In the Homestretch for APEC

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD

­Forgive the bad pun, but we’re barreling towards one heck of a powerful start to the year!

We’re a mere month away from arguably the most important event of the year, the Applied Power Electronics Conference (APEC), so now likes an opportune moment to discuss the lifeblood of our brand. And we can think of no topic more apropos than power systems.

After all, nearly every component, big and small, needs a power source. It’s the raison d'etre and namesake of our fair publication. And it’ll continue being a primary – if not the most important – concern of design engineers.

So as we all firm up our plans for APEC, it’s worth taking a look at the fundamental basis for that show (and Power Systems Design).

Towards that end, I’d like to highlight a feature by TDK-Lambda EMEA on multiple output power supplies which asks “are there benefits to having isolation between the output voltages?”

TDK-Lambda EMEA’s Rob Hutton notes that fixed outputs for multiple output power supplies could be set at +5V, +12V, and -12V, for example, sharing a common 0V terminal with no isolation.

On the other, one, two, or all three of the outputs could be isolated from each other, and the question is whether isolation like that is prudent.

A disadvantage to non-isolated outputs, and as Rob points out, “voltage adjustment is limited to the main high-power output and can affect the voltage levels of the other outputs through cross-regulation.”

On the other hand, introducing isolation between output voltages is advantageous by way of flexibility, better load regulation, reduced effect of noise generating loads, additional compatibility with medical applications, the ability to avoid ground loops, and output monitoring and control functions.

And because “a modular power supply…can provide up to 18 outputs…having isolation between outputs can help avoid noise issues and simplify system design.”

Furthermore, floating output voltages can be connected in series to generate higher voltages. As Rob points out, “Our 24V, 15V, 15V configuration, for instance, could be used to provide 24V and 30V by series connection of the two 15V outputs.”

Though he’s quick to add that “the maximum output to chassis ground insulation voltage has to be taken into account.”

As per usual, we also have several general-purpose Technical Features, including Microchip’s “Harnessing Electromagnetic Induction to Power the Wireless Charging of Industry 4.0 Mobile Robots” and “Advanced Electrical Protection Trends for DC Fast Charging” by Sensata Technologies.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out our slate of editor blogs and the PSDcast (podcast), both of which have surged in popularity as of late.

And I hope to see many of you next month in Orlando for APEC 2023. 


Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD