Ultra-low-Iq DC/DC regulator for powering connected smart devices

October 13, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Buck/boost DC-DC regulator targets portable designs with low quiescent current
The ISL9122A DC-DC regulator from Renesas adds a Bypass Mode for flexibility in wireless and smart IoT devices.

Renesas Electronics has launched a flexible DC-DC buck-boost switching regulator with a bypass mode that provides a low quiescent current (I Q) of 1.3µA for powering sensors, microcontrollers (MCUs), wireless devices, and other system components.

Operating with battery output from 1.8V to 5.5V and maximum output current up to 500mA (Vout = 3.3V, Vin = 3.6V), the ISL9122A extends the battery life of smart IoT devices powered by coin-cell, lithium and multiple series alkaline batteries. Target applications include wireless earbuds, fitness bands, smart watches, water and gas meters, portable medical devices, and a wide range of battery-operated smart IoT devices.

The ISL9122A DC-DC buck-boost switching regulator implements dynamic voltage scaling (DVS) in programmable 25mV steps via I 2C to optimize the system power consumption. The regulator’s power boost up to 5.375V maximizes RF capabilities of IoT devices across their battery range. Its PFM and PWM functionality maximizes efficiency over the whole output current range. In forced PWM mode, the regulator always switches at 2.5MHz frequency, which improves EMI performance of the system.

“With the explosive growth of IoT wireless connectivity applications, the ISL9122A buck-boost regulator’s fast transitions from no load to full load is ideal for powering the newest generation of devices,” said Andrew Cowell, Vice President, Mobility, Infrastructure and IoT Power Business Division at Renesas. “Our customers praise the ISL9122A’s flexibility, dynamic voltage scaling and lowest regulated standby power consumption.”

The ISL9122A buck-boost regulator joins the recently released ISL9123 buck regulator. Both ultra-low IQ switching regulators can power the Renesas RL78 Family of 8/16-bit ultra-low energy MCUs, RA Family of 32-bit MCUs with Arm Cortex-M core, and the RE Family of embedded controllers for wearables and energy harvesting applications.

The regulator allows a quiescent current under 1.3µA and a shutdown mode current of 7 nA to extend battery life. High efficiency at light load (84% @ 10 µA) and 97% peak efficiency to reduce power drain and heat buildup while the automatic and selectable forced bypass power saving mode reduces the


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