Microchip Technology, a leading provider of microcontroller and analogue semiconductors, has released an intelligent power-supply design centre website that provides technical tools and resources needed to design analogue power-supply applications, augment existing analogue 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 centre offers complete access to Microchip's power-supply application notes and reference designs, which include everything from a pure analogue 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 centre 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 analogue, yet an 8- or 16-bit microcontroller provides basic proportional control. The loop is also still analogue 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 specialised peripherals.
Microchip is to continue supporting the power-supply market with intelligent power-supply design centre. From completely analogue to analogue-based designs that incorporate digital to varying degrees, the design centre 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 analogue products to the power-supply market, and recently announced a new family of dsPIC DSCs (DsPIC0F1010/2020/2030) for full digital control of SMPSs. iSuppli had the following to say regarding the new DSCs that 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.