New High Density AC-DC Front-End Modules in VIA Packaging

January 5, 2016

Today we announced new members of the PFM™ AC-DC front-end module family in the rugged VIA package. We talked to Ian Mazsa, Snr. manager, product marketing, at Vicor, about the new product to find out more:


What are the key features of the new PFM in VIA Packaging?

vicor-via-pfmThese new power components provide a fully isolated 24 VDC or 48 VDC output with up to 400 W output power and efficiencies of up to 93% from a universal AC input range (85 – 264 VAC). They offer one of the easiest ways to implement an AC-DC front end.

Which applications do you expect to use the new PFM?

The new PFMs are flexible and therefore ideally suited for use in a broad range of applications. We’ve got customers developing power chains in applications such as industrial, process control, telecommunications, office equipment, test and measurement and LED lighting.

Reducing the size of the power chain is important for many applications. How do the new PFMs optimize power density?

The new PFMs offer unprecedented power density of 127 W/in3 (8 W/cm3). The use of Vicor’s revolutionary VIA packaging means that the new components are 9mm thin, just one-fifth the thickness of traditional “1U” front-end solutions. Their narrow width enables them to be mounted on the side panel of a 1U enclosure.

How do these new components simplify the thermal management required for front-end power conversion?

The high efficiency means that there is less heat to remove, which immediately simplifies thermal design. The VIA packaging is thermally adept and we offer options for both on-board mounting and chassis mounting. The chassis mount option is particularly interesting for many engineers as it allows mounting to an equipment side panel, chassis or other external heat sinking device. This approach can reduce system size and cost, or free up valuable system real estate for other uses, and can provide improved thermal performance while eliminating the need for, and cost of, external heat sinks.

The thermal performance of these power components means we can offer two operating temperature ranges: commercial and a wider industrial temperature range.

A further benefit of the high efficiency and easy thermal management is that many applications will not need forced-air cooling when using one of the new PFMs. Eliminating the fan offers several advantages, including higher reliability as well as reduced noise.

Complete power systems need a range of features. What else is integrated into these new components?

These new units integrate a full range of front-end functions required by contemporary AC line-operated power systems. They offer input to output isolation and protection features including transient and inrush current protection. The PFMs also provide power factor correction.

This functionality means that these new power components meet international safety and regulatory agency standards for isolation, conducted emissions, power factor correction, and susceptibility to AC line transients, flicker, interruptions and surges.

How easy is it to design-in these new PFMs?

The new PFMs are easy to use, and fit right in to Vicor’s Power Component Design Methodology, which is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to develop power chains.

The components are also fully supported by the online PowerBench suite of tools, including the solution selector and Whiteboard. This allows engineers to enter the requirements of their system, select the best solution based upon the metrics that are most important to them and then analyze performance of the entire power chain, using just a couple of clicks of their mouse.

Do you need a large number of other components when using one of the new PFMs?

In many applications, a user can instantly implement a complete AC-DC front end by simply combining a PFM with an AIM (Universal AC Input Module), which integrates all required primary-side rectification, filtering and transient protection circuitry) and suitable secondary-side storage capacitance.

Alternatively, a designer can combine a PFM front-end module with rectification, filtering and secondary-side output capacitance that is optimized for a specific application.

When will the new PFMs be available?

You can order them today! PFMs in both mounting options and temperature ranges can be ordered from Vicor and our distribution partners.


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