As power supplies grow more complex and the number of channels on them rises, designers are looking for better ways to manage the complexity.
That's why Texas Instruments' TMS32OF28044 digital signal controller was named a winner in Design News' Golden Mousetrap Power Management & Control category. The F28044 is said to be the industry's first and only single programmable controller that manages up to 16 dc/dc converter channels. TI engineers say its ability to handle large, multi-channel power supplies places it in a position to deal with a wide variety of applications, ranging from telecommunications and networking infrastructure equipment to servers, laptops, high-efficiency motor controls, solar inverters, wind turbine generators and fuel cells.
"We've positioned it to serve the market for all kinds of high energy efficiency systems," says Andrew Soukup, marketing and applications manager for TI's C2000 controller platform.
TI engineers say one of the keys to the F28044's ability to handle voltage and switching frequency requirements on so many channels is the chip's performance. It offers 100 MIPS (millions of instructions per second) of 32-bit DSP (digital signal processor) performance, with each channel achieving 150 pico-sec resolution. It also offers programmability, which enables designers to build intelligence into power supply systems to manage sequencing, margining, phase compensation and transient response of multiple converters.
"It takes a unique combination of technologies and capabilities to do that," Soukup says. "But the main thing is computational horsepower. You need a high performance CPU that allows you to execute up to 16 individual digital control loops."