I spent Sunday en route to the 2012 Applied Power Electronics Conference and Exhibition (APEC) at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort near Orlando, Florida. at the airport at 8 am, at the Hotel registration desk at 11 pm. Long day crammed next to a fat guy who snores. Ran into Maxim’s Jim Templeton in the bar after I finally got registered and had an interesting conversation. More below.
APEC is the big event of the year for power electronics. Some of the things I know are coming up include Transphorm’s announcement of price and delivery on its 600-V GaN FETs, EPC’s applications-oriented textbook, "GaN Transistors for Efficient Power Conversion.", Maxim’s 3-phase power measurement system-on-chip that provides embedded energy diagnostics, including power factor, harmonic distortion, voltage sag, and dip, and Enpirion’s 2-A, 96% efficient source/sink DDR termination converter in a 3 x 3 mm x 0.55 mm QFN, and Vicor’s Intermediate Bus Converter online power simulation tool, which Vicor says combines electrical and thermal simulation.
After the plenary session sets the tone for the conference, Monday’s schedule includes briefings with EPC, TI, NXP, and Fairchild, plus the breakout sessions with their panels and challenges from the floor, wrapping with the 34th annual Micromouse contest, which I hope finally to get some video of, with the help of Engineering TV’s Curtis Ellzey. Robotic “mice” learning and running a complicated maze are probably the most kinetic things at these power conferences, where most of the things you see just sit there and hum.
Getting back to my conversation with Jim Templeton, who is one of the key idea guys in digital power at Maxim, he says the latest developments include customer demand for full digital control of up to 9 rails at once. It’s a control challenge that simply can’t be met in the analog domain. (We also talked about kids and dogs; it had been a long day.)