Infineon Technologies Launches Automotive Lighting Switch Family for LED Lights and Traditional Bulbs; Intelligent Circuit Protection and Diagnostics Integrated With 5-Channel High-Side Switches

Oct 17, 2006 | Market News

Detroit, Michigan and Munich, Germany – October 17, 2006 – Infineon Technologies AG (FSE/NYSE: IFX) today introduced a new family of five-channel high-side smart power switches for control of both standard bulbs and LEDs in interior and exterior automotive light systems, providing manufacturers with a flexible solution to address the trend of LED replacement for traditional bulbs.  The BTS 55XX SPOC (SPI Power Controller) series integrates N-channel MOSFETs and charge pump elements with control logic and circuit protection features in a monolithic SiP (System-In-Package) design.  The integration of these functions into a JEDEC-standard P-DSO-36 package reduces the parts count and lowers the cost and size of lighting system Electronic Control Unit (ECU) designs, while supporting improved diagnostics.
“Infineon is focused on providing its customers with IC and smart power components to support innovation in automotive body, safety and powertrain systems,” said Christopher Cook, General Manager of the Automotive, Industrial and Multimarket (AIM) Business Group, Infineon Technologies North America Corp .  “With the SPOC family, our expertise in chip design and smart integration of digital and power components enables smarter, more sophisticated lighting control while reducing the part count and total system cost of ECUs based on discrete solutions.”
SPI Supports Improved Diagnostics and Simpler Design
Each SPOC component provides an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) for control and diagnosis, and also has traditional parallel input pins for straightforward PWM operation.  Additionally, the BTS 55XX devices include current sense signals for each channel, with internal multiplexing to save on microcontroller I/O pins, and also have self-adjusting current limits to limit power dissipation during a short circuit.
With SPOC, it is possible to distinguish between an open load and other faults (e.g., over-temperature, overload) while in the ON state.  Diagnostics are based on latching fault flags for each channel that are read over the SPI, compared to a typical status pin on a discrete smart power driver.  A latched fault signal does not require software timing coordination to be read, which is especially helpful in PWM applications.
Regardless of the number of SPOC devices used, all diagnostics can be handled through a single microcontroller A/D pin and the SPI lines, which can be shared with other SPI-based devices (e.g., system basis chips for in-vehicle networking).  This requires fewer microcontroller I/O ports to interface with the smart power drivers and simplifies both hardware and software engineering complexity, while reducing the effort required for PCB layout.  These advantages are further enhanced when using multiple SPOC devices in ECU designs.
Configurable for LEDs and Traditional Bulbs
For vehicle lighting applications, OEMs are moving away from bulbs toward LEDs, which are smaller, lighter and easier to integrate and manufacture in the vehicle. Since LEDs are also more efficient and reliable compared to traditional bulbs, this improves the power management scenario for the designers, and virtually eliminates the chance that a vehicle’s owner will be without light over the vehicle lifespan.  The Infineon SPOC family provides a common platform for design of high-integration ECUs with the flexibility to support multiple bulb and LED configurations.
The SPOC devices (except the BTS 5566GX) can be configured to either bulb or LED mode, allowing use of the same hardware to drive both load types.  Mode selection changes the on-state resistance (R DS/on), current limit, switching slew rate and current sense ratio so that either load type is handled optimally in terms of switching, protection and diagnosis accuracy.  This allows a common ECU to be shared between multiple vehicle types and trim levels, where the load type varies between bulbs and LEDs.
Fail-Safe Functionality
The BTS 5590GX provides a fail-safe function with an integrated watchdog circuit.  This watchdog is served by a sophisticated state machine over the SPI to provide secure “limp-home” functionality.  In the event of ECU failure or short-circuit, the watchdog is activated, and the SPOC device can be configured such that each channel will default to a known operating state.  Every SPOC device has a dedicated input pin to receive a limp-home signal from the BTS 5590GX (or any other device with a watchdog).  This is especially important in safety-critical applications, such as external vehicle lighting. If a failure occurs at night, for example, the system can be configured for “limp-home” mode that activates all side-markers, turn indicators and tail lamps, making the vehicle visible and enhancing the safety of the driver and passengers. 
Availability, Evaluation Pricing
The first device in the SPOC family, the BTS 5590GX, is now available for design programs, along with a complete evaluation kit, and will be found in production vehicles beginning in 2007.  The BTS 5590GX is priced at US $4.35 for engineering sample quantities.  The next devices in the family, the BTS 5566GX and BTS 5576GX, will begin sampling in early 2007.  All of the SPOC devices will be available in lead-free “green” RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances)-qualified packages.
According to the market research company Strategy Analytics, Infineon is the #1 provider of automotive power products in the automotive semiconductor industry, holding a market share of 22.5 percent in the year 2005.
Infineon is showing the SPOC family in booth #1124 at the Convergence 2006 trade show, October 16-18 in Detroit, Mich.  For more information on the BTS 55XX SPOC family, go to

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for automotive, industrial and multimarket sectors, for applications in communication, as well as memory products through its subsidiary Qimonda.  With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo.  In fiscal year 2005 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 6.76 billion with about 36,400 employees worldwide.  Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). 
Further information is available at . Further information on Qimonda is available at .

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