Last Updated on October 5, 2022 by Kevin Chen
Image Source: Unsplash
When a lightning bolt strikes or a utility pole comes crashing down in a strong wind, voltage surges can wreak havoc on power-sensitive electronics like computers, lights, and sensitive appliances. These momentary spikes or fluctuations in voltage can lead to irreparable damage and shorten the lifespan of these devices. Surge suppression is an important safeguard that is used widely to protect electrical equipment from the damaging effects of voltage surges. A surge suppression circuit may be as simple as a single transistor or as complicated as an integrated circuit (IC). In this blog post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about surge suppression ICs and how they help protect your sensitive electronics.
What is a surge suppression IC?
Probably you know what an integrated circuit is. This is the most common type of IC found in your electronic devices. The term “integrated circuit” is also used to refer to a set of electronic components that are integrated into a single unit for ease of production and assembly. Integrating several components into one unit saves time and money by reducing the number of steps in the manufacturing process.
A surge suppression IC is an IC that is designed to protect sensitive electronics such as computers, lights, or appliances from voltage surges. It is an active device that monitors incoming voltage and responds by shutting down or limiting the current flow through it. These devices are also used to protect sensitive equipment like industrial sensors and medical instruments from damage during power outages caused by storms, earthquakes or other natural disasters.
How does a surge suppression IC work?
A surge suppression IC monitors voltage levels at various points on its circuit board.
The key difference between a surge suppressor and an ordinary circuit breaker is that a surge suppressor can respond faster than an ordinary circuit breaker can turn off the power from incoming voltage spikes before damage occurs.
This additional response time allows more time for equipment to recover from surges before permanent damage occurs.
This helps maintain service during outages when equipment may be damaged by overloading with additional current flow.
So, what are the functions of surge suppression IC?
Like in other circuits and devices, surge protection devices have a specialized IC that makes them perform all the critical tasks related to surge protection.
Here are the key tasks of the surge suppression ICs:
Detection of voltage surge
The ICs in a surge protection device monitor the voltage of the power supply. When they detect a sudden increase or decrease in the supply voltage, they activate the protection system.
Protection against overvoltage
The ICs provide overvoltage protection by diverting excess current away from sensitive components and to ground. This is done by comparing the input voltage to a set threshold. If the input exceeds this threshold, then the device acts as an open circuit and prevents damage to connected equipment.
Protection against undervoltage
Undervoltage protection is necessary to prevent under-voltage transients from reaching connected equipment during a brownout or when there is a momentary disconnection from utility power. This type of transient occurs when there is an abrupt change in load current, which causes a drop in line voltage that lasts for only one cycle or less.
Control of overcurrent
Surge suppression ICs provide overcurrent protection by comparing the input current to a set threshold value.
If the input current exceeds this threshold, then the device acts as an open circuit and prevents damage to connected equipment.
Filter out EM noise
The ICs provide electromagnetic noise suppression by using a bypass capacitor to isolate the input from the output. This effectively prevents the EM noise from reaching connected equipment.
Protection against reverse polarity
The ICs protect against reverse polarity by using an arrangement of diodes and resistors to prevent current flow in this condition.
The IC has various components that can tell the polarity of the circuit and trigger the necessary measure to minimize the reverse effect from occurring.
Ground fault protection
The ICs provide ground fault protection by comparing the input current to a set threshold value. If the input current exceeds this threshold, then the device acts as an open circuit and prevents damage to connected equipment.
Thermal overload protection
Overload protection is necessary to prevent damage to ICs due to thermal runaway conditions caused by the excessive heat dissipation in the package. This type of transient occurs when there is an abrupt change in load current, which causes a significant increase in line voltage that lasts for only one cycle or less.
Where are surge suppression ICs found?
Surge suppression circuits can be found in a variety of different appliances and equipment. Some of the most common places to find surge suppression ICs are in:
– Computers – You’ll find surge suppression circuits in desktop computers and servers that use a power supply unit (PSU). They are also found in power line communication (PLC) devices and network interface cards (NICs).
– Networking equipment – Surge suppression circuits are used in network equipment like hubs, switches, and routers.
– Medical equipment – Surge suppression circuits are found in medical devices like incubators, ventilators, and electrocardiograph machines. – Lighting
– Surge suppression circuits are used in lighting fixtures and power supplies to protect against voltage surges from the power grid.
Is there a product that you are building and wondering whether it will need a surge suppression IC? Let us know and we will advise you accordingly.
How is surge suppression IC incorporated into a device?
Let’s say you have a device and a surge suppression IC. How do you bring them together?
Or, how do you embed the IC into the device?
Incorporation of surge suppression IC depends on the device. Surge suppression IC may be brought together with the device in various ways, such as:
– As a part of a power supply
– As a part of a printed circuit board (PCB)
– As a stand-alone module (internal or external)
The method used to incorporate surge suppression IC and the device in your final product depends on many factors.
It’s important to consider all these factors during development to ensure you get the correct design.
For example, if you are building an embedded system and want to use a PCB for surge suppression, what material should be used for the PCB? Should it be single layer or multi-layer? What thickness should it be? What size should it be? How thick should the ground plane be? How large should the ground plane pads be on the PCB?
The answers to these questions will determine how much space is needed for surge suppression components like capacitors, inductors, and clamping diodes.
Depending on how much space is available, you can choose from different types of ICs with different sizes. Let us know if you need help choosing an appropriate IC for your application.
Types of surge suppression ICs
Integrated circuits for surge suppression are divided into three major categories depending on the devices being used.
The first class of the ICs are for the protection devices that are installed at the origin, which is technically the main distribution point. These ICs are used to protect the power supply, which is a high current load device. There are many different types of ICs for this purpose with each type designed for a specific load. For example, there are ICs designed for the protection of motors and inverters and also ones that are designed to protect sensitive loads like computers and televisions.
The second class of ICs are designed for the Type 2 SPD (Surge Suppression Devices). Basically, these are the devices that are installed at the sub-distribution boards. These ICs are for the protection of the feeder cables and the distribution boards of the panels. These ICs are made to act as a connection between two or more devices. Some of these are designed to protect a single load while others protect multiple loads.
The third class is what is known as a Type 3 SPD (Surge Suppression Device). These devices are used to protect individual loads and are installed at the end of a feeder cable or sub-panel. They are connected directly to an appliance, which makes them more efficient than other devices. These devices usually have multiple connections and can be used in parallel with other Type 3 SPDs.
Advantages of using surge suppression ICs
– Simple – Surge suppression circuits are a simple way to protect sensitive electronics from voltage surges.
– Low cost – They are a low-cost alternative to installing an on-site surge protection device like a line conditioner.
– Easy to install – They are very easy to install and don’t require any special tools.
– Durable – Surge suppression circuits are durable and have a long lifespan. They can last up to 50 years, but you should replace them every 10 years.
– Wide variety – There are a variety of surge suppression circuits that are designed to protect a wide range of different circuits and are effective at handling a wide range of voltage surges.
Limitations of using surge suppression ICs
– Limited protection – Surge suppression integrated circuits are designed to protect low-voltage circuits, but they are limited in the amount of protection that they can provide.
– May cause an increase in the voltage drop – Surge suppression devices can cause an increase in the voltage drop across the device, especially when they are in use. This may cause other equipment to shut down due to low voltage.
However, with the right surge suppression IC from a reputable distributor, you will be able to overcome some of these limitations.
You should also buy the right IC that is fully compatible with the specifications of your product.
Technical specifications of surge suppression ICs
Image source Digikey
– Current rating – The current rating is the amount of current that the device is capable of handling before it malfunctions. It is expressed in amperes (A).
– Voltage rating – The voltage rating is the voltage that the surge suppression device can withstand. It is expressed in volts (V).
– Energy rating – The energy rating is the amount of energy that the surge suppression integrated circuit can absorb before it malfunctions. It is expressed in joules (J).
– Response time – The response time is the amount of time it takes for the surge suppression device to react to a sudden change in current. It is expressed in microseconds (μs).
– Current rating: You should check the current rating of the IC. This refers to the amount of current that the device can withstand. This is important because it will help you to determine the amount of power that your product requires.
-Temperature range: The temperature range is a rating that indicates the range of temperatures that your surge suppression device can handle. This is important because it will help you to determine the amount of power that your product requires.
How to select the best surge suppression IC distributor?
Now that you have all the technical details at your finger tips, now it is time to purchase the IC. Where can I buy the right surge suppression IC for my device?
Like most electronic components, ensure that you buy from the right surge suppression IC distributor in China.
This way you can be sure of the quality of the IC.
Check the website of the surge suppression IC distributor. The website should have a lot of information about the IC and how it will work for your product.
If you are looking for a surge suppression IC that can handle a specific amount of power, look for one that has been tested and rated for this power requirement.
The distributor should reveal all the details of the IC. You should also read the reviews of the distributor so that you can tell whether they are trustworthy.
I hope now you are ready to buy surge suppression IC for your next project. With all the details that we have outlined in this guide, you should be in a perfect position to make the right decision.
And if you want to buy surge suppression ICs in China, consider buying from ICRFQ. We are a trusted surge IC distributor in China. Our products have been tested and approved by many users.
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