Technical solutions, industry trends and insights for designing and managing power supplies.
    • Feb 8, 2016

    High-voltage power innovation: Past, present and future

    There are two things that I look forward to everyday: the people I get to work with, and the technology I get to play with. But I sometimes like to take time out to reflect on how far the industry has come in high-voltage innovation, and think about what we’ll see next. Because my team is helping to drive innovation in high-voltage power conversion...
    • Feb 3, 2016

    When to use load switches in place of discrete MOSFETs

    Before people knew about electricity, they used candles for light. While this was a common way to see in the dark, the invention of the light bulb proved to be a better solution. Much like a candle, the most common approach to switching a load is to use a power MOSFET surrounded by discrete resistors and capacitors (and a bipolar junction transistor...
    • Feb 2, 2016

    Power Tips: Multiphase supplies can save space

    When I started at TI, one of the first power supplies that I worked on was a high-current two-phase buck power supply for a processor core. The current was 40A – pretty large at the time, and too high to implement in a single stage. Most power-supply designers look to multiphase applications to split up high-current rails into stages that are...
    • Feb 1, 2016

    How to use an LDO as a load switch

    Can a low-dropout regulator (LDO) make a good load switch? Isn’t that like putting a round peg in a square hole? Well, yes, but an LDO can be a good choice if two or three of these conditions apply: The input voltage is >15V (this eliminate...
    • Feb 1, 2016

    Pump it up with charge pumps – Part 1

    Life was simple when I first became interested in electronics. Components were so big I could solder them without a microscope. Switching converters switched at a whopping 25 kHz, digital circuits all used a 5-V supply voltage and all the computers I came across used the RS-232 serial interface to communicate. The RS-232 standard specifies that a...
    • Jan 25, 2016

    Generating bias current networks with arbitrary magnitudes - Part two

    In the previous post in this series, an equation was derived to describe the ratio of the Nth R SET resistor in Figure 1 below. Figure 1: Current Sink Network That equation, again, is as follows: So, what can be said about Equation 1? First of all, for an M IN ratio of 1, the corresponding M RN ratio will also be 1, as would be expected...
    • Jan 22, 2016

    Power Tips: Determining capacitance in a high-voltage energy storage system

    High-voltage capacitive energy storage often provides power to repetitive high-power pulse loads such as a camera flash or radio transmitter. Storage capacitors supply a brief, high-power burst of energy to the load, but are then allowed to slowly recharge over a much longer time period. Their benefits generally include a lower average input current...
    • Jan 21, 2016

    Why does Iq matter for USB Type-C?

    USB Type-C is a hot topic following the release of new laptop computers, smartphones and tablets that have one Type-C port for both charging and connecting peripherals. This change is driving an increase in demand for Type-C AC/DC chargers and power...
    • Jan 19, 2016

    How to create power solutions: solar power

    During a recent visit back home, my father approached me with a design challenge. He wanted me to harness energy from a solar cell, but he needed a simple solution he could also understand. After searching his place, I figured I could come up with a simple design from the devices and tools we had lying around. “Challenge accepted,” I said...
    • Jan 15, 2016

    Generating bias current networks with arbitrary magnitudes - Part one

    As discussed in the previous post in this series, generating DC currents of arbitrary magnitude is a simple and straightforward process using opamp feedback and a voltage reference. However, suppose it was necessary to generate some arbitrary number (N, for example) of current sinks (or sources) each with its own arbitrary magnitude; perhaps to bias...