Standardized Testing for Power Supplies with the Power Stamp Alliance
Transient load testing manufacturer LoadSlammer joined the Power Stamp Alliance (PSA) earlier this month, adding to work toward a standardized testing methodology.
Following the move, LoadSlammer estimates up to 30 percent saving in development time depending on users’ specific configurations. It marks the first time a multi-vendor alliance around DC-DC power conversion agrees to a shared testing methodology and tools.
LoadSlammer PRO 200. Image used courtesy of LoadSlammer.
The Power Stamp Alliance
First launched in 2018, the Power Stamp Alliance has defined a series of standard product footprints and functions for power stamps.
The Alliance specializes in multiple-sourced, standard modular board-mounted solutions for power conversion for 48Vin to low voltage, high current applications. These 48V, direct conversion DC-DC modules, also called 'power stamps', are mainly designed for devices used in large data centers, high-performance computing (HPC), and supercomputing applications.
Image courtesy of the Power Stamp Alliance.
The Alliance addresses a number of processor architectures, including ASICs, AI accelerators, FPGAs, GP-GPUs, ASSPs, CPUs, and network processors utilizing lower geometry like 3-nanometer technology.
PSA has in the past two years released a number of documents, including an Orcad Library and Allegro Footprint Package (Macro), a reference design board for high-current ASIC and/or FPGA chipsets, and a Controller Stamp Specification.
Fostering Power Electronics Expertise
The Power Stamp Alliance was founded by Advanced Energy’s subsidiary Artesyn Embedded Power, together with Bel Power Solutions, Flex, and STMicroelectronics.
Artesyn is a designer and manufacturer of power conversion solutions for communications, computing, server storage, healthcare, and industrial. The company’s portfolio of AC-DC power supplies, power shelves, and PDUs is mainly used in data centers.
Artesyn Embedded Power control centre. Image used courtesy of Artesyn.
Bel Power Solutions also offers AC-DC and DC-DC power conversion products for applications in board-mount power to system-level architectures for servers, storage, networking, industrial, and telecommunications industries.
Flex Power Modules, on the other hand, specializes in delivering power supply products for telecom, datacom, transportation, and industrial applications.
Finally, STMicroelectronics is a global semiconductor manufacturer, and its ST power management IC technology and architecture are driving the PSA products and enabling 48V direct power conversion in data center applications.
Defining a Standard Product Footprint
LoadSlammer joined PSA to help accelerate design and validation timescales by providing independent test tools for DC-DC power modules.
Using LoadSlammer technology, electronics design engineers can evaluate power stamp implementations on their circuit boards independently of any power solution or semiconductor vendor.
From a technical standpoint, the evaluation is measured in conjunction with large signal AC stimuli, also Known As "Transient Load Testing", thus establishing an understanding of the behavior of a vendor solution before implementing it into a system.
Since LoadSlammer is vendor agnostic and mobile, objective comparisons can be made against various solutions quicker than with traditional methods.
As evident from LoadSlammer's contribution to PSA, the company was created to test different power management solutions using a consistent testing methodology across multiple platforms.
To do so, the firm developed an independent test tool that reliably captures all the data needed to optimally validate designs.
According to LoadSlammer, determining the appropriateness of a DC-DC power supply has become harder due to the complexity of newer architectures like nonlinear control loops, multi-phase outputs, and microcontrollers.
Thanks to the company's configurable Test Tool suite, designers of DC-DC power solutions, Power IC vendors, and ASIC/CPU manufacturers can now share and compare data, which is also presented in an interchangeable format. This increases speed of development, as well as accuracy of compatibility estimates.