Blog Archives

Back to Basics: The Importance of Switching Frequency

September 30, 2013
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Back to Basics: The Importance of Switching Frequency

The importance of switching frequency quickly becomes apparent to systems designers bringing regulated power to on-board semiconductor devices. With the continual demand for higher performance, CPUs, DSPs and other such devices grow more power-hungry. Accordingly, higher power density regulators with minimal PCB footprints have evolved; these use the latest in IC integration, MOSFETs and packaging. However, even these struggle keep pace with the continuing stream of newer, more powerful devices. With these pressures, it is tempting to increase regulator frequency, as this reduces the size and board footprint requirements of the associated passive devices...

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Back to Basics: What are Y-Capacitors?

June 5, 2013
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What’s the background? When electronic equipment is connected to the AC mains, it has the potential to generate common-mode electrical noise. If this is allowed to flow back on to the mains supply line, it can disturb other equipment also connected to the same line.

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Back to Basics: Zero Voltage Switching – What it is and Why it’s Important for Buck Voltage Regulation

April 23, 2013
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Back to Basics: Zero Voltage Switching – What it is and Why it’s Important for Buck Voltage Regulation

Buck voltage regulation, an essential part of distributing power from a DC supply to its points of load (POLs), has typically been implemented with a PWM circuit. The PWM duty cycle is varied to accommodate the required voltage reduction. However a couple of factors have applied increasing pressure to regulator design. Firstly, power density is being forced up as continuously more powerful devices are designed onto boards without corresponding increase in footprint. Secondly, DC power supply voltage levels are tending to rise to minimize distribution losses, while device voltages are reducing to increase internal...

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Learning about the Power Component Design Methodology

April 3, 2013
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Learning about the Power Component Design Methodology

This post looks at the three reasons and three distinct advantages that power components offer in your power system design.

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What to Consider when Choosing a Buck Regulator

March 4, 2013
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What to Consider when Choosing a Buck Regulator

In our previous post, an interview with Robert Gendron, VP, Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Picor, we asked, What is a Buck Regulator? In this second in the series, we look at how to choose the product that is right for your design.

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Back to Basics: What does Power Factor Mean and Why Must We Correct it?

February 4, 2013
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Back to Basics: What does Power Factor Mean and Why Must We Correct it?

Today’s commercial, industrial, retail and even domestic premises are increasingly populated by electronic devices such as PCs, monitors, servers and photocopiers which are usually powered by switched mode power supplies (SMPS). If not properly designed, these can present non-linear loads which impose harmonic currents and possibly voltages onto the mains power network.   Harmonics can damage cabling and equipment within this network, as well as other equipment connected to it. Problems include overheating and fire risk, high voltages and circulating currents, equipment malfunctions and component failures, and other possible consequences.   A non-linear load...

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Back to Basics: Understanding and Mitigating the Growing Problem of Distribution Losses

December 27, 2012
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Back to Basics: Understanding and Mitigating the Growing Problem of Distribution Losses

There are many articles available describing how to overcome power distribution losses with suitable power conversion devices and architectures. This post goes back to basics: explaining the underlying issues of distribution losses and the principles of their solution.

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What is a Buck Regulator?

November 7, 2012
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We interviewed the VP responsible for the Picor product line, Robert Gendron, tapping into his knowledge about the design and performance considerations for buck regulators when powering embedded devices. Because it turned out to be such a great interview, with lots of great information, we’ll be posting his responses as a series over the next couple of months.

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Intermediate Bus Architecture (IBA) versus Factorized Power Architecture (FPA)

August 20, 2012
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Intermediate Bus Architecture (IBA) versus Factorized Power Architecture (FPA)

We’ve posted a number of articles over the last few months about the different power architectures available, and the advantages and disadvantages of using each. In this post we continue on this theme, looking at the difference between Intermediate Bus Architecture (IBA) and the latest architecture Factorized Power Architecture (FPA).

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Back to Basics: Meeting EMI for AC-DC Systems

June 8, 2012
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Back to Basics: Meeting EMI for AC-DC Systems

EMI is seen as one of the key challenges of power conversion design and system integration, particularly for AC-DC systems.

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