Power at your fingertips: the importance of a good dining table

The CPX range of Aim-TTi is available with single or dual outputs and variable voltage and current combinations
Desktop power supplies needed to evolve rapidly to provide the functionality needed to test circuit boards with complex components.

The first instrument that most engineers think of when testing a new card is an oscilloscope. This will help you evaluate many aspects of map performance, but it’s not the only thing that’s needed – a good table feed is just as important.

One of the reasons for this is the range of more advanced components that are integrated into circuit boards. Mark Edwards, general manager of electronic test and measurement specialist Aim-TTi, said: “Large FPGAs, for example, use a lot of power, and although they can deliver up to 60V, they must be able to deliver up to 20A at lower voltages the voltage rails and there is only one bus bar to a circuit board. ”

According to Edwards, the need for engineers to more precisely control voltage and current during testing has evolved. “That means,” he continued, “many Aim-TTi power supplies introduced 40 years ago are still in regular use, but the technology used in recent designs has brought new features.

He also found that the range of test voltages required today was not fully met by the 0 to 30V, 0 to 2A ratings commonly used in the past. “We now see an increased demand for consumables that deliver more than 60 V and more than 20 A, with a total output of between 300 W and 1 kW.”

Aim-TTI, which is designed to meet more complex requirements, now offers multi-channel consumables with timed output switching. These help the test engineers to ensure that the bus bars are present to protect the circuitry of the circuits in the prototype development phase. “We have a set of three output sources,” Edwards said, “and we’ll soon be releasing a four-output model with equal power for each multigrade output.”

According to Edwards, a conventional three-output power supply can have two 30V outputs with an auxiliary output of about 5A. “Now, due to the demand, we’ve introduced two main rails and a third fully controllable rail for specific voltages, and with the MX series, the Model 315W can be tuned in multiple ranges, so you could parallelize it internally to 35V at 6A, with a third Output 70V at 3A yields. It’s about flexibility. ”

“We currently see increased demand for consumables over 60V and over 20A.”
Mark Edwards, Managing Director, Aim-TT
In the past, desktop power supplies were primarily linear devices. Despite the low noise and good stability, linear power supplies tend to be large and relatively inefficient.

“TTi produced its first digital version in 1978,” said Edwards. “Since then, technology has evolved and switch mode has become the norm, especially for high-power devices.” Initially, switch mode was not popular because it generated more noise and longer response time, but modern technology has changed that Mixed mode devices convert DC 240V AC into DC mode and then transfer them to a linear output stage that regulates performance in a conventional manner, combining the benefits of efficiency and size of the switching mode with lower noise levels and less ripple at the output ,

Doug Lovell, Sales Director of the Telonic distributor, agreed. “In the past, engineers have opted for a linear power supply, but switching technology has evolved to achieve linear power, which is a great advantage as the switching power supplies are smaller.

According to Edwards, most power supplies with more than 100W use switching technology. “The QPX and CPX series use our PowerFlex architecture to deliver higher currents when the set voltage is reduced, while PowerFlex uses mixed-mode control, the PowerFlex + architecture uses a multi-phase conversion technique to provide the Eliminating the need for a linear output stage that allows for a wider voltage-current combination With this technology, the QPX600D can provide up to 80V or up to 50A in its 600W operating range. ”

Lovell said that a power supply typically has 0 to 50V and 0 to 10A, a total load of 500W. “Today’s devices are smarter, with a higher voltage range, wider and a wider current range, which means that engineers can use a higher voltage at a lower current and vice versa, so a power supply can replace multiple units that may be needed the range is most important.

“Telonic offers the PWR-01 series from Kikusui,” he suggested, “compliant with the latest CE standards, with four ranges – 0 to 40, 80, 240 and 650V – rated at 400, 800 and 1200W, automatic selection and sequencing.

There is also a growing demand for greater accuracy. “In a way, Edwards argued, it’s against power: while users want more power on a device, they want to be able to measure lower currents, such as standby power.

Above: The variable voltage / current ratio makes the Kikusui PWR-01 one of the most versatile DC power supplies.
Lower power supplies often need to supply and measure currents of less than 1A with good resolution. “Our PL and QL models,” explains Edwards, “offer a selectable range of 500 mA for higher resolution, and the MX series has resolutions of 1 mV and 0.1 mA.

The resolutions in the mA range also allow the non-charging conditions to be measured to determine if there are any errors. “Before,” Edwards said, “this has been done with a digital multimeter and you can now do without it.”

Lovell considers stability to be an important feature. “If you compare high-end consumables with others, you’ll find that they have stable, clean power outlets – if you want 20V, you still get 20V.”

And in product quality Lovell has a problem with some manufacturers. “A common problem with low-cost consumables is that when you turn on the output and set, for example, 12V, a cheaper power supply exceeds 12V and then stabilizes.This overflow can lead to overvoltage supply to the board being tested, and we have examples seen from expensive plates that were “fried” in this way. ”

When the touch technology is used in a variety of applications, users need touch interfaces in desktop power supplies? Lovell said that in the past there has been a pot for the tension and a pot for the stream. “That turned into a pot, but customers did not like it, so the last products were replaced with voltage and current tubes.”

Edwards said the faceplate had not changed significantly for many years. “While many engineers have recognized that adapting digital interfaces is beneficial, many still prefer rotary encoders for quick adjustments and threshold tests, the consensus among engineers is that they like pimples, and when they increase the voltage, they can turn a knob and see the effect.

All of the technologies integrated into a table diet are dominated by another factor: size. “Five years ago,” Lovell said, “deliveries were probably twice as big as today, but with less connectivity.” , While many power supplies are only 1U high, they are deep and have high air pressure. ”

With a view to the future, Lovell registered a trend towards universal sourcing. “When a company is automatically provisioned,” he concluded, “just create a template that can focus on its development, make it bigger, and sell it cheaper.”

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