The Precision of Power

September 4, 2019 Alix Paultre

Everyone desires precision, regardless of the application space. Be it a hairstyle or a house, clean, precise work stands out. Precision isn’t just important for looks, the more precise a solution is, the better it can serve the task it was created for. However, precision isn’t a given. It can only be achieved with proper and accurate performance feedback and exact measurements. You can’t draw a precise line without a straightedge, and you can’t build a decent house without a square, a level, and a tape measure (at the very least).

Power electronics has been in a renaissance of precision since the advent of digital power. The ability to accurately monitor and control the performance in an electronic circuit with ICs has revolutionized power management. Not only that, digital power management became one of the primary stepping stones to the Industrial IoT. The digital revolution has also been recently enhanced by the mainstream availability of advanced devices based on wide-bandgap semiconductors.

However, while the material advances in components are significant, they do more to increase efficiencies and power densities than improve precision. Next-generation circuits will be more inherently precise, but without proper feedback and management, they will not achieve optimum performance. Actually, denser and more efficient circuits demand better command and control, as peak performance is the only way to achieve maximum cost-effectiveness.

It is important to not forget the power circuits when establishing an automated system of any kind, as one should use every aspect of a system’s functionality, and the ability to control your power management in a granular manner will pay off in improved system performance. With so many companies developing products based on modular integration, for example, it is easy to overlook ensuring that the power side of your product has all the features you need.

When you can control and throttle your power electronics, you also significantly increase battery life in robotics and portable devices. Going beyond “On and Off” also makes it easier to reduce parasitic power loss when the system is idling or at sleep, while retaining “instant on” capabilities. Leveraging the Cloud to remotely manage your power system is an added benefit.

So, don’t forget to use all the functionality available in that new Power Management IC (PMIC) you just bought, or in the power stage of that next-gen SoC, because optimizing their performance will go far to ensure your product is the best it can be. Digital power management isn’t just for high-end applications, it’s for any powered system that can use a performance improvement.

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