Power electronics is a key element in the world of electronic design and engineering and electronic engineers need to have a thorough understanding of this area if they’re going to create successful products.

In this section, New Electronics keeps designers up to date with the latest developments in the power electronics market – everything from DC/DC converters to IGBTs to battery technology. In fact, New Electronics covers any power product that can go on a PCB.

Analogue control remains popular

Until relatively recently, the idea of trusting system power supply control to software was viewed as potentially foolhardy. When a single bug in a line of software could result in thermal meltdown or a catastrophic voltage being dumped on the system, it is no wonder that the use of digital power controllers was largely ignored.

Automating oscilloscopes: how to save time and make better measurements

Oscilloscope measurement automation has become imperative for timely and accurate debug and validation. In many cases, the number and complexity of tests demanded by a technology standard or application prohibit any attempt at manual measurements. For example, the DisplayPort compliance tests require 312 different test conditions at eight waveform locations – 2496 unique measurements! An automated oscilloscope can complete these measurements in a few hours, where manual measurement will require multiple man days.

Energy harvesting: new perspectives and possibilities for powering systems

Electronic designers are now contemplating whether energy harvesting may be a viable power supply option for their applications. Continuing developments in this area are opening up opportunities for new applications and technical development are not only optimising the energy consumption of microcontrollers and wireless transmission techniques, but also the efficient transformation and storage of low quantities of the energy harvested.

Bench power supplies: the evolution of laboratory power

While digitally oriented switch mode technology is the norm in most areas of the power supply market, pure linear regulation still has its place – particularly for users requiring the lowest output noise, the best transient response and the most benign stability characteristics when driving complex loads. But linear units are larger and heavier for a given output power and generate more heat.

Power management in battery powered medical devices

A fundamental shift in the nature of healthcare delivery is seeing a host of therapeutic procedures, once found only in hospitals, migrating to the doctor's surgery and the home. The driver is the increased costs of treating a growing population and the need for greater efficiency.

Breeding success: Embedded World 2012 preview

This year's embedded world exhibition and conference takes place in Nuremberg from 28 February to 1 March. The tenth running of the event is set to be bigger and more international than ever, according to the organiser. Exhibition manager Alexander Mattausch noted that exhibitor numbers are 23% up on the same time in 2011, with appreciable growth in the number of international companies.

Advanced technology ics cut all current paths to achieve zero power drain in standby

With standby power consumption representing a significant proportion of electricity consumed around the world, standards for no load performance are tightening. For example, the European Commission's Energy-related Products (ErP) Directive Tier 1, which permitted a no load consumption of 0.5W for products manufactured in 2010, was tightened in 2011 to 300mW for adapters with an output less than 51W.

Start up takes power switching technology out of university lab

There is an amazing amount of fundamental technology research undertaken in UK universities. But getting that work into the hands of entrepreneurs and small companies so it can be exploited has been a struggle. As such, facilitating this kind of technology transfer has been on the industry's 'to do' list for some years, with little sign of progress.

VPX development platforms can reduce time to market

New generations of embedded computing systems based on the VPX standard reflect the growing significance of high speed serial switched fabric interconnects. These are replacing traditional parallel communications bus architectures for local communications because of their increased performance.

Facebook's new data centre is home to numerous innovations

It is reasonable to assume that anyone reading this article has dealings, in some way, with a data centre. Whether it's through the use of social networking sites, buying goods and services online or accessing 'cloud computing', the data centre is an integral part of our lives.

Designers take a fresh look at power management system design

As programmable logic technology migrates into the power subsystem portion of a design, new capabilities are becoming available to engineers. The benefits of applying programmable logic technology to power management are realised when designers can step back and take a new look at the design, using PLDs as high level system components to create more integrated solutions.

Thermal management systems feel the heat

For every advance in the performance of systems in the semiconductor, microprocessor and computer industries, there is a corresponding increase in the operating heat generated. This means engineers face a constant battle between size and efficiency when it comes to finding the best thermal management solution.

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