Configurable Power Controller Maximizes System Availability

New controller can monitor and act on power system information on both sides of the high-voltage isolation barrier

Potentia Semiconductor claims to have launched the first configurable power subsystem controller with an integral data link to primary side power-management ICs. The PS-2406 provides power management for up to four secondary side DC-DC converters.

The controller can monitor and act on power system information on both sides of the high-voltage isolation barrier, enabling designers to maximise system uptime in networking and high availability computer and storage applications.

The PS-2406 provides all the functionality required to sequence, monitor and accurately trim customer-specified DC-DC converters, and handle power system fault conditions. Through its integral PI-Link isolated comms interface, the power subsystem controller can also receive primary side voltage, current and fuse status information from devices such as Potentia's new PS-1006.

In the event of a secondary side over-voltage fault that cannot be recovered, the PS-2406 can instruct the PS-1006 to shut down the intermediate bus DC-DC converter, protecting the card from further damage.

The PS-2406 can be configured with separate thresholds so that it can distinguish between power-system warnings and faults. This means that availability-critical systems initiate corrective actions before an impending fault results in system downtime. The controller can also be configured to restart automatically following a momentary shutdown.

The power-subsystem controller's over-voltage and under-voltage levels, startup and shutdown thresholds, sequencing delay and trim values are configured using Potentia's point-and-click PowerCenter Designer software. Hardware designs, using the customer's choice of DC-DC converters, can be validated under live load using Potentia's PowerCenter Emulation Platform.

The PS-2406 is programmed through its I2C interface or JTAG port. Configuration data is stored in the device's non-volatile, on-chip memory. All configuration data and monitored power rail voltages are readily accessible to a higher-level processor through the I2C interface. Power sequencing can also be controlled through this interface.

The 48pin QFP-packaged PS-2406 provides four general-purpose I/O pins that can be mapped as hardware enable inputs or power good outputs; these can be allocated to any of the four monitored power rails or to the intermediate power bus. The GPIO can also be configured to indicate primary side status as reported by the PS-1006.

Ian McGill, Potentia's VP of business development and marketing, says, "The PS-2406 enables designers of high availability equipment to increase system uptime. No other solution handles the sequencing, margining, trimming and fault management of multiple point-of-load converters in such a comprehensive manner—and configuration is easy."

"The PS-2406 simply takes the management of power to a higher level. Not only have we integrated an I2C port, enabling card power parameters to be viewed by a system level processor, we've also included a dedicated serial data link (PI-Link) to the world's first dedicated primary side power management ICs," concluded McGill.

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