Digital power control modules have been around since the early 1980s. But in power management, where reliability is the highest priority, many engineers have been hesitant to move away from analog controls due to their reliability, low maintenance, and because they’ve been in place in some systems for decades. These modules now have to keep up with new digital technologies, more complex systems, and a sharper focus on how power management impacts the bottom line.
Wondering if the change is worth it? Here are three things to know if you’re contemplating the transformation from analog to digital.
1. Digital controls complement today’s digital applications
Analog controls are simple, inexpensive, reliable, and easy to maintain. That’s why they have been the prime choice for managing voltage regulators since their invention.
But technology continues to evolve and influence the way we work. Modern applications are digital and today’s communications and networking devices need digital controls to run well. Digital controls help maintain low standby power use. They also utilize features to help businesses undergoing complex integrations and internal rapid growth. Industrial computing, telecommunications, and wireless communication systems all require multiple power lines and voltages that can only be supported efficiently with digital controls.
For these applications, analog solutions are rigid and bulky. Digital control of analog voltage regulators simplifies the design of systems. It also eases the addition of voltage lines late in a product’s development cycle. Most designs increase power and power spend, but digital reduces it.
2. Digital management improves your bottom line
Digital controls also offer a vast number of management and configuration options — options that, when applied well, impact your bottom line. Real-time and historical data gathering make it possible to analyze performance data and continually make power management efficiency improvements. It allows greater precision and control of the output.
Remote management makes it more accessible. You can turn on and off power supplies, monitor status, tweak parameters, and more, all from anywhere in the world. You can increase uptime and efficiency even further with continual monitoring, system status logging, and defined alert triggers.
Even with the latest digital features, manufacturing improvements and competition are steadily driving down the cost of digital components and control software. We can help you transition to a modern digital power control system.
3. Flex Power Designer gives you more control
The conversion to digital has many benefits. Modern digital power controllers meet reliability standards. They’re also flexible, scalable, and cost-effective — giving more control to engineers and power management professionals.
Our digital power system manager, Flex Power Designer, helps engineers create more efficient and cost-effective systems for design and ongoing operations. And it’s easy to incorporate into your existing system. Connect a PC to a board through the dedicated USB-to-PMBus adaptor to kick off communication with your power modules.
Go beyond converter configuration to view, configure, and improve the entire power system, right in Flex Power Designer. You can view, analyze, and define relationships across rails — including phase spreading, sequencing, and fault spreading. Flex Power Designer also offers system functions for sequencing, tracking, paralleling, and synchronization/phase spreading configuration.
The built-in simulation feature provides power-stage analysis to enhance tuning and visualize design behavior against your power requirements such as transient response, output impedance, and power dissipation.