Mentor Graphics looks to address the need for highly reliable power systems for electric and hybrid vehicles with the new MicReD 600A power tester

The energy demands of both consumer and industrial electronic systems are increasing, and power electronics component suppliers as well as OEMs are faced with the challenge of providing the highly reliable systems needed for electric and hybrid vehicles. The MicReD Power Tester 600A from Mentor Graphics supports automatic testing and diagnosis of possible failure causes of power components on the manufacturing floor by powering the modules through tens of thousands of cycles, while simultaneously providing real-time failure-in-progress diagnosis.

The Power Tester 600A provides maximum flexibility and is intended for use with parts that are mounted on an external cooling system such as a cold plate or direct liquid cooling. The Power Tester 600A is designed to operate at a high voltage under load current, 48V, so that multiple parts can be tested in series. It has 16 measurement channels, and the system is able to test devices that operate at as high as 3Vdc drop per part when under load. Each Power Tester 600A can be controlled separately using its own touch-screen computer. Alternatively, as many as eight systems can be connected together and controlled from a single centralised computer, allowing up to 128 parts to be tested concurrently as a single centrally controlled experiment. This exceeds the current requirement that most automotive OEMs place on their Tier 1 suppliers to test a minimum of 77 parts.

By using multiple systems, a statistically significant sample size can be tested for different powering conditions to generate the lifetime curves for different junction temperature swings within a few days or weeks, depending on the testing conditions. The testing is automated, so there is no need for operator intervention during the testing other than to remove or replace failed parts, greatly reducing the testing time. The system can operate 24x7 unattended, which minimizes the cost per part tested

The testing and characterisation data produced by the Power Tester 600A can be used in conjunction with the Mentor Graphics FloTHERM thermal simulation software to provide automated calibration of detailed package thermal models.

The Power Tester 600A supports the reliability needs of the supply chain across power electronics component vendors, Tier 1 suppliers, and automotive OEMs, helping to speed the introduction of new technologies such as wide-band–gap semiconductors, while ensuring high reliability of automotive EV, and HEV powertrain and other high-power applications to minimise field failures and warranty costs.