Linear Technology has introduced the LTC4231, an ultralow quiescent current (IQ) Hot Swap controller, enabling safe board or battery insertion and extraction from 2.7V to 36V systems. The LTC4231 controls an external N-channel MOSFET to gently power up board capacitors, avoiding sparks, connector damage and system glitches. Device quiescent current is a mere 4µA during normal operation, dropping to 0.3µA in shutdown mode. To ensure low current operation, the undervoltage and overvoltage resistive dividers are connected to a strobed ground, lowering their average current draw by 50x. The LTC4231 provides a compact and rugged micropower solution for hot plugging and battery protection, especially in energy conscious applications utilising solar power or energy harvesting.

The LTC4231 survives and also protects downstream circuitry from reversed batteries up to -40V by controlling back-to-back N-channel MOSFETs. Undervoltage protection cuts off low voltage batteries to prevent deep discharge, while adjustable hysteresis avoids oscillations from battery recovery after load removal. Dual level overcurrent protection is provided by a timed circuit breaker and fast current limit. The 2.7V to 36V operating range accommodates a wide range of battery chemistries including lead-acid, Li-Ion and stacked NiCd.

The LTC4231 is available in two options: the LTC4231-1 remains off after an overcurrent fault, whereas the LTC4231-2 automatically attempts to turn on after a 500ms cooldown period. Specified over the 0°C to 70°C commercial and -40°C to 85°C industrial temperature ranges, the LTC4231 is offered in 12-pin MSOP and 3mm x 3mm QFN packages. 1,000-piece pricing starts at $2.25 each. Device samples and evaluation circuit boards are available online or from your local Linear Technology sales office.

Summary of Features: LTC4231

  • Enables Safe Board or Battery Insertion and Removal
  • Low Quiescent Current: 4µA in Normal Operation, 0.3µA in Shutdown
  • Overcurrent Protection

    • Dual Level: Circuit Breaker with Higher Current Limit
    • Adjustable Circuit Breaker Response Time
    • 1µs (max) Fast Current Limit Response
    • Automatic Retry or Latchoff After Current Fault
  • Overvoltage and Undervoltage Protection
  • Adjustable Undervoltage Hysteresis
  • Divider Switched Ground to Reduce Current
  • Wide Operating Voltage Range :
    2.7V to 36V
  • Reverse Battery Protection to -40V
  • MOSFET On Status Output
  • 12-Pin MSOP & 3mm x 3mm QFN Packages