M3 Technology Receives EE Award for Simplifying Supercapacitor Design Presented by EETimes Asia

Taipei, December 16, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — M3 Technology Inc. was established in 2010. Focus on the design, testing and production of power semiconductors, mainly focusing on power management ICs (PMICs). Its products are widely used in ICT, consumer electronics equipment and other fast-growing high-end PMIC applications.

This year, the company proudly announced two milestones: being listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange and receiving the Most Promising Product honor at the E&E Asia Awards 2022 for its MT2600 supercapacitor power manager for backup power applications.

In its second year, EE Awards Asia celebrates innovation, creativity and contribution Asian Over the past year, the engineering community has transformed the way we work, live and communicate.

Supercapacitors stand out

according to over the sunDirector of R&D at M3 Technology, the MT2600 is basically a supercapacitor charge and discharge management IC that provides system-level protection.

“As we have seen, after decades of development, supercapacitors have finally reached a performance level that is competitive with lithium-ion batteries in terms of power density, energy density, reliability, and cost,” Yang said. “We saw the opportunity, so we developed this product, which can be used in many applications, including cars and mobile devices. Now, many mobile devices are using supercapacitors as their energy storage devices.”

Yang added that supercapacitors are becoming a major player in energy storage applications. “It has a lot of advantages over batteries: it lasts longer, it can be recharged half a million times without any loss of performance, and it can withstand a wider temperature range,” he said. “And it’s a safer, more reliable energy storage system.”

He noted that more and more manufacturers are using supercapacitors because of these properties. The challenge is that there are not enough power management devices for these devices. “When you look at some users of supercapacitors, they have to use discrete components like resistors and diodes to either charge or balance the capacitor, or discharge the capacitor,” Yang said. In the end, this will cost more and take up a lot of space.

“The other thing is that these solutions usually have a lot of self-discharge. Basically, you’re trying to store energy in a supercapacitor for later use, but after you add all these protection circuits and other extra features, the circuits start to drain. Even though supercapacitors already — the energy you store is already used by those components. That’s another issue,” Yang explained.

Besides that, system protection is another issue. “When you see how customers use supercapacitors, they think of a lot of considerations. Typically, for example, they use USB to charge these supercapacitors. When you use USB, plug it in, there are a lot of transient voltages and transient currents — so you need to have a lot of other components to protect the supercapacitor from damage. These things are extra — you have to add these things to make the system safe,” Yang said.

M3 Technology’s MT2600 solves these problems. “The first thing we’re trying to solve is the management of the supercapacitor — we want it to be very, very energy efficient. We don’t want our IC to waste any energy,” Yang said. “The other thing is that we try to integrate the protection into our IC. Basically, the MT2600 is a single chip solution – it provides all the input overcurrent/overvoltage and output overcurrent protection while managing the charging of the supercapacitor .”

“We went to great lengths to make supercapacitors easy for system engineers to use,” commented David Meng, President and CEO of M3 Technology. “Previously, they needed to build a large external circuit to use supercapacitors. With the MT2600, everything became simple—just connect the MT2600 with two supercapacitors in series or in parallel, and we got the whole system working. Basically , we’ve done all the hard work in the MT2600 to make supercapacitors very easy for designers to use.”

In terms of applications, supercapacitors are increasingly used in automotive applications and IoT devices.

“In summer, the temperature inside the car can be very, very high. There are safety issues with lithium-ion batteries — it can’t work in such high temperatures. That’s a major problem with rechargeable batteries,” Yang said. “Another application is IoT devices, which require very low maintenance. They don’t want to replace the batteries. They want to leave them for 10 years or more. In that case, batteries are not a good solution, especially When you have an energy harvester — you can charge and discharge the device. So, in those places, we can see supercapacitors starting to be utilized. And again, for a lot of portable devices, like a stylus — users want Fast charging. These things start with supercapacitors. So I think the IoT and automotive market is one of the main drivers for supercapacitors going forward.”

Video recording systems such as dash cams are also a major driver of supercapacitor adoption, Meng noted.

“As prices become more affordable, we can see a lot of people using supercapacitors in video systems. Before, they were using lithium batteries; but because of safety concerns, especially in the hot summer, now they have switched to supercapacitors. Capacitors,” Meng said. “Now, with our MT2600, designers will find it easy to use supercapacitors. We hope to see more dash cams that use supercapacitors.”

Why MT2600 is Unique

According to Yang, there are already supercapacitor management ICs on the market.

“But I think what’s unique about the MT2600 is that it integrates more system functions,” he said. ” MT2600 is not only a supercapacitor charging and discharging device, it also has input system-level protection, OVP/OCP, reverse blocking, various situations. All these functions are placed in this chip.

Other existing supercapacitor chargers require a large number of external components and circuits to create a complete solution, he said. “The MT2600 is a single chip solution – you just need a few passive components and a super capacitor, and you have a power system to provide backup energy capability to your system, and it’s complete with all protections. This device is really The most integrated solution for this kind of system,” Yang said.

The M3 Technology team behind the development of the MT2600

Another benefit of using the MT2600 is that it draws less than 2µA from the supercapacitor, Meng added. “So the energy provided to the system is not drained by this chip. That’s the benefit of this linear charging and discharging architecture of supercapacitors,” he said. “Other companies use switching chargers, which charge and discharge supercapacitors. That itself draws a few milliamps, so that’s already a factor of 1,000.”

win an EE award

According to Yang, their award for the MT2600 is a testament to their efforts to truly understand customer needs and create solutions that meet those needs.

“It’s a great place to start,” Meng said. “Hope this can give us more positive feedback, so that we can develop more unique and advanced products. Maybe next year, the year after, we can get another award or two. That, I am looking forward to! This award for It gave us confidence that even if we started small, we could still architecturally win and beat other companies.”

Source EETimes Asia

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