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GaN is as Easy to Use as Silicon: EPC Introduces a 48 V to 12 V Demo Board Featuring EPC eGaN FETs and New Renesas DC-DC Controller

GaN is as Easy to Use as Silicon: EPC Introduces a 48 V to 12 V Demo Board Featuring EPC eGaN FETs and New Renesas DC-DC Controller

The combination of the Renesas dual synchronous GaN buck controller and ultra-efficient eGaN® FETs from EPC (Efficient Power Conversion) enables high power density and efficiency with the same BOM size and cost as silicon.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.—  February, 2021 — EPC announces the availability of the EPC9157, a 300 W DC-DC demo board in the tiny 1/16th brick size, measuring just 33 mm x 22.9 mm x 9mm (1.3 x 0.9 x 0.35 in). The EPC9157 demo board integrates the Renesas ISL81806 80 V dual synchronous buck controller with the latest-generation EPC2218 eGaN FETs from EPC to achieve greater than 95% efficiency for 48 V input to 12 V regulated output conversion at 25 A.  

Brick DC-DC converters are widely used in data center, computing, telecommunication and automotive applications, converting a nominal 48 V to a nominal 12 V distribution bus, among other output voltages. The main trend has been towards higher power density. eGaN® FETs provide the fast switching, high efficiency and small size that can meet the stringent power density requirements of these leading-edge applications. EPC2218 is the smallest high efficiency 100 V eGAN FET on the market.

Renesas’ ISL81806 is the industry’s first 80V dual-output or two-phase synchronous buck controller with integrated GaN drivers, supporting switching frequencies up to 2 MHz. It uses peak current mode control and generates two independent outputs, or one output with two interleaved phases. It supports current sharing, synchronization for paralleling more controllers and/or more phases, enhanced light load efficiency, and low shutdown current. Protection features include input UVLO, over current, over voltage and over temperature. The ISL81806 can directly drive EPC GaN FETs, ensuring easy design, low component count and low solution cost. The highly integrated ISL81806 reduces BOM cost for GaN solutions because it does not require any microcontroller, current sense amplifiers, or housekeeping power. More information is available at

Alex Lidow, CEO of EPC commented, “Renesas’ synchronous buck controller IC makes using GaN even easier. We are delighted to work with Renesas to combine the benefits of its advanced controllers with the performance of GaN to provide customers with a low component-count solution that increases efficiency and power density and reduces system cost for 48 V power conversion.”

“The ISL81806 takes full advantage of the high performance of GaN FETs for high-power-density solutions while reducing BOM costs. It makes designing with GaN FETs as simple as using silicon-based FETs,” said Philip Chesley, Vice President, Industrial and Communications Business Division at Renesas. “We are excited to work alongside EPC to provide our customers with the latest in power conversion technology.”

Price and Availability

The EPC9157 demonstration board from EPC is priced $378.00 each a