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Power Supplies

The power supply of an electronic system is used to convert the AC energy provided
by the wall outlet into DC energy. This DC energy is used to provide the DC voltage
which are required for proper circuit operation. Many of the electronic devices such
as transistors, operational amplifiers need a DC voltage for their operation.
Types of power supplies :There are two distinct types of power supplies, the
Linear egulated !ower "upply and "witch Mode !ower "upply #"M!"$.
Linear egulated !ower "upply
This supply has four main bloc%s.
'oltage egulator.
(loc% diagram of a linear regulated power supply
The AC voltage at the input side is applied to the transformer. The transformer steps
up or steps down the voltage. The rectifier converts the AC voltage to pulsating DC.
The pulsating DC voltage is applied to the filter which reduces the fluctuations in the
voltage. The voltage regulator converts the output of the filter to a constant output
Switch Mode Power supply
The linear regulators operate on a continuous conduction mode dissipate large
amounts of power. The efficiency of a linear regulator can be as low as )*+. The
switch mode power supplies have larger efficiencies since it has a switching element
which turns on or off depending on the power requirements. This obviously reduces
the power dissipation.
The overall bloc% diagram of a switching regulator has the following layout.
(loc% diagram of a "witch Mode !ower "upply
,n this arrangement, the AC input is rectified and filtered to give a steady DC
This DC input to the voltage switching bloc% is either bloc%ed or allowed to pass
through depending on the state of the switch. The resultant waveform which is a
square wave is rectified and filtered This waveform is sampled. ,f the current
required at the load is high, then the switching control ensures that the voltage
switch is on for longer periods.
The switching control described above is obtained by using ,C chips. The sampling is
done by a comparator and DC amplifier along with a DC reference. The output
voltage is compared with a DC reference. ,f the output voltage reduces due to
increase in load current, the comparator sends a positive signal to the pulse width
modulator and increase the on time of the pulse. The bloc% diagram which
incorporates these components is shown in fig .
(loc% diagram of "M!" showing details of switching control
The comparator used is usually an operational amplifier. The output of the
operational amplifier will be positive if the input to the non inverting terminal is more
than that of the inverting terminal. The non inverting terminal is given a constant
reference voltage while the inverting terminal reflects the load voltage
A comparator for sensing difference of voltage
The voltage '-ener is a constant value given by a -ener diode. ,f the output voltage
is lowered by the increased current requirements of the load, the value of '-ener will
be higher than the input to the inverting terminal. As a result, the output of the
comparator is positive and this turns the !ulse .idth Modulator #!.M$ on for a
longer time. The !.M is feeds pulses to the switching device and this turns the
switching device on. The pulses are fed into the !.M from an oscillator and these
are modulated by the output from the comparator to be on for a longer or shorter
The switching element used is usually a transistor.
Advantages of SMPS
The "witching egulators have the switching devices which are not
conducting all the time.This increases the efficiency of the regulators. /sually
the "M!" has an efficiency ranging from 0* to 1* percent compared to
normal efficiency of a linear regulator which is around 0* percent.
The switching regulators usually use on off duty cycle of a transistor switch to
regulate the output voltage. (y ma%ing this frequency much higher than the
line frequency, the transformers, and other filter elements such as capacitors
and inductors can be made very light and e2pensive
"M!" can be designed to incorporate inbuilt step up, step down and electrical
Disadvantages of SMPS
"witching regulators generate electromagnetic and radio frequency
interference noise due to high switching current. This noise can interfere with
the equipment such as television, radio and telephones.
This problems can be overcome or significantly reduced by using filters at the
input and output of the regulator and by increasing the switching time.
3owever switching regulators with a fi2ed frequency are easier to filter than
those with variable frequency.
,t is costly and more comple2 than linear regulators.
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Switching-Mode Power Supply
What is a switching-ode power supply.
A power supply is a buffer circuit that provides power with the
characteristics required by the load from a primary power source
with characteristics incompatible with the load. ,t ma%es the load
compatible with its power source.
62ample8 A power source might be the 9* 3-, single phase, :;*
'ac power found in a home in the /nited "tates or the 0* 3-,
single phase, ;;* 'ac found in the /nited <ingdom. The load
might be a logic circuit in a personal computer that requires
regulated 0 'dc power. The power supply is the circuit that ma%es
the :;* 'ac or ;;* 'ac power source and 0 'dc load compatible.
A power supply is sometimes called a power converter and the
process is called power conversion. ,t is also sometimes called a
power conditioner and the process is called power conditioning.
The !ower "ources Manufacturers Association=s #!"MA$ 3andboo%
of "tandardi-ed Terminology for the !ower "ources ,ndustry gives
this definition of a power supply.
!ower "upply >> A device for the conversion of available power of
one set of characteristics to another set of characteristics to meet
specified requirements. Typical application of power supplies
include to convert raw input power to a controlled or stabili-ed
voltage and?or current for the operation of electronic equipment.
!ower supplies belong to the field of power electronics, the use of
electronics for the control and conversion of electrical power. The
,666 !ower 6lectronics "ociety provides a more formal definition
of power electronics in their constitution.
!ower 6lectronics >> This technology encompasses the effective
use of electronic components, the application of circuit theory and
design techniques, and the development of analytical tools toward
efficient electronic conversion, control, and conditioning of electric
A switching>mode power supply is a power supply that provides
the power supply function through low loss components such as
capacitors, inductors, and transformers >> and the use of switches
that are in one of two states, on or off. The advantage is that the
switch dissipates very little power in either of these two states and
power conversion can be accomplished with minimal power loss,
which equates to high efficiency. The term switchmode was widely
used for this type of power supply until Motorola, ,nc., who used
the trademar% ".,TC3M@D6TM for products aimed at the
switching>mode power supply mar%et, started to enforce their
trademar%. Then more generic terms had to be found. , started
using the term switching>mode power supply to avoid infringing on
the trademar%. @thers used the term switching power supply,
which seems to be the more popular term. !"MA does not define
either switching>mode power supply or switching power supply,
but does define switching regulator.
"witching egulator >> A switching circuit that operates in a closed
loop system to regulate the power supply output.
The design pro!le
(ecause of its emphasis on efficiency, switching>mode power
supply design minimi-es the use of lossy components such as
resistors and uses components that are ideally lossless such as
switches, capacitors, inductors, and transformers. The primary
design problem is how to interconnect these components and
control the switches so the desired results are obtained. The
secondary design problem is to select, design, or overcome the
performance characteristics of less than ideal components.
!rotection techniques and parts derating are used to circumvent
the fact that real parts tend to fail when overstressed.
The design process is successful when a proper topology and
control has been chosen that e2ceed the performance
requirements and when protection techniques, parts selection, and
derating have been used that e2ceed the required reliability. (oth
normal and abnormal operating environments the circuit will
encounter over its useful life must be considered throughout the
design process.
4ote that the design goal is to e2ceed, not to Aust meet, the
performance and reliability requirements. This comes from the
philosophy that given fi2ed resources the engineer=s tas% is to get
the most from these resources. &or e2ample, if analysis shows
that it will ta%e ;0 parts worth B0* and one month development
time to Aust meet requirements, the goal then shifts from Aust
meeting requirements to getting the absolute best performance
out of these parts in the allotted time >> e2ceeding and not Aust
meeting requirements if this is possible. This is not Cgold platingC
but Aust good engineering. (ecause of the critical nature of power
supplies in all equipment, this approach improves both the
performance and reliability of the total system at no additional
cost. ,t often %eeps the power supply off the critical>path schedule
when increasing requirements might force a redesign resulting in a
schedule slip.
!ower conversion circuits are often classified in four categories.
ac>ac converters #e2ample8 frequency changers,
ac>dc converters #e2ample8 rectifiers, off>line converters$
dc>ac converters #also called inverters$
dc>dc converters #also called converters$
The term converter or power converter is used for all these
categories or for dc>dc converters only, the meaning is usually
clear from the conte2t.
All of these converters may be open>loop circuits or use feedbac%
to provide regulation.
DC>DC converters were referred to as choppers earlier, when
"Cs were used. 4owadays, ,5(Ts and M@"&6Ts are the devices
used for dc>dc conversion and these circuits can be classified as
switch mode power supply circuits. The abbreviation or acronym
for switch mode power supply is "M!".
A switch mode power supply circuit is versatile. ,t can be used to8
:. step down an unregulated dc input voltage to produce a
regulated dc output voltage using a circuit %nown as (uc%
Converter or "tep>Down "M!",
;. step up an unregulated dc input voltage to produce a
regulated dc output voltage using a circuit %nown as (oost
Converter or "tep>/p "M!",
D. step up or step down an unregulated dc input voltage to
produce a regulated dc output voltage ,
). invert the input dc voltage using usually a circuit such as
the Cu% converter, and
0. produce multiple dc outputs using a circuit such as the fly>
bac% converter.
A switch mode power supply is a widely used circuit nowadays and
it is used in a system such as a computer, television receiver,
battery charger etc. The switching frequency is usually above ;*
%3-, so that the noise produced by it is above the audio range. ,t
is also used to provide a variable dc voltage to armature of a dc
motor in a variable speed drive. ,t is used in a high>frequency
unity>power factor circuit.
The scope of this tutorial is dc>dc converters and a special type of
ac>dc converter called an off>line converter or off>line power
supply. ,n off>line converters the ac voltage is rectified to dc
directly off the ac power line and filtered with no isolation
transformer and then processed with a dc>dc converter that
provides isolation at the switching frequency. "ince the switching
frequency is much higher than the line frequency the isolation
transformer and output filter are greatly reduced in si-e and
weight. The switching frequency is usually ;* %3- or higher to
place any audio noise from the switching beyond the range of
human hearing. egulation of output voltage, current, or power is
assumed, because that=s where the fun begins. Also the
rectification process may or may not include power factor
correction or harmonic current suppression techniques.
The !"MA 3andboo% defines off line power supply, power factor,
and power factor correction as8
@ff Line !ower "upply >> :$ A power supply in which the ac line
voltage is rectified and filtered without using a line frequency
isolation transformer. ;$ A power supply switched into service
upon line loss to provide power to the load without significant
interruption. Also called @ff Line "witchers #@L"$.
!ower &actor >> The ratio of total active power to total apparent
power in volt>amperes in an ac circuit, where voltage and current
are rms values and include the effects of harmonics as well as the
effects of phase displacement. ,f both voltage and current are
sinusoidal, power factor is the cosine of the angle between them.
!ower &actor Correction >> :$ Technique of increasing the power
factor so that the phase angle between the voltage and current
approaches -ero in an ac circuit. ;$ Addition of capacitors to an
inductive circuit to offset reactance.
&or the purposes of this tutorial, power factor is real power
#average power$ divided by apparent power #rms voltage times
rms current$ and power factor correction is ma%ing this ratio
approach one.
6lectronic circuits are always powered by a DC power supply. DC
power supplies have been one of the bottlenec%s for
miniaturi-ation of electronic products. During the last two
decades, DC power supply designers have developed many
switchmode design techniques and today most regulated DC
power supplies are based on switchmode techniques. Course aims
at discussing the modern design techniques, design trends,
applications and repair approaches.
&rom linear to switchmode power supplies
DC to DC converters
Modern power semiconductors for "M!" systems
@ff>the>line switchmode power supplies
Magnetics and capacitors
!ower factor correction in "M!" systems
6lectronic, telecom, computer hardware professionals and process
industry engineers and technicians wor%ing in the relevant field.
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