Imported: 10 Mar '17 | Published: 27 Nov '08
USPTO - Utility Patents
An audio amplifier with an integrated asymmetric charge pump is provided. The audio amplifier receives VDD and VSS as power supply signals. The integrated charge pump is arranged to provide VSS from VDD, such that VSS is a negative voltage that is lower in magnitude than VDD.
The invention is related to power converters, and in particular but not exclusively, to an asymmetric charge pump that provides VSS for an audio amplifier such that VSS is a negative voltage.
An audio amplifier is a power amplifier that may be used to amplify low-power audio signals (e.g. 20 Hz-20 KHz signals) for driving a speaker load. The speaker load value typically varies from 4 ohm to 32 ohm. Audio amplifiers may be used to drive loudspeakers, but may also be used for driving other types of speaker loads such as audio headphones and earpieces. Traditionally, audio amplifiers are class AB amplifiers. However, other types of amplifiers, such as class D amplifiers, may also be employed.
Various embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail with reference to the drawings, where like reference numerals represent like parts and assemblies throughout the several views. Reference to various embodiments does not limit the scope of the invention, which is limited only by the scope of the claims attached hereto. Additionally, any examples set forth in this specification are not intended to be limiting and merely set forth some of the many possible embodiments for the claimed invention.
Throughout the specification and claims, the following terms take at least the meanings explicitly associated herein, unless the context dictates otherwise. The meanings identified below do not necessarily limit the terms, but merely provide illustrative examples for the terms. The meaning of a, an, and the includes plural reference, and the meaning of in includes in and on. The phrase in one embodiment, as used herein does not necessarily refer to the same embodiment, although it may. As used herein, the term or is an inclusive or operator, and is equivalent to the term and/or, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. The term based, in part, on, based, at least in part, on, or based on is not exclusive and allows for being based on additional factors not described, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. The term coupled means at least either a direct electrical connection between the items connected, or an indirect connection through one or more passive or active intermediary devices. The term circuit means at least either a single component or a multiplicity of components, either active and/or passive, that are coupled together to provide a desired function. The term signal means at least one current, voltage, charge, temperature, data, or other signal. Where either a field effect transistor (FET) or a bipolar junction transistor (BJT) may be employed as an embodiment of a transistor, the scope of the words gate, drain, and source includes base, collector, and emitter, respectively, and vice versa.
Briefly stated, the invention is related to an audio amplifier with an integrated asymmetric charge pump. The audio amplifier receives VDD and VSS as power supply signals. The integrated charge pump is arranged to provide VSS from VDD, such that VSS is a negative voltage that is lower in magnitude than VDD.
FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of an embodiment of circuit 100. Circuit 100 includes converter 120 and audio amplifier 110. Audio amplifier 110 is arranged to receive audio amplifier input signal Ain, and to provide audio amplifier output signal Aout for driving a speaker load (not shown in FIG. 1). Signal Ain is based, at least in part, on an audio input signal. In one embodiment, signals Ain and Aout are both single-ended signals. In other embodiments, one or both of signals Ain and Aout are differential signals.
Audio amplifier 110 is arranged to receive positive power supply signal VDD as an upper power supply input and negative power supply signal VSS as a lower power supply input. Converter 120 is arranged to provide voltage VSS from voltage VDD such that the polarity of VSS is the opposite of the polarity of VDD (e.g. VSS is negative while VDD is positive). For example, in embodiment, VDD is 5V and VSS is 3V. In other embodiments, other values of VDD and VSS may be employed. In some embodiments, VSS is adjustable, but there is a limit to VSS such that VDDVSSVlimit, where Vlimit is a pre-defined value that is less than 2*VDD. In one embodiment, converter 120 is an inverting DC-DC power converter.
FIG. 2 illustrates a block diagram of an embodiment circuit 200, which may be employed as an embodiment of circuit 100 of FIG. 1. Charge pump 220 is an embodiment of converter 120 of FIG. 1. In the embodiment shown, circuit 200 further includes capacitor C0, resistors R1 and R2, and speaker load 230.
Audio amplifier 210 has an inverting input that is arranged to receive audio amplifier input signal Ain, a noninverting input coupled to ground (GND), a positive power supply input that is arranged to receive voltage VDD, a negative power supply input that is arranged to receive signal VSS, and an output that is arranged to provide audio amplifier output signal Aout. Audio amplifier signal Ain is based on audio signal Vin (which is the input audio signal to be amplified).
FIG. 3 shows a block diagram of an embodiment of circuit 300, which may be employed as an embodiment of circuit 200 of FIG. 2.
Charge pump 320 is arranged to receive signals VDD, VrefP, VrefN, GND, 1, and 2, and to provide voltage VSS. Vref is a differential reference voltage VrefPVrefN. Signals 1 and 2 are non-overlapping clock signals having substantially the same frequency as each other. Further, charge pump 320 is arranged to provide voltage VSS such that VSS=(VrefPVrefN).
In one embodiment, VrefP and VrefN are pre-determined values that are not user-adjustable. In other embodiments, VrefP and VrefN are user-adjustable so that users may adjust the value to which voltage VSS is regulated. In one embodiment, voltage VDD is 5V, and VrefPVrefN=3V (so that VSS=3V in steady state). In another embodiment, voltage VDD=5V, and VrefPVrefN is user-adjustable anywhere from 2V to 3V (so that VSS is adjustable from 2V to 3V in steady state). In other embodiments, other values may be employed.
Circuit 300 does not require an output capacitor like CCO (Capacitor Coupled Output) audio amplifiers, and does not risk shorting to ground like technologies that use a VDD/2 buffer. Furthermore, circuit 300 allows a process with a lower breakdown voltage. For example, with VDD=5V, if a symmetric charge pump were used to provide VSS=5V, a process voltage with a breakdown voltage of 8V could not be used, because there is a total voltage swing of 10V between VDD and VSS. However, by using an asymmetric charge pump with a pre-defined VSS, or a VSS that is adjustable but in which VDDVSS does not exceed a pre-defined limit (e.g. VSS no less then 3V for an 8V process), a lower breakdown voltage process may be suitably employed, so that a lower breakdown voltage process may be used which may reduce fabrication cost and provide better performance by using a smaller geometry process. Circuit 300 does not require an output capacitor for the audio amplifier, does not require a VDD/2 buffer, and allows for a smaller geometry process and/or a higher VDD.
In some embodiments, speaker load 330 is an audio headphone or an earpiece. In one embodiment, charge pump 320 is integrated with audio amplifier 310 so that charge pump 320 and audio amplifier 310 are both included on the same integrated circuit (IC).
FIG. 4 illustrates a block diagram of an embodiment of charge pump 420, which may be employed as an embodiment of charge pump 320 of FIG. 3. As previously discussed, power supply voltage VDD is received at the input of charge pump 420, and negative power supply voltage VSS is provided at the output of charge pump 420. Charge pump 420 includes comparator DF_COMP, AND gate 440, switches S1-S4, capacitor C1, and capacitor C2.
AND gate 440 is arranged to provide clock signal 1A from clock signal 1 and comparator output signal Comp_out. Also, switch S1 is arranged to be open when signal 1A is low and closed when signal 1A is high. Switches S2 and S3 are arranged to be open when clock signal 2 is low and closed when clock signal 2 is high. Conversely, Switch S4 is arranged to be open when clock signal 1 is low and closed when clock signal 1 is high. Comparator DF_COMP is arranged to provide comparator output signal Comp_out such that signal Comp_out is high when VrefPVrefNVPVN, and such that signal Comp_out is low when VrefPVrefNVPVN.
An embodiment of charge pump 420 may be more easily understood in conjunction with FIGS. 5A-5F.
FIGS. 5A-5F show a block diagrams of waveforms of embodiments of signals 1, 2, VrefPVrefN, VPVN, 1A, and VSS, respectively, for an embodiment of charge pump 420 of FIG. 4.
Initially, the voltage across capacitor C1 is less than the differential reference voltage, i.e. VPVNVrefPVrefN. At this point, signal Comp_out is high. When 1 goes high and 2 is low, 1A also goes high. Accordingly, switches S1 and S4 turn on and switches S2 and S3 turn off. Accordingly, VDD begins to charge capacitor C1 through switch S1. During charging, when VPVNVrefPVrefN, signal Comp_out goes low. Accordingly, 1A also goes low, turning off switch S1, which prevents capacitor C1 from charging any further.
When 1 goes low and 2 goes high, switches S1, S4 are off and switches S2, S3 are on. During this cycle, capacitor C1 is connected in parallel to C2. Accordingly, voltage VSS moves towards the negative voltage (VrefPVrefN). At steady state, VSS is regulated at approximately (VrefPVrefN).
The above specification, examples and data provide a description of the manufacture and use of the composition of the invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention also resides in the claims hereinafter appended.