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DC/DC converter takes all-digital form

Posted: 06 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:emerson network power? astec? dtx? dc/dc converter? dtx42k48?

DTX42K48 DC/DC converter

Emerson Network Power bills its Astec DTX as the industry's first all-digital DC/DC (isolated) converter. The first offering as part of the company's Digital Power Initiative, the DTX42K48, with a footprint approximately the size of an industry-standard eighth brick and 5mm high, delivers up to 50W at 0.96V to 1.44V from a 36V to 75V input for OEM designers seeking the performance and flexibility of an all-digital approach (control, monitoring and power conversion circuitry).

These advantages extend from reported step increases in converter performance (i.e., tighter regulation, faster response, better thermal performance) over traditional analog designs, to unified management of DC/DC converter systems via PMBus and I2C bus communications, to minimizing time-to-market.

"Because this technology enables designers to digitally control such parameters as output voltage and startup sequencing via a PC with an easy-to-use graphical user interface, they'll be able to make broad changes during prototyping without the need to physically change parts," explained Bharat Shah, Astec's VP of sales and marketing for DC/DC business "Products developed with this architecture will give designers significantly enhanced flexibility that will enable rapid development. In addition, the digital control allows for reduced parts count to increase reliability while minimizing space requirements. Our Digital Power Initiative adheres to the PMBus standards-based protocols that will assure extensive support for these products."

"Our devices will be able to connect to virtually any I2C -based power control and monitoring system," added Geof Potter, VP of DC/DC advanced technology, "But the communication bus is not required for operation. These devices will operate in 'stand alone' mode as well. Customers will be able to adapt these products to their individual needs on their own, using Astec's support tools or with the assistance of Astec's technical support department. Designers will even be able to choose from an array of pre-programmed modules that emulate existing industry-standard 'bricks'with or without a menu of additional features."

The DTX includes self-diagnostics, efficiency optimization, and output impedance control as well as dynamic feedback loop compensation and configuration. Designers can program under-voltage, over-voltage, over-current, and over-temperature set points. The converter includes more than 4kB of memory to record historical data such as tracking and serial number information. The PMBus communication is an open-source protocol; thus designers will have access to a wide variety of software tools directly from the company. The open-source flexibility will also enable designers to use these tools with other PMBus devices as they are released and easily customize them. The company currently offers users free executable files with a graphical user interface that provides extensive management capabilities including custom controls to address Astec-specific parameters.

The DTX converters will be available in limited quantity starting in November. Pricing for prototype quantities will start at $55. A development kit will also be available.

- Vince Biancomano

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