Current sensing in multiple coupled inductors by time constant matching to leakage inductance

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United States Patent and Trademark Office

Voltage regulators often have coupled output inductors because coupled output inductors provide improvements in cost and efficiency. Coupled inductors are often used in multi-phase voltage regulators. Feedback control of voltage regulators often requires accurate and responsive sensing of output current. Provided is a technique for accurately sensing the magnitude of output current in coupled inductors. An RC circuit (comprising a resistor and capacitor in series) is connected in parallel with the coupled inductor. The inductor has a leakage inductance Lk and a DC (ohmic) resistance of DCR. The resistor and capacitor are selected such that an RC time constant is equal to an L/R time constant of Lk/DCR. With the matching time constants, a sum of voltages on the capacitors is accurately proportional to a sum of currents flowing in the output inductors. Also provided is a technique for sensing current when an uncoupled center tap inductor is present.