In my series of blogs I have been covering power electronics online design tools. In this blog I want to diverge from that topic. I am doing this because power electronics are physical circuits with quirks that result from the parasitics.
When a circuit becomes highly physical and spreads across FR4 real estate, parasitics result. Add in voltage and current switched at high frequency and you have issues. Furthering this mystique is the way in which topologies have their own little hidden nuances such as the right half plane zero and/or the moving zero due to capacitor ESR that changes over temperature along with the capacitance itself. Modelling only goes so far in terms of addressing these anomalies. Similarly, application notes and data sheets might address a specific application yet they fall short of the reality in which some circuits settle into as a result of the space left over in a product after the sexier electronics are implemented. In other words, final products don’t always have the luxury of laying out a circuit like you did. Beyond that, power is mostly custom so design modifications are almost always a part of the game.
So where do you turn for this information? I started by searching for the top power management companies. Then I visited their websites for more information. It was a scary journey as I found some of my material still existed; scary in the fact that I realized how much I’ve forgotten over the years. It was enough to make Curly grimace and say, “Ngraa!”
In terms of relevance, there is a lot of older material that still has an impact today. Even after a graduate stint at Virginia Tech, I find myself still pulling out the old Unitrode material when I want to brush up on topics. It’s getting harder and harder to find buried among the Texas Instruments website however I’m still very grateful for the hard work put in by Lloyd Dixon, Bob Mammano, and Bill Andrecyk. Here’s a somewhat usable directory to this information at Unitrode. I’m not putting TI down here as they have a really good directory on power electronics at http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/analog/powermanagement/technical-documents.page
Fairchild is another company that addresses the fringe occurrences in power electronics. They have these subjects in terms of presentations at Fairchild Power Seminars as well as a blog on subjects at: Fairchild blogs.
Linear Tech is a power player known for establishing niche areas in upcoming markets. I took the technology route when investigating their offerings and came up with this website from youtube Linear Technology on YouTube. In addition to addressing educational subjects, there are several videos on company history that took me down nostalgia row. After 30 years in this industry I can foresee a future blog on the history of power electronics and how it has evolved.
I’ve touched on a few of the power management companies yet none of them is a “tweener” like Power Integrations. To me a “tweener” is in between a power management IC and a power semiconductor. Power Integrations invented this hybrid product with a guerilla tactic of entering an established market that was overlooking the obvious. Others soon followed. Although it took a bit of tab clicking, I found this website on Design Support to contain some useful information: Power Integrations Design Support.
This blog could go on and on as there are so many solutions out there for power management. But then again, it’s a blog which is supposed to quickly address a subject rather than turn it into a full length report. An industry editor once told me that subjects revolve every eight months based on readership. If you’re company was not addressed here, there will be a future opportunity for exposure. Depending on demand, it may not be eight months.
At the very least, I hope my articles convince Microsoft Word that parasitics is in fact an acceptable spelling in the English language. The red line you continuously put under the word parasitics gives me uncomfortable flashbacks to the grading techniques of my physics professor Dr. Kinsey. That’s not the least of my Bill “Hates”.