DC-DC Converter – How to Float a Pin That Should Be Low

dc/dc converterfloatingopen-drainpower-up-conditions

I want to enable/disable a TI TPS54302 buck regulator with a microcontroller. The enable (EN) pin should float to enable the device, or be tied low to disable it.

I currently have the EN pin connected to a GPIO pin on the MCU. At startup, before the pin state can be set low, it will sometimes already be floating, so the regulator operates for a brief time before the pin is intentionally set low.

I'd like to add an external pull-down resistor to ensure the regulator stays off until it is supposed to be on, but that would prevent floating the pin.

I presume I could simply pull the pin high (instead of floating it) and achieve the desired result. The TPS54302 datasheet says:

The EN pin has an internal pullup-current source which allows the user to float the EN pin to enable the device. If an application requires control of the EN pin, use open-drain or open-collector output logic to interface with the pin.

If I tie the EN pin to ground with a 10kΩ resistor, and pull the MCU pin high when I want the regulator to operate, is that a viable solution?

I'm not concerned about small (≥1mA) constant current usage as this is a line-powered device.

Best Answer

Yes, you're fine with your approach. The EN pull up current is less than 2uA, so a 10K will allow you to remain below the threshold, and the microcontroller output will be able to pull it up to 5V (or at least greater than the threshold. Just stay below 7V on the enable pin and you'll be fine.)

As you pointed out an open drain output on your micro doesn't really solve the problem of keeping the device disabled while the uC boots up.

Note datasheet specs below:

enter image description here

[EDIT for more clarity:]

The reason for the recommendation for the open drain approach is that this part allows Vin up to 28V, but the EN pin is only rated to 7V abs max. So you can't pull the enable to Vin or drive it with an open collector with a pull-up tied to Vin. Nothing prohibits driving the pin from an open collector only, an open collector pulled up to (e.g.) 3.3V or 5V, or a push-pull output in the right voltage range. You don't HAVE to just float the pin or pull it low. Note the UVLO level modification circuit in the datasheet:

enter image description here

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