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Necessity is the mother of adoption

Efficiency is no longer the primary issue for dc/dc converters, it is thermal management that makes the difference. By Philip Ling.

The concept of distributed power has been bubbling around in the industry for years now. It's one of those 'nice ideas, but…' topics that is revisited regularly, each time with a little more gusto. But some believe that not adopting a distributed power topology is no longer an option, as more often there are varying voltage requirements within a single system, and greater distances to bus power across. It is now necessary to adopt distributed power, but the problems don't stop there.

The biggest issue facing the design of a dc/dc converter today is not the electrical efficiency that can be achieved, but the thermal efficiency. Managing heat dissipation in a single power supply is fairly straight forward, but how do you cope with a multitude of converters, each pumping out its own small contribution to the overall temperature rise?

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Author
Graham Pitcher

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