Scalable Solutions for Power Conversion Applications
Intelligent power supply implementations solve problems in a wide range of applications, with power solutions ranging from the most basic level of intelligent power control/integration to the most advanced digital control topologies. At a basic level, microcontrollers can perform supervision and sequencing; in a more advanced design, the digital control engines integrate ADCs, digital control algorithms, and PWM generators to close the loop with firmware.
Digital Control of Analog Regulators
For easy to implement digital management, single-chip regulators can efficiently perform a power conversion. Microchip's PIC® and AVR® microcontrollers (MCUs) can implement on/off control, sequencing and monitoring of analog controllers or regulators. This approach is very effective in many battery management, lighting, energy harvesting and embedded power conversion applications.
Digitally Enhanced Power Analog (DEPA) Controllers
In Digitally Enhanced Power Analog (DEPA) controllers, the analog control chip and PIC® MCU are contained on the same die. This integration improves the accuracy, flexibility and speed of the digital management functions. DEPA solutions allow for a higher voltage input to the controller, eliminating the need for a bias supply; integrated high-current drive pins, eliminating the need for external driver chips; and a dramatic increase in the degree of configuration in the analog control loop, increasing the versatility of the design. The benefits include dynamically adjustable frequency, output level, current limit, over- and under-voltage protection levels. Combining these benefits with programmable fault responses results in optimal operation based on the real-time line, load and temperature conditions. DEPA-based intelligent power supplies are ideally suited to battery charging, dimmable single or multi-string LED lighting and automotive power applications.
Core Independent Peripheral (CIP) Hybrid Power Controllers
The analog control loop can be implemented efficiently in a PIC® MCU taking advantage of the most recent set of Core Independent Peripheral (CIP) blocks optimized for power conversion applications. Capable MCU models (see product list below) implement a hybrid approach to power control by combining the flexibility of analog and digital peripherals that can be configured (at runtime) to assemble a large variety of topologies under the control of the microcontroller. CIP-Hybrid Controllers do not integrate FET drivers thereby leaving the developer maximum flexibility on the selection of power and voltages. Since CIPs are designed to operate independently from the core, once configured, they allow full use of the processor CPU for communication and coordination tasks while delivering optimal power supply performance/features. Up to four independent power conversion stages can be managed by a single controller. This is very well suited for management of smart (solid state) lighting solutions, advanced dimming solutions for automotive and building automation, battery charging, multistage power sequencing and smart power applications for the Internet of Things.
Full Digital Power
For the highest performance, dsPIC® Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs) can close the control loop in the digital domain, with powerful algorithms to maximize efficiency at all load conditions. In applications where efficiency requirements are stringent, transient response is critical, and monitoring/reporting are mandatory for maximum up-time, the benefits of a fully digital power supply are more than just added value, they are a competitive necessity. This approach is perfectly suited for multi-stage AC-DC or DC-DC conversions, renewable energy, server and computing applications.
Dual Core – System developers designing high-end embedded control applications with multiple software teams can benefit from dsPIC33CH family with two dsPIC® Digital Signal Controller cores in a single chip enabling easier software integration. The dsPIC33CH has one core that is a master while the other is a slave. The slave core is for executing dedicated, time-critical control code while the master core is busy running the user interface, system monitoring and communications functions, customized for the end application.
The dsPIC33CH is designed to facilitate independent code development for each core by separate design teams and later enables seamless integration when they are brought together in one chip.
Using this variety of approaches, Microchip produces power solutions for a wide range of applications. For any digital or digitally-featured power need, there is a Microchip answer.
Wireless power and charging systems require reliable communication, advanced power control algorithms and effective implementation of foreign object detection. Microchip’s dsPIC® and PIC® devices provide the flexibility to optimize standards-based and proprietary wireless power/charging solutions.