EDN Europe Explains Benefits of Bidirectional Conversion for Back-up Power Configurations

May 15, 2014

EDN EuropeThe editor of EDN Europe, Graham Prophet, recently published an article that explains how Bidirectional DC/DC conversion enables efficient back-up power configurations. He uses the Vicor VTM as an example to show how converters with a bidirectional topology can allow current to flow in both directions, stepping the voltage up or down as required.

Many applications use batteries to back up a primary power source and therefore have an inherently bi-directional architecture: when the primary source is operating, current needs to flow into the battery banks to charge them, but when it fails, power must be drawn from the batteries to ensure system operation continues uninterrupted.

bidirectional-vtm-circuit-diagramIn the article, Graham describes a typical situation: telecoms or server racks, where the battery bank might operate at 380 V, which must be converted to and from the main 48 V rail. Conventionally the system would switch between two different unidirectional converters to enable a bidirectional flow. If Vicor VTMs are used, their inherent flexibility reduces the complexity of the power system, as well as significantly increasing the overall power density.

Since we first presented the bidirectional capabilities of the Sine Amplitude Converter (SAC) topology at APEC 2014, systems that require back-up power are quickly adopting this approach to develop better battery power management systems.  Read Graham’s article to learn more about the technology and how it can be applied in typical applications.

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