Ask WEBENCH: What do I do next when designing a power supply?


That’s a question design engineers ask on several occasions. One such occasion is when designing a power supply. Many times power supply design comes as an afterthought. You may have designed the other parts of your board first, thinking that the power supply might not take as long to develop. After all, there are several tools available online that can help you with this task. Some tools design the power supply application with ideal components based on your specifications; some let you simulate the circuit in SPICE to check out the performance; some even let you do both. But what do you do when you have something on paper that’s close to what you might want to use? What do you do next?

Online tools are great and have come a long way in recent years. However, there is no substitute for actual prototyping and lab testing. Until a year ago, all you could do with online tools was come up with the theoretical application for your power supply. However, the most critical part of the power-supply design – the board layout – wasn’t addressed. And while you can have the best design on paper, a bad layout can ruin your circuit’s performance.

Figure 1: WEBENCH generated schematic and layout exported to a popular CAD format

The WEBENCH® Design Center solves this problem with an award-winning PCB Export capability for your customized power-supply design (Figure 1). Combined with the Build-It feature and based on thoroughly tested evaluation module layouts, this board export feature lets you export your customized layout into popular CAD formats letting you go from specifications to prototype in a jiffy.

 

Figure 2: From Specification to Prototype in a jiffy using WEBENCH® Tools

When used along with other award-winning features like Visualizer (a 3-D solution view for easy comparison and selection) (Figure 3), Optimizer Dial (which lets you optimize your design for efficiency, size, cost or a combination) (Figure 4), Recompensation Designer (to fine-tune the compensation for your specific needs), and electrical and thermal simulations (to test the performance and heat map of your application), WEBENCH®  tools let you create a highly customized and physically realizable power supply (Figure 2). And it’s all available for free, along with a database of over 40,000 discrete components with pricing and availability updated hourly.

Figure 3: WEBENCH ® Visualizer lets you quickly choose the most optimum solution

Figure 4: WEBENCH ® Optimizer showing the variation of Size, Efficiency, Cost and Power Dissipation with optimizer setting

Try out these innovations by visiting ti.com/webench to start a design today. And if you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina, be sure to stop by TI’s booth No. 1001 at APEC, to see live demos of all of these features and see how easily you can customize your power supply design.