Customer Configuration Slides Off-the-Shelf

Astec Power’s new power-supply unit, in which all significant parameters of the iMP ac-dc switched-mode design can be configured in software, allows designers to meet application needs with off-the-shelf hardware.

Thanks to extensive use of microprocessor control in Astec’s next-generation power-supply design, users can configure a series of programmable modules and intelligent enclosures.

This presents designers with a custom power solution that features the low cost and availability of a standard power supply. Not only that, the resulting custom unit will still comply with all of the same worldwide safety, electrical, EMC, RoHS, and medical approvals of the base units.

These custom power solutions are configured using single, dual, and triple output modules in power ratings from 400 to 750W. Modules can be configured in one of three customisable iMP (intelligent Medium Power) cases that accept input voltages from 85Vac to 264Vac or 120Vdc to 350Vdc, with power ratings up to 1500W. Cases can accommodate up to seven individual modules with a choice of outputs ranging from 2Vdc to 60Vdc. Also, because single-wire current share is built in (under software control), much larger power systems can be configured by stacking multiple units.

“Unlike other power supplies with some limited communication capabilities, we envisioned this next-generation design would be completely software-configurable,” says product marketing manager Chris Jones. “We also painstakingly looked at all the hardware modifications we did during the sixyear life of our existing MPSeries modular power supply, and designed in software/firmware controls that would virtually eliminate the need for post modification of the power supply.”

Hardware communication bus structures like CAN, I2C, IEEE, and RS-232 were designed into the interface with an easily changeable personality card. The design of the iMP makes use of programmable references, EPots, ADCs and DACs, and embedded microcontrollers that bring digital control to all main power-supply parameters. Using the Windows software provided, designers can program all key features of iMP Series modules.

Along with all of the programmable set points, designers can monitor each parameter in realtime. They can even control the power supply’s response when a set point is exceeded.

For example, if the supply has a short circuit, the supply can be shut down and not restarted until ac input is recycled. Or, the supply can be configured to recover immediately when the short is removed. Another option is that while the short occurs, the current limit can be readjusted to prevent high current flowing. Finally, the supply can be programmed to continually try to restart after a programmable delay.

Yet another advantage is the ability of the systems engineer/ architect to customise or tune a supply “in service,” so that it would align exactly with the dynamic requirements of a specific application. A designer would simply read actual system parameters and make all of the needed adjustments.

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