Power Management

Steve Taranovich
Editor/Tech Writer
In-depth technical information, product advancements, and industry news for engineers responsible for designing, specifying, or selecting power sources for electronics applications. Topics include power supplies, power management and regulation components, batteries, digital power, and alternative energy technology.

Automotive SMT fuses don't explode

AEM's new fuses are optimized for EVs, but useful anywhere extra safety is desired. Read More...

SIMPLIS vs. SPICE: Which is Better for Simulating Power Circuits?

Which engine would you choose for your power supply circuit? By establishing the desired outcome from simulation, we can objectively compare the differences between the two engines in question, SIMPLIS and SPICE. Read More...

Power Tips #80: Compensating for diode drop variations

As useful as the rectification properties of diodes are, the forward voltage drop they create can vary widely with temperature. This increases losses and can introduce tolerance errors in power supplies. Read More...

HV Corotron monitors diesel emissions

Concerns over diesel emissions are nothing new. Read how some old-school tech handled measurements with the help of many, many volts. Read More...

Keeping it safe: The lithium-ion battery

As lithium ion batteries become more prevalent in all of our electronics, there is a lot of circuitry keeping them from exploding to consider. We will discuss the numerous protection architectures out there and pros and cons of it. Read More...

Beware the TO-220

“When is a TO-220 not a TO-220?” is your Zen exercise today. Take care this package variation doesn’t bite you. Read More...

Discrete JFETs still prominent in design: Low input voltage power supply

Depletion mode devices and JFETs, in particular, still have a place in analog design. Read More...

High performance resistors for custom power supplies

This article will look at the use of resistors in regulating the power supply output and protecting the supply from faults. Read More...

Using a power accumulator for real-time power measurements

Power accumulators enable a variety of applications that require average power measurement. One example is real-time measurement of switching converter efficiency, which permits converter efficiency evaluation over time and varying operating conditions. Read More...

How many MIT grads does it take to hook up a light bulb?

Engineers weigh in on the importance of teaching the principles of engineering as well as the practice. Read More...

Microgrid musings of an EE

A microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid. Read More...

Energy-storage options: abundant alternatives and tricky tradeoffs

Energy storage is a complementary function to its generation, and getting both to be well-matched in a given application is not easy. Read More...

Whipping a cheap LED PSU into usable shape

You get what you pay for, and sometimes not even that, but even a cheap Chinese PSU can be improved with some judicious tinkering. Read More...

Build your own oscilloscope probes for power measurements (part 2)

In this concluding part, learn how to design and construct an n:1 voltage probe and two high-frequency current probes. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

LTC Design Note: 60V Low Iq buck has adjustable gate drive

High efficiency, low Iq, and its signature programmable gate-drive voltage, distinguish this dual-buck controller. Read More...

Turn negative regulator “upside-down” to create bipolar supply from single source

This simple regulator hookup is perfect when you need a non-critical secondary voltage of opposite polarity. Read this new DI from Stephen Woodward. Read More...

LTC Design Note: High-voltage, high-efficiency, positive-to-negative converter

A highly versatile converter, featuring programmable frequency, a 150V input range, and outputs to –60V. It simplifies the design of automotive and industrial supplies with control signals referenced to host ground. Read More...

LTC Design Note: High efficiency, 15V rail-to-rail output synchronous step-down regulator can source or sink 5A

The LTC3623 step-down regulator enables compact POL solutions that can source or sink 5A without significant thermal mitigation. Power capability is easily expanded by paralleling devices. Read More...

SEPIC/Ćuk converter sprouts second output

Here are the devilish details for creating a two-output SEPIC-Ćuk converter. Read More...

LTC Design Note: 560V Input, no-opto isolated flyback converter

This switcher operates at a wide input voltage range of 18V to 560V, delivering up to 15W of isolated output power. It requires no opto-coupler, and includes rich features such as low ripple burst mode operation, soft-start, programmable current limit, undervoltage lockout, temperature compensation, and low quiescent current. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Bidirectional DC/DC regulator and supercapacitor charger

Combine a supercapacitor charge controller with a robust DC-DC to make a wide input-range supply with transient ride-out. Read More...

Protect your boost converter

This Design Idea addresses boost converters’ inherent short-circuit vulnerability while also providing reverse-polarity protection. Read More...

Body diodes simplify UPS & energy recovery circuits

This circuit sketch shows how to turn body-diode lemons into lemonade. Read More...

Capacitor self-diagnostics

Electrolytic capacitors are often a system’s weak link. This Design Idea helps you keep tabs on their condition. Read More...

LTC Design Note: 42V quad monolithic synchronous step-down regulator with 30μA quiescent current

This circuit impresses with four 2.2MHz bucks in a tiny package. Read More...

Charge-pump topology doubles voltage, breaks DC path

This unusual charge-pump voltage multiplier Design Idea not only doubles the input, but has a pseudo-floating output. Read More...

Circuit delivers constant power to a load

Here’s a novel way to supply constant power to an ill-defined load. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Determine balancing current for the LTC3305 lead-acid battery balancer

Delve into PTC thermistor intricacies to optimize battery-balancing designs. Read More...

LM317 smooths but doesn't regulate

I once needed to clean up a power supply output, but it didn't need to be regulated. Read More...

UVP protects rechargeable batteries

Protect rechargeable batteries from deep discharge with this UVP & load switch. Read More...

New slope compensation method stabilizes switchers

Add slope compensation to any switching controller and topology. Read More...

Circuit remotely adjusts PSU voltage

This DI circuit allows for remote regulator/PSU programmability or trimming. Read More...

LTC Design Note: 55V High efficiency buck-boost power manager and multi-chemistry battery charger

A versatile, efficient, multi-chemistry battery charger design operates in buck & boost modes. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Automotive SMT fuses don't explode

AEM's new fuses are optimized for EVs, but useful anywhere extra safety is desired. Read More...

Buck-boost controller handles up to 150 V

The LTC3779 buck-boost switching regulator controller from Linear Technology operates over an input voltage range of 4.5 V to 150 V. Read More...

Increasing efficiency of offline flyback power conversion

The next generation of Power Integrations’ Innoswitch has somehow managed to improve the efficiency to a level of 94%. Read More...

Wireless receiver suits mobile devices

A wireless power receiver, the MAX77950 from Maxim, operates as a transmitter in PeerPower mode to enable peer device power transfer. Read More...

SiC MOSFET comes in TO-263 package

Richardson RFPD offers the Wolfspeed C3M0075120J silicon-carbide power MOSFET, as well as design support for the N-channel enhancement-mode device. Read More...

Converters target microgrids, data centers

Industrial DC/DC converters from Powerbox operate with an input voltage of 180 V to 425 V and deliver up to 750 W in three packaging formats. Read More...

Low-current converter maintains efficiency

Operating in burst mode, the LT8362 DC/DC converter from Linear Technology consumes as little as 9 µA of quiescent current. Read More...

PMICs for hearables are power-stingy

The MAX77650 and MAX77651 PMICs from Maxim boast a standby current of just 0.3µA and an operating current of only 5.6 µA. Read More...

Buck regulator delivers 20 A

The LTC7150S from Linear Technology is a 20 V, 20 A monolithic synchronous buck converter with differential output-voltage remote sensing. Read More...

Charger enables seamless backup

A lithium-ion battery-backup management IC, Linear Technology’s LTC4091 keeps 3.45 V to 4.45 V supply rails active during a power failure. Read More...

Measure 16 temperatures, controlled online

The WebDAQ 316 from Measurement Computing lets you measure 16 thermocouple channels and includes a built-in web server. Read More...

Buck regulator is 105 V input-capable

An input range of 4.4 V to 105 V enables Linear Technology’s LTC7103 regulator to operate from an input that experiences high-voltage surges. Read More...

LED driver packs PWM generator

Linear Technology’s LT3932 step-down DC/DC converter offers fixed-frequency, peak current control and PWM dimming for a string of LEDs. Read More...

IGBT module handles 150 A

Infineon expands its family of IGBT modules with the EconoPIM 3, a package that allows the current rating to be increased from 100 A to 150 A. Read More...

Switching regulators boost efficiency

CUI expands its lineup of nonisolated DC switching regulators with four series of devices that achieve typical efficiency of up to 96%. Read More...

High-side driver boasts 100% duty cycle

A high-side N-channel MOSFET driver, the LTC7001 from Linear Technology operates with a supply voltage of up to 150 V. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Teardown: Is the Mighty Charger a good investment?

Is a charger for alkaline batteries a good investment? And what internal circuitry helps it accomplish this objective? This review and teardown project attempts to answer both questions. Read More...

Teardown: Apple iPhone 6 Plus battery

A look at Apple's iPhone 6 battery helps nail down the one variable that determines manufacturing cost. Read More...

Teardown: Cell-phone charger: nice idea done right

The Mophie juice pack powerstation mini smartphone and USB-device battery charger demonstrates the ability to provide more than twice the battery life to your smartphone while still keeping a low-profile shape that slips right into your pocket. Read More...

Teardown: Gigabit Ethernet switch shut down by lightning strike

A lightning bolt-generated EMP may have entered through the switch's port(s) and KO'd the controller inside. What are your theories? Read More...

Teardown: Samsung Galaxy S4

TechInsights examines the innards of Samsung's latest and greatest smartphone. Read More...

Cell-phone charger: nice idea, bad implementation

Now and again you come across a device that’s so simple, useful, and functional that you’re glad to add it to your already-overladen workbag; that is, until it breaks, for the dumbest of design reasons. Read More...

Teardown: The power inverter - from sunlight to power grid

This teardown of a solar inverter card traces the path of harvested DC power from the photovoltaic panel, through boost conversion, power inverter and massive filtering of the created AC power signal required by the power grid. Surrounded by monitoring and microcontroller magic along with safety standard adherence, we uncover the mysteries of solar energy harvesting electronics. Read More...

Evaluate your application's energy-harvesting vibrational profile with a Slam Stick

To know whether your application is suitable for vibrational energy harvesting, you must determine its vibrational profile. Mide Technology's Slam Stick data logger and open-source software can ease your profiling task. Read More...

What's inside a smart meter? iFixit tears it down

When iFixit's Kyle Wiens had the opportunity to tear down an Elster smart meter, he jumped at it—not to come up with a repair manual but to evaluate the health and safety issues that seem to surround the utilities’ installation of smart meters. Read More...

Simple battery technology packs in more features with complex chemistries

The basic components are the same across all rechargeable lithium-ion cells, the workhorses of portable energy storage. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

SIMPLIS vs. SPICE: Which is Better for Simulating Power Circuits?

Which engine would you choose for your power supply circuit? By establishing the desired outcome from simulation, we can objectively compare the differences between the two engines in question, SIMPLIS and SPICE. Read More...

Keeping it safe: The lithium-ion battery

As lithium ion batteries become more prevalent in all of our electronics, there is a lot of circuitry keeping them from exploding to consider. We will discuss the numerous protection architectures out there and pros and cons of it. Read More...

Discrete JFETs still prominent in design: Low input voltage power supply

Depletion mode devices and JFETs, in particular, still have a place in analog design. Read More...

Cascade topology-based medium voltage motor drives: Operation theory and silicon options

The basic operating principles of the Cascade H Bridge topology for higher voltage motor drives will be explained in this article, along with a brief review of some suitable new power modules. Read More...

High performance resistors for custom power supplies

This article will look at the use of resistors in regulating the power supply output and protecting the supply from faults. Read More...

Using a power accumulator for real-time power measurements

Power accumulators enable a variety of applications that require average power measurement. One example is real-time measurement of switching converter efficiency, which permits converter efficiency evaluation over time and varying operating conditions. Read More...

Microgrid musings of an EE

A microgrid is a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources within clearly defined electrical boundaries that act as a single controllable entity with respect to the grid. Read More...

Build your own oscilloscope probes for power measurements (part 2)

In this concluding part, learn how to design and construct an n:1 voltage probe and two high-frequency current probes. Read More...

Build your own oscilloscope probes for power measurements (part 1)

When bandwidth and cost are limiting your measurements, consider building your own probes. In Part 1 of 2, learn what it takes to build a 1:1 and n:1 voltage probe. Read More...

Man’s endeavor to live beyond planet Earth

NASA Earth-independent activities are building on what they learn on the International Space Station and in deep space to enable human missions to the Martian surface. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

HV Corotron monitors diesel emissions

Concerns over diesel emissions are nothing new. Read how some old-school tech handled measurements with the help of many, many volts. Read More...

Beware the TO-220

“When is a TO-220 not a TO-220?” is your Zen exercise today. Take care this package variation doesn’t bite you. Read More...

How many MIT grads does it take to hook up a light bulb?

Engineers weigh in on the importance of teaching the principles of engineering as well as the practice. Read More...

Energy-storage options: abundant alternatives and tricky tradeoffs

Energy storage is a complementary function to its generation, and getting both to be well-matched in a given application is not easy. Read More...

Whipping a cheap LED PSU into usable shape

You get what you pay for, and sometimes not even that, but even a cheap Chinese PSU can be improved with some judicious tinkering. Read More...

Dead meters expose battery terminal design issues

When $1000 worth of meters die, an engineer must investigate and critique the design. Read More...

Catenary feed seems like it can’t possibly work, yet it does

The dilemma is that I know the high-power catenary system works, yet my “gut” tells me such a high-speed sliding-contact carrying hundreds of amps can’t really work well. Read More...

Power Tips #78: Synchronous rectifiers improve cross-regulation in flyback power supplies

The flyback is a logical choice when choosing a system topology that must generate multiple outputs from a single power supply. Read More...

Power Tips #77: Designing a CCM flyback converter

This article will provide the power stage design equations for a 53 VDC to 12V at 5A CCM flyback converter. Read More...

How 5G is changing data centers

While there is perhaps a general perception to the contrary, 5G systems are no longer just the subject of research within major telecoms companies or the topic of conference presentations at industry forums. Read More...

Cheap FET driver? Buyers, beware!

What could possibly go wrong using FETs arranged in an H-bridge to control a motorized hospital bed? Turns out, a lot. Read More...

Power Tips #76: Flyback converter design considerations

Flyback converters can appear intimidating and the design choices are many, especially for those who have not designed one before. Let’s look at some key design considerations. Read More...

Neutral woes

More AC line troubles and dangerous peaks, this time due to the 240V neutral. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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