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The great power escape

Minimising power loss in power factor conversion (pfc) converters. By Aung Thet Tu.

As the appetite for consumer electronics and computers at home and in the workplace increases, the focus on the cost of power consumption – in financial terms and that of performance – has gained much greater attention. This demand to reduce power consumption at the user level is driving the trend to make internal and external power supplies more energy efficient than ever before.
For ac/dc power supplies rated from a hundred watts to those over one kilowatt, the overall efficiency is the product of the individual efficiencies of the power factor correction (pfc) pre-regulator stage and the downstream dc/dc converter stage. While there is a better understanding today of the cost/performance tradeoffs of dc/dc converters, innovation in pfc technology has lagged in terms of topologies and control techniques. However, this has recently begun to change and there are new ways that a power supply engineer can navigate through the various claims and confusing advice given for how to address these challenges.

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Aung Thet Tu

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