide the linkages.
Additionally, a metal plate is attached at the base of the module to help conduct away excess heat.
The basic element that describes the power module is the power semiconductor device.
With this, you find the power module is constructed in different ways depending on the desired semiconductor power devices that are desired.
Consider a half-bridge power module, for example.
Power modules are enclosed in non-conductive housing such as plastic or ceramic.
Contacts are provided for connecting to a current source and the load.
The ratings of the power module are determined by its semiconductor composition.
The half-bridge power module is typically composed of two transistors, a capacitor and an inductor; as its semiconductor power devices.
It is divided into two parts with a terminal pair each: the collector terminal and the emitter terminal.
The capacitor is suited for applications at high frequency.
It is closely packed with the module limiting induction interference between semiconductor components.
Such interference can cause noise generation and spikes when switching.
The inductor carries out voltage filters when a threshold frequency is reached while switching. This allows the module to be coupled with voltage sources and outputs.
A direct bonded copper substrate has a dual role to play in a power module.
- The substrate prevents the electrical connection between the semiconductor components and the baseplate.
- The substrate is useful in conducting away heat from the individual semiconductor devices to the plate for extraction.
Electrical wires and a copper plate are used to provide connections for conductivity.
The wires are used for the top terminal while the copper plate is used for the bottom.
The metal plate at the bottom of the module is used to provide structural integrity for the power module.
Additionally, it is used to conduct generated heat away via a sink.
How is the Power Module Die Attached to the Package?
You can use the following methods to attach the die to the module package:
Power module on PCB
· By using an Adhesive Bond
You can use adhesives to attach the die to the package.
Adhesives are easily available and require no special tools to apply.
Additionally, adhesives are temperature intolerant when applying.
More importantly, you can make your bond conductive or insulating by your choice of adhesive.
· By Soldering
Soldering usually involves the melting of a thin metal film called a solder, with a low melting point to provide a bond.
Solders and soldering equipment are easily available, allowing popular use.
You find solder bonds with good conductivity and strength.
· By using a Glass Bond
This kind of bond is formed by using semi-liquefied glass to unite the die and package boundary.
The glass is heated to a semi-liquid state over the boundary and allowed to cool.
When it cools, it forms a single joint attaching the die to the package.
You can improve on the bond’s electrical properties by mixing the glass with a conductive metal.
· By Using a Eutectic Bond
This kind of bond is formed at the die and package boundary by melting an alloy compound.
The alloy compound should have a lower melting point than that of the individual metals forming the alloy.
What Material is Used for the Bonding Wires of a Power Module?
You find that the terminals to the semiconductor components and the module are connected by wires.
The wires are conductive, allowing the flow of electric current.
You find aluminium, copper and gold as the main materials used in the making of these wires.
You find aluminium is commonly used since it is more affordable than the other metals.
Additionally, aluminium wires are able to conduct larger currents.
As such, you will find aluminium wiring in power modules with high power rating.
Copper has comparatively good conductive properties like aluminium.
It is an excellent conductor of electric current and is also easily available.
However, the cost of copper is a little higher than that of aluminium.
Gold is a costly substance, and that is enough to convince you of its limited use.
However, gold has low resistance than aluminium and copper and therefore a better conductor.
Additionally, the stability of gold allows its use in high-frequency applications.
What is Heavy Wire Bonding and Ribbon Bonding?
Heavy wire bonding and ribbon bonding are approaches to the design of wires used for conducting electrical currents in power modules.
You find that in heavy wire bonding, the wires are made thicker than the norm.
Increasing the cross-sectional area of the wire allows it to conduct large currents easily.
Additionally, the use of large diameter wires ensures limited space usage.
Ribbon bonding is an approach where, rather than use the traditional cylindrical wire shape; the wire is flattened.
This gives it a ribbon-like appearance.
With the reduced cross-sectional area, ribbon wires accommodate larger currents.
This is especially useful in high-frequency applications.
What is the DBC Substrate?
The direct bonded copper substrate is a conductor-insulator formation composed of copper and ceramic.
It is formed by layering copper on top of a ceramic or by sandwiching a ceramic layer with copper layers.
The DBC substrate is made to impressive thermal cycling capability to ensure it is reliable in its performance.
As such, its coefficient of thermal expansion is on the lower side.
Additionally, the ceramic compound used has to have good thermal conductivity.
Aluminium based ceramic compounds are used for the ceramic layer, especially aluminium oxide and nitride.
Aluminium oxide is common since it is cheaply available.
However, it has lower thermal conductivity than aluminium nitride, which is less affordable.
The copper layer secured to the ceramic layer provides a good path for electrical current.
Also, the ceramic layer, on the other hand, prevents the flow of current.
However, this configuration can allow heat to be conducted away from the copper layer through the ceramic layer.
Besides, the DBC substrate is connected to the power module by attaching the semiconductor terminals to the copper plate through soldering.
This forms the electric path for the lower half of the module.
The ceramic layer will prevent current leakage by virtue of its insulation property.
When conducting heat, the top copper layer transfers the heat to the ceramic layer, which conducts it to the bottom layer of copper.
The ceramic layer, in turn, transfers the heat to the bottom plate of copper.
Also, the copper plate at the bottom is attached to the base plate.
This way, the heat conducted from the top plate collects at the bottom plate and transferred to the base plate.
The base plate is connected to the heat sink, which absorbs the conducted heat.
What is the Role of the Baseplate in a Power Module?
Base plate in power module
The baseplate is a metal plate with good conductivity attached at the bottom of a power module. You find the baseplate of a power module important in two ways:
- The baseplate offers structural support to the power module, much like a foundation.
- The baseplate disseminates the heat collected from the DBC substrate to the heat sink.
To perform the heat dissemination function effectively, the following should be considered.
- The baseplate and the DBC substrate should have close coefficients of thermal expansion.
This allows the two plates to exhibit the same responses as the module generates heat and cools.
Having disparate coefficients is likely to result in a mechanical failure as a result of stress.
- The baseplate and substrate should form a flat uninterrupted surface boundary with no cavities.
Also, the cavities will trap some heat, causing uneven responses to thermal changes. This will negatively impact on the efficiency of thermal conductivity.
- The baseplate and heat sink are separate bodies.
Therefore, some level of resistance to thermal conductivity is bound to occur at the boundary.
The resistance effect is assuaged by the application of thermal grease in between.
The thermal grease layer should be made as thin as possible due to its poor conductivity.
This ensures it is enough to overcome the resistance but not a lot to dissuade thermal conductivity.
Additionally, the grease covers cavities that could arise due to uneven surfaces preventing the creation of air pockets.
Pockets of air will result in reduced efficiency in heat absorption from the baseplate to the heat sink.
How many Types of Power Modules are there?
You will find a wide variety of power modules.
Power modules are built of different semiconductor devices and to perform different functions.
Two established ways to identify power modules include the intended function and the semiconductor device used.
There are a number of power modules based on their function.
These modules integrate multiple semiconductor devices that could either be similar or different.
Rectifier power module circuit
The rectifier as a power module could be of two types: either a diode rectifier or a thyristor rectifier.
Also, the rectifier is composed of at least four semiconductor devices.
Note that a diode rectifier will compose only diodes and a thyristor rectifier, only thyristors.
The semiconductor devices are configured in a bridge circuit and used in the conversion of the alternating current signal to direct current.
· Half-bridge/Full-bridge Power Module
There are two types of power transistors used as the semiconductor devices for this power module.
The two are the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors and the insulated-gate bipolar transistors.
The IGBT based module possesses better parameter ratings related to current and voltage. Such power modules find the best use in applications with a high power rating.
MOSFET based modules have greater density and switching abilities at high frequencies.
The half-bridge module can function as a direct current only converter while the full-bridge finds use as a multi-signal converter.
· Converter-inverter-brake power Module
As the name suggests, this power module is composed of a converter, inverter and brake.
The converter is a bridge rectifier that could convert either source of AC power supply.
This power module can function as a motor drive with adjustable speed levels.
· Neutral-point Clamped Power Module
This power module can work at a voltage rating greater than that of individual components. With a double pairing of successive switches for every leg, this module exhibits limited occurrence of ripples by output current.
Different semiconductor devices are employed in power modules.
Some of the components include diodes, thyristors and MOSFETS.
When identifying power modules based on the semiconductor device used, the following identifications are established.
· Power MOSFET
The power MOSFET is voltage-controlled and popular for its impressive switching ability and reduced power loss.
Metal-oxide-semiconductors field-effect transistors are layered semiconductor devices of P and N types. It is unipolar with the majority charge carrier doing the useful work.
· Power IGBT
This module’s semiconductor device is the insulated-gate bipolar transistor.
The power IGBT can conduct large currents allowing its use in power applications, including power supplies.
The power IGBT is also admired for its low potential difference, simple design and blocking of biased voltage.
It, however, possesses a limited switching ability compared to the power MOSFET.
· Power Diode
This power module device is composed of the semiconductor diode.
The P-N junction diode is commonly used but with a large depletion layer to stave breakdown. This diode can work in forwarding bias as a source of voltage.
The Schottky diode is also used in this module, lending the module its great switching performance.
The power diode finds use in rectifying applications and as signal converters.
· Power Thyristor
The thyristor is a multi-layer semiconductor with four layers of P-type and N-type material.
This allows it three junctions while conducting current flow in only one direction.
The thyristor can only turn on upon receipt of a gate signal.
Besides, the power thyristor is capable of working at a high power rating.
What is Thermal Management in Power Modules?
Thermal management refers to the way temperature conditions are handled in the working of a power module.
The main temperature conditions described include operating temperature and thermal cycling.
The operating temperature can be influenced by both externally and internally.
As a concern, the manufacturers provide the temperature within which a power module can be operated efficiently.
This provides a maximum and minimum temperature value.
When temperature values exceed the stated limits, the power module could fail functionally.
External temperature can be regulated by using the power module in a controlled environment.
Air conditioning is a suitable way to control external working temperatures.
When the power module is operational, the semiconductor devices generate heat as a result of conduction and loss build-up.
This is exacerbated by the close packing of the components.
Thermal management seeks to describe how the heat could be effectively propagated away from the module.
The internally propagated thermal changes are mitigated by using a heat sink. The heat sink is connected to the baseplate, which absorbs heat from the DBC substrate.
Thermal cycling, on the other hand, seeks to identify the impact of the irregular heating and cooling process the module undergoes.
There are instances when the module heats up and when it cools.
The current demands of operation determine the module’s thermal cycle.
To combat thermal cycling, the semiconductors’ material should be of a similar or close coefficient of thermal expansion.
This way, when the module heats up and cools down, all the components are in sync.
Components with different coefficients of expansion will result in warped heating and cooling. This is an undesirable occurrence as it could result in the failure of the module due to mechanical stress.
Power management in solar module
How can you Cool a Power Module?
When a power module is in operation, the semiconductor devices dissipate heat.
The heat is as a result of electron flow movement and losses resulting from switching.
One effective way of managing temperature changes is through cooling the module.
The following cooling methods can be used in managing temperature changes in a power module.
· Air Cooling
This method of cooling will work just fine for operations that consume low power and as a result, dissipate less heat.
It is less expensive as it does not require the installation of extra equipment.
By exposing the heat sink to air, it disseminates the heat via convectional currents.
The heat is thereby transferred from the sink into the air. Hot air is less dense, and it rises.
This causes it to be replaced by cool air which absorbs more heat and rises to perpetuate a cycle.
Sometimes the amount of heat produced is large but still capable of being conducted away by air.
In this case, you employ an electric fan. Using an electric fan accelerates the convection process by increasing the rate of an airflow across the heat sink surface.
· Liquid Cooling
When the dissipated power exceeds about two hundred watts per square inch, air cooling proves insufficient.
This necessitates a slightly costly cooling method with a higher absorption rate of heat. Liquid cooling is such a method.
Liquid cooling involves the use of liquid coolant in conducting heat away from a power module.
Coldwater makes a suitable coolant for use in liquid cooling.
In this case, a water-filled plate with input and outlet is attached to the module’s baseplate.
Water is channelled into the plate at a flow rate designed to allow maximum absorption of heat.
When enough heat for the volume of water has been absorbed, it is channelled out to a cooling chamber.
In the cooling chamber, heat is radiated away from the hot water and cooled.
It is then redirected back to the plate to complete a cycle that begins all over again.
By recycling the water, savings are made with regard to water usage.
The liquid cooling method is prone to occurrences, such as leakage and evaporation, which negatively impact the water volume.
This reduces the system’s effectiveness in absorbing large amounts of heat.
As such, water levels have to be regularly monitored.
Additionally, the cooling chamber for the hot water may fail to dissipate away all the heat.
This will result in the water re-entering the plate to be slightly warm already.
Thus, the amount of thermal energy conducted away will decline every new cycle unless intervened.
What is Double-sided Cooling?
Double sided cooling in power module
Double-sided cooling is a technique where the cooling interventions are carried out on module sides attached to the dies.
There are two sides hence the name, double-sided cooling.
This method doubles the amount of thermal energy disseminated.
Besides, this technique is only available for power modules where wire-bonds are not used. Wire bonds have limited conductivity ability.
Wire bonds can only offer electrical energy conductivity.
Alternately, the DBC substrate offers conductivity for both electric energy and thermal energy.
To carry out double-sided cooling, the following considerations have to be taken:
- The power module design should allow the use of this technique.
- Using the baseplate only should not be sufficient for the amount of heat that is dissipated.
- By using both sides connected to the die, electrical conductivity should not be interfered with.
- The efficiency needed for the cooling procedure should be high enough to warrant this method.
Double-sided cooling can be carried out in two ways, depending on how the module package is fabricated.
· Cooling through the DBC Substrate Structure
The double bonded copper substrate with two copper plates sandwiching the ceramic layer is used in this instance.
Typically, you find the bottom plate connected to the baseplate to conduct away thermal energy.
In this case, both plates are used for thermal conductivity.
Micro-channels are attached to the substrate at low temperatures to allow the use of both plates in the cooling strategy.
Since the top plate in the substrate structure is also used for electrical conductivity, increased thermal resistance is observed.
· Cooling through a Press-pack
A press-pack is a housing design for power modules that provides a two-sided channel for heat dissemination. This design can allow evaporators, for example, to be fitted to the sides of the power module attached to the dies.
How can a Power Module Fail?
Failure of a power module comes down to the reliability of the module.
While many tests have been carried out to appraise the power module technology, you find instances of failure are still expected.
The power module can fail in these ways.
- Power modules can succumb to mechanical stress as a result of different expansion rates between contiguous bodies.
- The connecting wires can also detach from the semiconductor ends leading to module failure. This can happen as a result of solder separation at the boundary due to stress caused by non-rhythmic expansion.
- Other connective parts involving solders can also separate, leading to incomplete connections.
- When adjoining surfaces such as the substrate and base plate are uneven, there is bound to be non-uniform expansion. You find this is a major cause of mechanical strain that can lead to module failure.
What is Thermal Stress in Power Modules?
Thermal stress in power modules is the effect temperature changes have on adjacent components when a power module is in operation.
Thermal stress is a product of their dissimilarity of the coefficient of thermal expansion.
Thermal stress causes an occurrence of fractures which eventually lead to cracking if uninhibited.
Power modules exhibit two types of such stress.
· Power Cycling
When a module is in operation, it dissipates a certain amount of power.
When the module is operated in different conditions, you find the amount of power dissipated differs.
If this is kept up, the power module undergoes instances of fluctuating dissipation levels resulting in stress.
· Thermal Cycling
Thermal cycling is perpetuated by the module’s external temperature conditions.
Power modules have a working temperature within which to effectively operate.
When the temperature is not kept at a uniform constant margin, it results in thermal stress.
How can you Test a Power Module’s Reliability?
A power module’s reliability is of significance to both the manufacturer and the user.
You find a module’s reliability determines its effectiveness in performing a described function.
Thermal stress is a major cause of unreliability in a power module.
It follows that aspects relating to thermal stress need to be measured to evaluate reliability.
Therefore, measuring the modules power and thermal cycles will be sufficient to inform on its reliability levels.
i. Test for Power Cycling
This test seeks to examine the response of the power module in terms of dissipated power while operating at different temperatures.
It measures how much power is lost in the operation of a module when you provide variations in the external temperature.
Besides, it examines how long the module can keep operating under these conditions.
ii. Test for Thermal Cycling
Under a controlled environment, the power module is subjected to different temperatures for a defined time period.
This test is intended to determine how long the solder connections can tolerate the changes.
Additionally, it seeks to establish if the module can withstand temperature adjustments.
With the information in this guide, am sure you can choose the best power modules for your applications.