Microchip Technology Introduces New Online “Intelligent Power Supply” Design Center

October 05, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Microchip Technology Inc. announced an online Intelligent Power-Supply Design Center. The comprehensive Web site provides technical tools and resources needed to design analog power-supply applications, augment existing analog power-supply applications with inexpensive microcontrollers, or design Switch-Mode Power Supply (SMPS) applications involving digital control of the power-conversion feedback loop. The Design Center offers complete access to Microchip's power-supply application notes and reference designs, which include everything from a pure analog approach to completely digital implementations. Links to Microchip simulation tools (including the Mindi™ simulation tool for battery charger and power-supply circuits) and other technical documentation are included, to help engineers get their products to market more quickly and efficiently.

The Intelligent Power-Supply Design Center offers design tools at each of four levels of digital integration into power supplies. Level one involves an 8-bit microcontroller used to implement simple functions, such as soft start. At level two, the loop is still analog, yet an 8- or 16-bit microcontroller provides basic proportional control. The loop is also still analog at level three, yet an 8- or 16-bit microcontroller or Digital Signal Controller (DSC) can modify the topology of the power supply. At level four of digital integration into power supplies, the power-conversion loop is fully digital and managed by a DSC with specialized peripherals.

"Microchip is pleased to continue supporting to the power-supply market with our Intelligent Power-Supply Design Center," said Lucio Di Jasio, Application Segments Manager with Microchip. "From completely analog to analog-based designs that incorporate digital to varying degrees, the Design Center is an easy-to-use, free resource to help designers get their products to market faster and continue to develop their knowledge with up-to-date Webinars and design tips."

Microchip has long provided inexpensive PIC® microcontroller and analog products to the power-supply market, and recently announced a new family of dsPIC® DSCs (dsPIC30F1010/2020/2023) for full digital control of SMPSs. iSuppli senior power management analyst, Marijana Vukisevic, said the following regarding the new DSCs: "Microchip's dsPIC DSCs for SMPSs offer the unique combination of small package, low price and high performance that enables power-supply designers to enjoy the benefits of digital power, such as freedom to innovate, ease-of-manufacturing and design changes on-the-fly through firmware, rather than hardware. Further, with their high-performance ADC, PWM and analog- comparator peripherals that enable cycle-by-cycle current limiting, these devices were clearly designed specifically for SMPSs, with a deep understanding of the specific needs of these types of applications."