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The digital power revolution - Sponsored Tutorial

Choosing the right DSP controller platform for the digital power revolution. By Olivier Monnier.

Cost effective and powerful processors have allowed many systems that were purely analogue to now use digital solutions. For example, high quality electric motors are now controlled almost exclusively by digital systems based on microcontrollers or digital signal processors, with motor speed and torque set precisely through secondary control of current and voltage.
Boosted by the need to save energy, it has become clear that systems can be optimised using tight digital regulation and smart energy efficient algorithms. But this requires Digital Signal Controllers. For instance, Power Factor Correction is enabling significant energy savings for digital motor control and in power related applications such as welding machines. In this case, digital solutions are enabling inverter control, as well as the optimisation of system power consumption.
But this is not the case where the amplitude and frequency of current and voltage need to be controlled. Here, analogue control is still predominant, although the trend is towards digital control.
Microcontrollers and Digital Signal Controllers have been used for monitoring and supervision, with current loop regulation performed by discrete analogue components. In a digital power system, current regulation is performed inside a DSP Controller. Texas Instruments has developed the C2000 DSP Controller family, which can not only close current loops, but also provide diagnostics, supervisory functions and real time sequencing.

Olivier Monnier

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