The power wasted by domestic appliances in standby mode can be appreciable. A new off-line power-converter IC from STMicroelectronics promises to staunch the flow of this ‘vampire’ power to just a dribble (5 mW at 230 Vac). According to the IEC standard for household and office appliances this level of power draw can effectively be rounded to zero.

The VIPer0P is an off-line power-converter IC that can be configured as a flyback, buck, or buck-boost switched-mode power supply (SMPS). It is the latest member of ST’s high-voltage VIPerPlus series of devices and incorporates an avalanche-rugged power MOSFET with 800V breakdown voltage able to switch an appliance out of standby without the need for a high-voltage mechanical relay. The VIPer0P chip also includes protection features such as short-circuit protection, Vcc clamping, thermal shutdown, and soft-start. The switching frequency oscillator is jittered to minimize electromagnetic interference.

A smart-management capability allows an appliance to be woken from standby via input from a touchscreen or remote control. The VIPer0P is also able to provide standby power for the system host microcontroller while in idle mode. VIPer0P is currently in volume production in an SO16N surface-mount package, priced from $0.54 for orders of 1000 units.