Experts Will Diagnose Challenges in Medical Power Design

Oct. 24, 2007
Next week at the Power Electronics Technology conference in Dallas, specialists from different segments of the electronics field will discuss the current challenges facing designers of medical power systems.

Next week at the Power Electronics Technology conference in Dallas, specialists from different segments of the electronics field will discuss the current challenges facing designers of medical power systems. Experts from power supply, semiconductor, magnetics, and battery pack companies will examine the particular problems faced by designers of both medical equipment and medical grade power supplies. In this two-hour technical session on Medical Power Supplies (PET10), the speakers will also present methods for treating these design problems, including the use of novel technologies.

This session, which will run from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Wednesday, October 31, will address a range of issues that arise when designers go to specify and apply power components in their medical applications. Chaired by Tom Hopkins, a director of engineering at STMicroelectronics, this session will give medical equipment and medical power supply designers the opportunity to ask the experts about specific problems they’re encountering in their own designs.

For more details on the conference and directions to the Hilton Anatole, see

Representing power supply vendor Recom International Power , Steve Roberts will speak on “Galvanic Isolation in Medical Grade Converters.” In his presentation, Roberts will outline the special requirements for galvanic isolation in medical-grade converters, and explain the various techniques used to achieve very high isolation in very small case sizes. Roberts will also warn engineers about the pitfalls and “specmanship” found in some “medical-grade” datasheets.

One of last year’s speakers, Kevin Parmenter, recently of Fairchild Semiconductor, will also steer engineers away from the dangers of product specification in his talk, “Are All Medical Power Supplies the Same?” Parmenter will discuss the impact of conflicting technical requirements for medical power supplies including stringent EMI-RFI standards, low leakage, and safety.

He’ll also touch on demands in some applications for higher resistance to shock and vibration as well as certain FDA – GMP requirements. In light of these requirements, Parmenter will assess the reliability of low-cost power supply products, and advise engineers on what to look for in medical power sources to ward off potential problems in product manufacturing or in the field.

Another presenter in this session is Dr. Robin Tichy of Micro Power—a provider of custom battery packs and smart charger systems. In “Battery Systems for Medical Grade Portable Devices,” Tichy will explain why electrical and mechanical engineers designing portable electronic devices need to understand the latest technologies offered to charge their device. She will also describe how microcontroller, software-based architectures for chargers offer an innovative approach to improving the cost and flexibility of chargers for portable devices.

As Tichy explains, one microcontroller can multiplex up to four channels lowering cost in multi-bay chargers. The new technology also provides conditional charging, which allows the user to charge multiple battery configurations and chemistries by changing the charge voltage or current. In addition, conditional charging improves safety by altering the charge current based on a variety of environmental conditions and lowering EMI. Tichy’s presentation will cover the advantages and disadvantages of charging with a microcontroller versus using a dedicated, off-the-shelf charger IC.

In the final talk in this session, Kirby Creel of magnetics supplier Datatronics will explore “Transformer Design for Charging Defibrillator Capacitors.” In his talk, Creel will detail the possible uses for this design procedure and give recommendations for completing the transformer design in this popular medical application.

Meet the Experts
Engineers attending the Medical Power Supplies session will get a chance to network with others working in medical electronics applications, including the specialists who’ll be the presenting papers in this session. These speakers have years of experience in the electronics industry and understand the practical issues facing medical equipment designers.

Steve Roberts is a technical support manager for Recom International Power, a company with over 30 years of experience in the manufacture of dc-dc, ac-dc and switching regulators. He has a degree in physics as well as in technology and many years of practical experience as an electronics designer and project manager.

Kevin Parmenter is the former FAE director for the Americas at Fairchild Semiconductor, where he managed a team of FAEs in the Americas region. His work there involved a range of applications focused on power electronics and signal integrity. Parmenter is also familar to many in the power electronics field for his involvement with the Applied Power Electronics Conference(APEC). and currently serves as program chair for APEC 2008. Parmenter has over 20 years of power electronics experience in design, applications, sales and marketing at ON Semiconductor, Motorola Semiconductor, and Northrop Corporation.

Dr. Robin Sarah Tichy is the technical marketing manager at Micro Power Electronics. Tichy has developed an expertise in translating market drivers into technical solutions in the battery and charger industry. Prior to joining Micro Power, she applied technical and project management skills to orchestrate and implement solutions to solve vital business problems at organizations like Hewlett Packard and International SEMATECH, in the semiconductor, nanotechnology and MEMS verticals. Tichy received a doctorate from the University of Texas for her work in solid-oxide fuel cells.

Currently serving as senior design engineer at Datatronics, Kirby Creel has been employed in magnetics design with various companies since 1970.

Sponsored Recommendations

TTI Transportation Resource Center

April 8, 2024
From sensors to vehicle electrification, from design to production, on-board and off-board a TTI Transportation Specialist will help you keep moving into the future. TTI has been...

Cornell Dubilier: Push EV Charging to Higher Productivity and Lower Recharge Times

April 8, 2024
Optimized for high efficiency power inverter/converter level 3 EV charging systems, CDE capacitors offer high capacitance values, low inductance (< 5 nH), high ripple current ...

TTI Hybrid & Electric Vehicles Line Card

April 8, 2024
Components for Infrastructure, Connectivity and On-board Systems TTI stocks the premier electrical components that hybrid and electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers need...

Bourns: Automotive-Grade Components for the Rough Road Ahead

April 8, 2024
The electronics needed for transportation today is getting increasingly more demanding and sophisticated, requiring not only high quality components but those that interface well...


To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Electronic Design, create an account today!