Electronic Design

PMBus Gains Development Tool And Front-End Converters

The open-source Power Management Bus (PMBus) communication protocol is gaining ground. With Astec's DTX digital dc converter, designers will be able to prepare and evaluate a range of PMBus-compliant converters (see the figure). They also will be able to choose from an array of preprogrammed modules that emulate existing industry-standard converter types with or without a menu of additional features.

The control platform ultimately will include a spectrum of devices from front ends to eighth bricks, bus converters, and point-of-load regulators. The unit includes self-diagnostics, efficiency optimization, and output impedance control as well as dynamic feedback loop compensation and configuration. Designers can program limits and modes relating to undervoltage, overvoltage, overcurrent, and overtemperature. The unit's memory records historical data.

The controller simplifies project design phases. In production, PMBus-compliant devices can connect to virtually any I2C-based power control and monitoring system. Or, they can operate in standalone mode.

Because the PMBus communication is an open-source protocol, designers will have access to software tools from Astec as well as from other sources. Astec offers a free executable file with a graphical user interface that provides extensive management capabilities, including custom controls to address Astec-specific parameters.

Meanwhile, Astec's iMP series of switching power supplies provides PMBus-compatible digital management. Its range of hardware modules offers single, dual, and triple outputs from 600 to 1500 W. The modules can accept ac input voltages from 85 to 264 V or dc inputs from 120 to 350 V. The four customizable cases can accommodate up to seven individual modules with a choice of dc outputs from 2 to 60 V. The iMP modules have 50% higher power density than previous-generation products.

Designers can program each output for output voltage, output enable/ sequencing, module inhibit/enable polarity, dc-ok thresholds, output current limit set-point and type, and over-temperature threshold. The supplies meet worldwide safety and performance standards, including listings from UL and CE, as well as full medical compliance with EN60601.

Pricing for prototype quantities of the DTX will start at $55. Samples of the iMP series will be available in the fourth quarter, with prices starting at $320 for a single-output 600-W configuration. Because the modular design enables more than 200 million combinations, pricing will vary based on configuration.

Astec Power

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