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Thanks Zhenyu and Dave---see you soon---maybe at APEC?

Well, this has defintely been an exciting hour of discusson. Time goes fast and I do have to run to another event. Thanks a lot, Steve and everyone else.


Thanks you Steve.  This was enjoyable.


The state machine is often a peripheral to the microcontroller so that you get the needed power management and the control through the peripheral.  The state machine is certainly less flexible but the application sometimes does not require full flexibility only configurability.  State machines are smaller and less power hugry but this is also while they are oftem less powerful.


Well, I really want to thank our experts Dave Freeman and Zhenyu Yu for their participation and expertise in this session.


I also want to thank our reader @Analoging for the excellent questions and comments. 

I should have said "narrowly targeted" ...


Steve, my option is that those controllers will exsit, but will focus on narrowed targeted simple digital pweor applciations becasue most other digital power applications would like to benefit more from digital power than just a simplisitic digital power control loop.


@Zhenyu---certainly stste machine designs cannot come close to the performance and capabilites of the C2000

@Steve, yes, until digital power (or I should say "true digital"), microcontrollers are really only used as a system supervisory or communication type of device in more sophisticarted power applications. The latest digital power oriented micro controllers like the C2000 family allowed users to achieve the needed contro loop performances by runnign the compensation or control scheme in s/w and at the same time achieve the addtional system supervisory and communcaiton functions, in a more sophisticated way most of the time, also by running s/w. Thus, opening up a huge amoung of possibilities and advances in power.


What are your thoughts on state machine controllers for simple Digital Power applications?

@Zhenyu and @freedave---The microcontroller is certainly something that has been missing or rarely used in power designs until true Digital Power solutions came along.

It is all about resources and managing.  Many digital controllers have integrated ADC that can be used to monitor and measure signals like voltage and current.  Devices like the C2000 class, can sample simultaneouly so power can be accurately measured.  The computational and memory can be used to calculate the phase of volatge and current and provide power factor measurment.  However, if the PFC is doing its job the power factor should be good.


More elegant startup sequence such as in an LLC resonant converter case, such as from hard PWM'g or burst mode to true resonant mode, is antoher area that's made easy with digital power.


Efficiency across load range, power factor performance across line conditions and load range, transient performance across line and load conditions are areas that can greatly benefit from digital power.


@freedave----power measurement is a really nice added feature that is pretty easily done in digital rather than analog---can you comment on power measurement techniques in digital power systems and power factor determination as well?

@Steve, Digital power first adds inteligence and smartness in AC/DC rectifier. Secondly, it provides high efficiency and performance across load conditions. So, it's integration, performance improvement and increased efficiency.


The AC/DC rectifier benefits by using digital power high frequency control to help reduce size while maintaining or some cases increasing efficiencies.  The other benefit is the digital communication with the system.  The AC/DC rectifiers often have power measurment built into them and this is any easy thing for digital controllers to implement.


@Zhenyu---TI's reference designs have certainly made for a much faster time to market for power designers. Gerber files with optimum layouts plus the Bill of materials are critical to designers

@freedave---As analog designers, we certainly appreciate it when ringing and EMI are controlled so they do not affect our sensitive circuitry

Going back to the topic of reference designs. Most of our development kits are converted to TI Desuigns. So, if you just need a design reference, the following are some examples:

TI Designs: Two-Phase Interleaved Power Factor Correction Converter with Power Metering - tidm-2philpfc

TI Designs: Resonant LLC Half-Bridge DC/DC Converter - tidm-resllc-dcdc

TI Designs: Phase-Shifted Full Bridge DC/DC Power Converter - tidm-psfb-dcdc


Steve, yes the certainly are expected to.  The device have speed in common, they are very fast.  Another area that digital power could help is to reduce the ringing and emi that results from these very sharp edges.  Using methods that less disipative than snubbers and such could be aided by digital control.


What advantages might Digital power have in Digitally controlled AC/DC rectifiers?

@freedave---SiC and GaN are really coming into their own with so many new applications. Digital Power can provide the boost to efficiency and performance to take them to the next level--don't you think?

One of the areas that the industry seems to ignore is thinking about what digital control could do different.  Many times the engineer settles for analog emulation.  Digital could do much more.  For example IGBTs often use non-linear gate drive in large power systems.  Digital could bring this to SiC given that we have such high resolution control.  What would this bring to opitmizing these WBG systems?


@freedave---That's another great feature of Digital Power---the capability of integrating such things as LiIon monitoring and safety features as well as the proper charging algorithms

Hello Steve, this is where there would be a natural advange of having the LI-Ion monitoring couple to the power conversion.  Detecting the state of health and changing the way the battery is charged and discharge could help these safety issues be reduced.  The power converter knows what it is providing it just need to know how the battery is responding.


I second Dave on this. Demonstrating the benefit of high switching fequency and high-resoltuion PWM in digital power is another area of focus for us.


@freedave---we hear a great deal nowadays about Lithium Ion fores and failures in the cells---is there anything extra Digital Power can bring to that solution?

Probably the greatest benefit is that the digital controllers can opperate at very percise edge placment at high frequencies.  This would allow higher frequencies and therefore much smaller pasivies translating to lower cost and less wait.  Lithium Ion management could be coulped into the converter control.


My team team and I are working on addressing the challenges of adapting TI's reference solution to customer's board, modeling and design of the control or compensation loop, and tuning of the control loop. I hope those are the right areas of focus. Let me know if you disagree.


@analoging has some great questions about how to reduce costs and improve performance for inverters and Li ion batteries in electric vehicles---a very hot market

@Steve, thatnks for the vote of confidence. Now I do like to use this opportunity to hear about some of the challenges engineers face when working with digital power.


@Zhenyu---yes--that's the market I am interested in---the 400VDC conversion down to lower voltages---the "last mile" so to speak

@Zhenyu---I am very familiar with you and your team's expertise and I am sure you will come up with some designs that are very effective as you have done in the past

Though we do have multiple soltutions for the traditional 400V t o48V/12B DC/DC as I mentioned already.


Hello analoging, SiC certainly does have great promice for solar.  The diodes have been used for awhile.  Not that the FETS are droping in price greatly this is a big opportuntiy.


@freedave---right, that's exactly the markets I see that will have significant growth going forward

Great discussion thus far. Interested in hearing opinions on how to reduce costs and improve performance for inverters and Li ion batteries in electric vehicles. 


@Steve, I see. We have certainly head about it quite a bit and have also supported some custoemr engagement aimed at coming out with solutions for this new concept. But, my team has not yet done a specific kit of reference design for this.


@analoging----SiC power inverters are certainly of interest in 400 VDC power----what experience do you have with Digital Power---any questions for our experts?

This could be for a server where it is in a 380V data center and you need to bring 380VDC down to 48V or 12V.  This 380V-400V has synergy from telecom to Server to automobiles to stationary energy storage.


@Zhenyu---those are good designs for 400 VDC. I am thinking of the telecom central office and server farms who need to replace the -48v power and save copper costs with 400 VDC

Keep posted to the site for an article coming out soon I authored on SiC power inverters. It should be published in the coming days. Pres. Obama climate change executive order will at least indirectly boost solar market including inverters.


Steve, I am not sure what exact type of 400VDC you are referring to. We are actively working on a 400V-12V bidrectional DC/DC as a kit for EV/HEV application. We do also have released a PSFB 400V to 12V iso DC/DC kit and a LLC 400V to 12V DC/DC.


@freedave---that sounds pretty neat. Another easy way for power designers to make use of the advantages of Digital Power without having to be digital or software experts

I would like to hear what the attendees think about digital power black box products.  These are digital power controllers that are preprogrammed to control a topology but the user can configure their parameters to achieve specific functionality.  A micro-inverter might be an example.


That's great Zhenyu---micro solar is a pretty hot topic among our readers. Have you done a design or are considering any designs for the 400 VDC market?

Hi, Steve, it's great to see you here. I am excited about this opportunity to discuss digital power with everyone. We have recently introduced our fist micor solar inverter development kit and also the revampled bridgeless PFC kit.


Hello Zhenyu---It's great to be working with you again. What is new in the C2000 family regarding Digital Power reference designs?

Hello, I am here and happy to answre whatever questions you may have for me.


Hi Dave---welocme and thanks for joining us.


Readers, please ask any questions or comment regarding Digital Power

Hello and Welcome to Ask the Experts.  Digital power has become a key enabler for WBG devices.  Nearly all work presented on power eneable with WBG is controlled digitally.


@Netcrawl----stay tuned for a great session today---we have some of the best Digital Power experts in the industry

Great topic, the sophistication of power management is increasing, in the past, power management functions have been realized using a plethora of ICs. Today newer power management ICs combine combine multiple functions nad can control all the rails in a board.


A surprise guest may join us---Bob Mammano, A pioneer in the power electronics industry who developed the pulse-width modulation (PWM) controller IC industry, the SG1524, in 1974. Mammano was the founder of power IC divisions at both Silicon General and Unitrode (now part of Texas Instruments)

Our second Digital Power expert is:

Dave Freeman, Chief Technologist

Dave Freeman is a Texas Instruments Fellow and CTO for the Power Management business unit at TI. Dave has expertise in the areas of battery management ranging from charging to capacity estimation.  Dave joined TI in 1999 through the Unitrode acquisition. In the areas of power management, he covers low power DC/DC, high frequency power conversion and digitally controlled power.  Other areas of focus for Dave are renewable energy systems and low power energy harvesting. Addition interest includes sensors and analytical methods used to evaluate physical properties of materials.  Dave works closely with the power research group inside TI's Kilby Labs.  Dave has a BS degree in Physics from Midwestern State University.

Zhen Yu Bio (continued)

He has taken responsibility first in applications development, then business development for China, Asia and worldwide, followed by digital power end equipment marketing, and digital power and motor control systems applications. During his expatriate assignment in China, Yu was also responsible for forming and leading a talented team of C2000 MCU business development manager and field application engineers there.

Yu received his Ph.D. degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Beihang University in Beijing, China.

One of our Digital Power experts is Zhen Yu, Systems Engineering Manager, C2000 Microcontroller

As systems engineering team manager, Yu is responsible for C2000™ microcontroller (MCU) systems solution development, strategic customer engagement and support, and systems requirement for C2000 MCU products.

Since joining TI in 1995, Yu has also worked as an applications engineer, business development manager, end equipment marketing manager and systems application team manager. 

Power management is a vital part to every design. Having the best power supply for your system ensures a robust design as well as a design that will perform at its highest levels. With the industry initiatives in Digital Power, the realm of Power Management has reached new levels of performance with features never before attainable in a purely analog power management design.

On November 19, 2014 at 1 PM ET (10 AM PT) we will have two Texas Instruments experts available to answer any questions and help you with your designs in our one hour chat session. Our experts will be:

Zhen Yu, Systems Engineering Manager, C2000 Microcontroller and Dave Freeman, Chief Technologist

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