Technical solutions, industry trends and insights for designing and managing power supplies.
    • Sep 23, 2016

    USB chargers then and now: Type-C meets energy efficiency standards

    While planning to write this post, I typed “type-C” into Google Trends. Interest in the term has been rising since 2015 shown in Figure 1. Figure 1. Interest over time on Google Trends (Keywords: type-C) USB Type-C devices are getting more and more popular in the real world as well, with many prevalent cell phones and tablets adopting...
    • Sep 22, 2016

    Waveform audit: is your inductor saturated?

    Inductors are key components in switched-mode power supplies (SMPSs). Inductor selection is an important design step in power-supply design, but can often pose challenges. These challenges are generally eased by numerous design guides and tips, such as those given in the application sections of DC/DC converter data sheets. Such tools help designers...
    • Sep 21, 2016

    Measure output dynamic response on power supplies: oscilloscope ground issues

    Measuring on an oscilloscope output ripple and dynamic response on low voltage (~1V) / high current (30-150A) power supplies has been a challenge with each new setup creating its own set of errors. Errors due to the probe pigtail ground have been add...
    • Sep 20, 2016

    Don't forget the gate driver: it’s the muscle

    Remember the blog with an interesting analogy between power factor correction (PFC) and beer earlier this year? I think it is brilliant! In that case, the beer in a glass represented the “real power” that an electronic device actually requires, the foam at the top represented “reactive power,” and the entire glass of beer plus...
    • Sep 14, 2016

    Is PFC possible without input voltage sensing?

    Power factor correction (PFC) forces the input current to follow the input voltage (V IN ) so that any electrical load appears like a resistor. This action requires sensing the input voltage and modulating a current reference based on that sensing. The current loop will force the input current to follow the reference. This is called average current...
    • Sep 9, 2016

    Design your power stage quite conveniently

    Have you ever had to do the same calculations more than once? As an electrical/electronics engineer, I am pretty sure that you have. If you are doing calculations manually, it can be quite tedious and very time-consuming. When designing power-managem...
    • Sep 8, 2016

    Consider an application-specific PMIC in your system

    If you think power-management integrated circuits (PMICs) only power a system’s processor, allow me to introduce the application-specific PMIC. Application-specific PMICs have the same great system benefits of a general-purpose PMIC – including system-cost reduction, space savings, power sequencing and platform scalability – but they...
    • Sep 6, 2016

    Solving the biggest challenges when designing smart meter power supplies

    Smart meters are next-generation meters that replace existing meters, which still use technology that was developed decades ago. Smart meters use a secure connection network to automatically and wirelessly send the energy usage to the utility companies. This means that customers will no longer receive estimated energy bills or have meter readers come...
    • Sep 5, 2016

    DC/DC converter datasheets- current limit - part two

    In part 1 of this two-part series, I talked about the maximum output current of a step-down or buck DC/DC converter. In this installment, I will look at the step-up or boost converter. Calculating the maximum output current for a boost regulator is s...
    • Sep 2, 2016

    Find the "Goldilocks" voltage reference for your application

    So you know you need a voltage reference, but you are not sure how to pick the best one for your application. You have come to the right place! In this post, I will discuss some of the key voltage-reference parameters and help you weigh them based on your application needs in your search for a “Goldilocks” voltage reference that’s...