Electronics & Computers

Really Cool Fan Control IC Drives Green Wind

July 27, 2011

Melexis single-chip MLX90287 Hall-effect fan driver IC can control coolin fans based on PWM or analog signals.

TESSENDERLO, Belgium, /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Melexis releases its super smart solution for energy-efficient cooling fan designs. The MLX90287 provides a fully integrated, robust and high performance Hall effect based fan driver IC, with the ability to control cooling fan speed using PWM or analog signals. This device will benefit information technology equipment such as desktop computers, gaming consoles and also cooling fans in automotive applications like LED Headlights.

The MLX90287 features a one-chip solution for driving low noise speed-controlled single-coil brushless cooling fans. With an operating supply voltage from 4.5 V to 16 V, the MLX90287 targets the widely used 12 V cooling fan applications. With the integrated power stage, cooling fans rated as high as 550mA (continuous) can be easily driven addressing a majority of applications. The device is even able to operate within an ambient temperature from –40°C to 150°C, making it suitable for harsh environments like automotive, industrial, military and aerospace. .

The ultimate step in energy-efficient cooling designs is to control and optimize cooling fan rotation speed depending on the system thermal load. Taking the example of a computer processor, while regular office work creates low system load, on the contrary playing intense 3D games requires the highest system load. Hence constantly keeping the maximum cooling capabilities leads to a waste of energy and high acoustic noise from the fan airflow.

The MLX90287 provides a simple solution for controlling cooling fan speed via digital or analog techniques. Latest cooling architectures for CPU cooling use high frequency pulse width modulation (PWM) signal where the applied duty cycle is proportional to the desired cooling speed. Unlike other solutions, the MLX90287 directly accepts, without any external circuitry, a wide PWM frequency range from 100Hz to 100 kHz. This suits perfectly the latest systems using typically 25 kHz or above and older systems still using lower frequency. Other architectures use analog signal or even temperature sensor control. The MLX90287 can regulate cooling fan speed via a mere potentiometer, a solution used by many extreme gamers for total control, or even a simple thermistor for a more automatic regulation responding on the real system temperature.

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