What would it be like for your day to be without power?  Imagine this –

What would you do without the ability to make coffee for your 8:00 am class? What would you do without your smartphone? (The horror!) How would you program a LaunchPad™ development kit without a computer to implement the code?

Simply put, no power = more problems.

All electronics need power. However, the power you “see” (like the power that comes from plugging your laptop into a wall outlet) has to be converted and distributed through electronic systems to different levels or voltages. This converted voltage powers the integrated circuits (ICs) and other components within your device. Not only is this conversion important, but managing this power is also critical so that electronics work as expected.

But wait, what exactly is power management?
Power management is the science of designing a subsystem that controls and distributes power in an electronic system. The type of power management will depend on the power input and output delivered to various components within electronic systems. A power-management solution involves efficiently converting an unregulated voltage derived from an AC line – by plugging into a wall outlet or using batteries or other energy sources – to regulated, accurate and safe levels. A correctly designed power-management system can help smooth transitions when electronics turn on and off and when they are in normal operation. A power-management system also works hard to extend battery life in portable products like cellphones, laptops, tablets and even critical medical equipment.

So why should you care about power management?
Power is needed for all applications, and without channeling electricity into circuits and maintaining the supply, no digital or analog application would function. Imagine your laptop turning off every 30 minutes! Whether you are planning to design your own electronic device or work for a company on the next great gizmo, knowledge of power-management principles is absolutely essential. Learning how to select the right power solution for your system will help you with your product design. As technologies and gadgets get smaller and have more and more features, power management becomes even more crucial.

How can you learn more about power management?
Learning about power management and understanding the challenges associated with the design of common power-supply solutions used in most applications are important skills. To support a hands-on lab experience and foster power-management education, TI has developed the TI-Power Management Lab Kit (TI-PMLK) to help you learn about the power-management concepts, that can be applied later on to design and build your own power supply. The kit is comprised of a series of boards, each offering unique experiments and accompanied by an experiment lab book covering four key power topologies and case studies demonstrating different aspects of power supply design.

You will better understand trade offs related to common power supply parameters such power losses, converter efficiency, stability, load and line regulation and more. These parameters are critical attributes for meeting the performance and specifications while designing power management for your electronics. In the end you will able to make better decisions on the choice of your power solution.

TI also offers tools such as WEBENCH® Power Designer to help you generate, optimize and simulate designs that conform to your unique specifications. And online training offers further training on topics related to power management.

All in all, a world without power is a world where innovation ceases to exist. Every successive generation of engineers has pushed through what were once technological boundaries. Understanding all aspects of a system, especially power management, is essential for the next generation to continue innovating.

As the adage goes, “We cannot predict the future, but we can invent it.”

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