Over the past several decades, one by one, analog electronic gadgets such as cassette tapes/players, VHS tapes/players, film cameras, CRT televisions/monitors, etc., have been dumped by the truckload in electronic recycling graveyards. Though not yet in the same category as a dinosaur, they’re all surely to wind up under the same roof—namely, a museum.
So far, analog power supplies have miraculously, and unexpectedly, been able to escape the misery. However, the inevitable will come, as attested to by the appearance of drones and driverless vehicles—all products of digital technologies.
In light of this trend, what should professionals well-trained in conventional analog circuits do to avoid being placed in the analog museum?
Tumble to Digital
Early on, what had happened to those antiquated apparatus certainly caught the attention of many corporate CEOs and business planners. Quite a few, including TI, Motorola, and, in particular, those who have stakes in power conversion, actually took steps to initiate the transition to digital techniques. Several companies thought, banking on their success on digital motor-control products, it should be easy to rein in the analog power converters with their existing devices and capabilities. However, the expectation failed to materialize.
It turns out that the know-how derived from motor control focuses on different areas that contrast from digital power conversion. In essence, the techniques (e.g., d-q decomposition, space-vector-modulation, etc.) developed via digital motor control can be viewed as versions of a more sophisticated sequential pulse-width modulation (PWM) intended to generate perfect motor (shaft) rotation. Digital power conversion, on the other hand, sets its priority on feedback error processing via digital means instead of analog amplifiers. Generation of PWM is less of a concern.