How Do You Decide the Best Power Chain for Your Application?

December 3, 2015
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The Power Component Design Methodology is an extremely flexible approach to the development of power systems, using power components to produce designs that are optimized for your application. But how can you determine what is the “optimum” solution to your particular design challenge?

Consider the following five figures of merit:

  • Highest Operating Efficiency
  • Lowest Component Count
  • Lowest Cost
  • Smallest Footprint
  • Best Fit

The demands of the application will determine the figure of merit that is most appropriate. For example Highest Operating Efficiency (the highest overall efficiency of the complete system at its maximum operating power) could be the metric that is most appropriate for an LED lighting application where cost and size are less important than optimizing the use of energy.

Where space is constrained, minimizing the footprint of the solution (including both the Vicor components and other required devices) or selecting the solution with fewest components are likely to be the most important figures of merit. Minimizing components is also important where weight is a concern – for example for aerospace applications.

In some applications, size and efficiency might be less important than cost (although Vicor power components will inherently be some of the highest efficiency and power density solutions). Here the lowest component cost will be your primary metric.

Power System Designer Figures of Merit

The Vicor Power System Designer Identifies the Optimum Solution for Five Different Figures of Merit (click to enlarge)

For many engineers, however, size, efficiency and cost are all important criteria. In these cases a “Best Fit” metric would be an average of the other four figures of merit.

Calculating these figures of merit can be complex. Fortunately, however, there is an easy solution with our Power System Designer. This PowerBench tool analyzes the possible power chains and identifies the solutions that are the “best” based on each of these five figures of merit. As a power engineer, all you have to do is to input the requirements for your system and then select the solution that performs best for your application.

Try it for yourself: test drive the Power System Designer today.

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