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NXP unveils power ICs with ultra-low standby draw

Electronics expert NXP Semiconductors has announced a new switched-mode power supply controller chip range which it claims has the world's lowest standby power draw - saving the world one PSU at a time.

The power ICs are billed as drop-in replacements for typical designs found in mobile phone chargers, laptop power supplies, printers, and miscelleneous home appliances - and the smallest draws less than 10mW of power on standby, making them the most energy efficient chips around, the company claims.

The GreenChip series is formed of the TEA1721, designed for mobile chargers, and the higher-power TEA173x, TEA1753, and TEA1703 for more demanding devices. Each is designed to draw a bare minimum of power in standby mode - helping to reduce the problem of so-called 'vampire power'.

"From smartphones to home appliances, the consumer electronics industry is hungry for performance devices that come with ultra-low standby power levels," claimed NXP's Stephane Curral. "With the release of our newest GreenChip power supply controllers, we are expanding NXP’s leadership in power adapters for notebooks to broader premium products that demand longer battery life and high-efficiency."

Based on the company's STARplug family, the new GreenChip series ICs include a flyback controller, integrated power factor correction hardware, and a teeny-tiny standby power draw of between 10mW and 100mW depending on model.

Pricing has been set at $0.98 for the TEA1753, $0.35 for the TEA1738, and $0.38 for the TEA1703, all based on 1,000-unit lots. The pricing for the flagship TEA1721 - the only chip in the range to hit that magic sub-10mW figure - is apparently only available 'on request.'

With IBM investing a fortune in technology designed to drop the operating voltages of computing devices by an order of magnitude through Project Steeper and the cost of electricity inexorably rising, low-power ICs such as NXP's GreenChip range could well prove to be a major growth area in the coming years.