Texas Instruments has expanded its TMS320C2000 microcontroller (MCU) digital power family to help engineers jump start digital-power design. Digital-power designs rely upon a microcontroller that runs power-control algorithms in the digital domain while it controls power in the analog realm. For complete information, visit: www.ti.com/digpwr-pfc-pr-sw.The company grouped its announcement into three sections:1. More than 25 free, modular digital-power software blocks are now available in the controlSUITE software. The free, open-source, and modular digital-power libraries let developers change control techniques in software, so they need not modify or redesign power-related hardware. TI has optimized the software blocks for both the Piccolo C28x core and the control-law accelerator (CLA). For information on the CLA, visit: focus.ti.com/lit/ml/sprb197/sprb197.pdf.2. The new High Voltage PFC Developer’s Kit provides hardware and software needed to quickly implement digital power-factor correction (PFC). The Piccolo F28027 kit (Part no: TMDSHVPFCKIT, $US 249) includes hardware and software for two-phase 300-W interleaved power-factor correction and TI claims engineers can get up and running in under 10 minutes. An isolated JTAG port lets engineers test and debug code without exposing their lab PCs to high voltages.3. Biricha Digital Power Ltd. now offers training that gives engineers a solid foundation in digital-power theory and extensive hands-on lab exercises. The 3-day workshop provides an introduction to digital-power technology, a step-by-step design of a digital power supply (buck topology), and explanations of how to use the Piccolo MCU in digital-power designs. For course information, visit: www.biricha.com/. The 3-day course costs $US 1995.Have you used digital control of power-supply or PFC circuits? –Jon Titus
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.