Software tool configures optimal power architecture with Vicor’s modules

Software tool configures optimal power architecture with Vicor’s modules

New Products |
By Graham Prophet

Vicor offers a large range of integrated power conversion modules in a range of formats. It has to a large extend separated out the basic power conversion functions such as voltage-level conversion, regulation, and isolation. Any given PSU requirement might therefore be met in a number of ways. The new software aims to steer engineers to the optimum solutions, and away from any configurations that might be less advantageous. It also accommodates trends such as – in data certres – direct conversion from 48V distribution to point-of-load, with no intermediate voltage rail. It feeds automatically to a pre-existing “whiteboard” environment which, while not a full circuit simulator, can apply behavioural models based on real-world performance data to show predicted system operation in detail.


In attempting to come up with the “best” power system solution, Vicor says, power designers have been forced to analyze bewildering topologies, architectures and products. Each alternative design approach requires performance calculations, data sheet searches, manual simulations, thermal projections, layout and packaging studies, bill-of-material (BOM) generation and cost analysis. To address this challenge, a variety of power design tools have been developed. These tools, however, don’t allow analysis of the complete power system. Rather, the “front-end”, which filters and conditions power received from an AC or a DC source, must be configured and analyzed separately from the downstream regulators that generate the voltages required by system loads. Also, these tools do not provide a complete modular solution: the generated power system solutions combine a limited number of modular power devices with several “discrete” circuit solutions, each requiring dozens of parts. Thus, power density is compromised and the designer is challenged with figuring out the right combination of front end and DC-DC power trains, and dealing with the complexities of discrete power circuit layout, thermal management, packaging and cost.


The Power System Designer online design tool simplifies and accelerates the creation of compact, multi-output, modular power systems all the way from the input source – either AC or DC – to system loads. Engineers simply specify their AC or DC input source and operating range, and their required output voltages and respective power (or current), regulation and isolation specifications, and the tool automatically generates and identifies the best alternative solutions, each solution characterized by figures of merit including Highest Operating Efficiency, Lowest Component Count, Lowest Cost, Smallest Footprint and Recommended Best Fit. Each solution can be viewed, analyzed and optimized using Vicor’s fully editable Whiteboard tool, enabling designers to meet the exacting performance requirements of their target application. For any selected design, the Power System Designer tool can display a visual representation of the mechanical layout of the system and generate a complete Bill-of-Materials along with ordering and pricing information.





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