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LDOs are linear regulators and therefore their efficiency is lower than switching regulators.
To get the most out of your LDO application
the LDO power dissipation needs to be carefully considered
So let’s examine LDO power dissipation in more detail.
When choosing an LDO
the maximum LDO input voltage range and LDO current capability are important factors to consider.
But, larger current or larger voltage drop across the LDO
quickly leads to higher device power dissipation
This plot shows the relation between LDO power dissipation, LDO voltage drop and LDO current
When power dissipation increases,
The LDO package needs to be able to handle this power dissipation.
The power dissipation in the LDO is determined by the voltage drop across the LDO
multiplied by the current passing through the LDO.
This power is dissipated in the LDO pass element, which heats the silicon die.
But how much power can you actually dissipate in the LDO?
This depends on the IC package, the PCB layout and the ambient temperature.
Let’s have a look at some examples.
Here is a drawing of the small SOT23 package in a normal layout.
When you look inside the package you can see that the center pin is connected to the die mounting lead frame.
The silicon die is mounted underneath on this center pin lead frame.
When the silicon die is becoming hot
this heat will be transferred to several parts of the package:
Some heat goes through the plastic directly to the ambient.
Some heat goes through the pins to the PCB copper and then to the ambient.
Due to the thin bonding wires
he outer pins do not have a good thermal connection with the silicon die,
and their heat transfer to the PCB is limited
The center ground pin has a good thermal connection to the silicon die
so more heat is transferred via this pin
To improve the cooling capabilities of this package
it is important to add some extra copper to the pins
especially to the center ground pin
With improved layout, more power can be dissipated without overheating the silicon die
Here is a different IC package: the popular SOP-8 package with exposed pad.
In this package, the silicon die is mounted on a separate copper pad
which has an exposed surface at the bottom of the package
In the PCB layout
this exposed pad should always be connected to a copper area underneath the IC
When the die gets hot
some heat will flow through the plastic package and some heat will flow through the pins.
However, the majority of heat will flow through the exposed pad,
provided there is enough PCB copper connected to it
It is therefore important to connect sufficient copper to the exposed pad,
to allow more heat flow via this route
When you use a multi-layer PCB,
you can add several vias under the exposed pad which can connect to the PCB inner layers
These will act as effective heat sinks
and allows you to dissipate more power in this package.
So how much power can you dissipate in each package?
You can calculate the allowed power dissipation by dividing the allowed temperature difference
between junction and ambient by the thermal resistance between junction and ambient.
The thermal resistance value - theta junction amaient is shown in the datasheet,
but keep in mind that this value is based on the JEDEC method
which can be a bit conservative
Here are some practical power dissipation limits for various package types
based on a normal PCB layout
with some extra copper connected to the package pins and thermal pad
a maximum PCB ambient temperature of 60℃
and a maximum silicon die temperature of 125 ℃
If your ambient temperature is lower
the power dissipation can be higher.
If your PCB is small, or there are other hot components nearby
the maximum power dissipation may be less
I hope you now have a better understanding
about power dissipation and thermal condistions to LDOs
For more information on Richtek LDOs,
Please click the link at the left side,
or visit Richtek websit at:


電子產品介紹 LDO (LDO Power Dissipation)

675 分類 收藏
jmkuoa 發佈於 2016 年 11 月 19 日
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