Technical solutions, industry trends and insights for designing and managing power supplies.
    • Jan 17, 2017

    Upgrading USB chargers from Type-A to Type-C

    USB chargers are becoming more and more prevalent, and seem on their way to becoming universal. They’ve gone from just being on your computer to being in wall outlets, wall warts, car panels, airplane seats, and more. Traditional USB Type-A chargers have just one voltage, which lends itself to a simple high-level design. Figure 1 shows a simplified...
    • Jan 12, 2017

    How to overcome minimum on-time challenges in switching power supplies

    In switching power supplies such as a buck converter, the duty cycle controls the output voltage with respect to the input voltage. While a higher switching frequency is great for reducing the solution size by enabling the use of a small inductor, there is a minimum on-time that must be satisfied in order for the switching power supply to function properly...
    • Jan 11, 2017

    Integrated power devices simplify FPGA and SoC designs

    Industrial electronics are trending toward smaller board sizes, sleeker form factors and more cost-effectiveness. Due to these trends, electronic system designers must reduce the size and cost of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Industrial systems using field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and system on chips (SoCs) require multiple power rails while...
    • Jan 11, 2017

    What is a watchdog timer and why is it important?

    Much like a small, yappy dog that lives in a celebrity’s purse, watchdog timers are often considered unnecessary or excessive. To equate the two, how ever, would do a great disservice to the watchdog. Unlike “purse dogs,” watchdogs add critical monitoring features that allow you to internally and externally monitor your system for...
    • Dec 28, 2016

    Which is better? Discrete or combined controllers for an AC/DC power supply?

    If you have ever listened in on typical hallway conversations in a power-supply design company, it’s likely you have heard a spirited debate on whether the right way to design a >75W power supply involves the architecture shown in Figure 1 or Figure 2. The power-supply components in both cases are exactly the same; the only difference is the...
    • Dec 27, 2016

    The top three ways to split a voltage rail to a bipolar supply

    Audio applications, data-signal acquisition and analog sensors benefit from a bipolar bias power supply. A bipolar supply provides the best use of the analog-to-digital converter’s (ADC) dynamic range, enables rail-to-rail amplification, isolates the analog signal from ground noise and offers many other benefits. In this post, I’ll describe...
    • Dec 13, 2016

    How to approach a power-supply design – part 1

    Switch-mode power-supply design can be a mysterious thing if you do not know how and where to start, because there is a great variety of topologies and controller types from which to choose. In this blog series I will describe how to pick the most fi...
    • Dec 9, 2016

    Don’t leave it floating! Power off your outputs with quick output discharge

    When a semiconductor lists quick output discharge (QOD) as a feature , it will quickly discharge the output when the device is disabled (or in an “off” state) . In other words, when V OUT is disconnected from V IN , V OUT will instead be connected to ground through internal circuitry, preventing the output from “floating” or...
    • Dec 8, 2016

    Biasing an SR controller IC in USB smartphone charging applications

    With the increased interest in energy efficiency and energy conservation, a synchronous rectifier (SR) helps boost efficiency when converting offline AC power into 5V for USB smartphone battery charging. During this conversion, an SR controller integrated circuit (IC) needs proper biasing in order to provide the adequate drive to the SR MOSFET. The...
    • Dec 7, 2016

    Stack current with PowerStack packages for higher power POL

    Voltage regulators, particularly DC/DC converters with integrated MOSFETs, have evolved from being simple, low-power supplies defined by input voltage, output voltage and current to now being capable of delivering much higher power, monitoring ...