Many digital power functions moving to state machine-based control
One of the trends I saw at APEC 2013 this year was a move away from full –blown DSP/high level processor control to a “keep it simple” state-machine, less powerful, but lower power control solution for many digital power applications.
State machine control system reduces the complexity of control-loop implementation (less number of gates in the IC) and lowers power consumption as compared to a DSP or higher level processor solution such as a 32 bit device.
Designers are choosing the state machine approach for simpler digital function solutions, while the more complex digital power functions still use the bigger, more powerful processors.
Microchip takes the “Intelligent Power” approach using either the PIC microcontroller or the dsPIC Digital signal Controller. Both of these controller solutions are lower power options in digital power control.
To round out some other types of simple digital power functions that are lower power we have:
Linear Technology PMBus digital power management IC’s offer essential functions at low power consumption, including power supply monitoring, supervision, margining and sequencing, and feature EEPROM for storing user configurations and fault logging. The LTpowerPlay system is a Windows based development environment that supports Linear Technology digital power ICs with EEPROM, including the LTC2977 8-Channel PMBus Power System Manager with a simple internal controller.Intersil’s Zilker Labs digital power solutions have a simple internal controller and PMBus with module solutions like ZL9117M and PWM controllers like ZL8101
IR has a series of PWM digital controllers that are power saving also.And finally CUI has a pretty unique approach that NSM2P No-bus modules for customers who value the efficiency and compensation advantages inherent in digital power but do not want to incorporate digital bus communication in their systems. The modules allow customers to access a full suite of digital parameters during the development stage where the desired functions can be tested and manipulated within the system through a module header connected to CUI's simple to use GUI.
Please feel free to add your comments and insights as well as other supplier's solutions we may have missed.