Until the pips squeak

1 min read

Have power supply manufacturers wrung the last drop of efficiency from their designs? By Mike Richardson.

Low cost, miniaturisation and efficiency... almost mantra like, these words are used to focus the system designer’s mind and to aid concentration as a preliminary to making the right choice of power supply specification. Buy cheap and you could live to regret your misplaced notion of saving pennies when field maintenance and repair ends up costing a fortune. Buy small and you’ll need a cool head to deal with potential thermal management issues. Buy efficiency, however, and by the time you’ve finished reading this story, you could be waving goodbye to expensive energy bills. The drive to improve efficiency as cost effectively as possible has become an enabler and manufacturers are keenly developing a broad range of complementary techniques to achieve efficiencies that continue to push the boundaries. Even at the giddy heights of 90% and beyond, every precious percentage gain is significant. Today, growing adoption of distributed power architectures (dpa) have had a profound influence, driving the development of point of load (pol) regulators which, in turn, reinforces the need for high efficiency front end ac/dc power supplies. Indeed, increasing efficiency has become the touchstone, not only for size reduction, but also for achieving environmental demands related to energy usage, audible noise, high frequency noise emissions and weight reductions.