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Power converter trend

The trend toward lower losses in power converters is not apparent in all of the applications of power converters. It is also not apparent that the power converter solution and its losses for a given market will be the same when it comes to losses. In terms of the market shift that you mention, Prof. the answer is probably that each market is becoming split into a lower efficiency and higher efficiency solution.

From my limited view the reason for this is the effort and time required to do the low loss development. The early developers of low loss converters are now ahead and those that were slower may never catch them. This gap is in a number of converter markets widening, with both higher loss and lower loss offerings continuing to be used and sold. This split is not apparent with different levels of development or geographically.

Some markets already have very efficient solutions, other markets not so efficient and others had high power loss solutions. The customers accepted these solutions. The path to lower loss converters is for some markets not yet clear and in some markets the requirement may never actually become real.

It does seem that there is a real case to make for any power converter market splitting in two as the opportunities presented by lowering the power loss are taken.

All low loss converters present significant challenges and are all somewhat esoteric.

For me power supply EMI control consists of designing filtering for differential and common mode conducted emissions. The differential mode filtering attenuates the primary side differential lower frequency switching current fundamental & harmonic frequencies. The common mode filtering provides a low impedance return path for high frequency noise currents resulting from high dV/dt transitions during switching transitions present on the power semiconductors (switching mosfet drain, rectifier cathods). These noise currents ring at high frequencies as they oscillate in the uncontrolled parasitic inductance and capacitance associated with their return to source path. Shortening and damping this return path allows the high frequency noise currents to return locally instead of via the measurement copper bench and conducted emi current or voltage (LISN) probe as well as providing a more damped ringing frequency. Shorting this return path has the added benefit of decreasing radiated emissions. In addition proper layout of the power train so as to minimize the loop area associated with both the primary and secondary side switching currents minimizes the associated radiated emissions.

When I mentioned the criticism of resonant mode converter as related to the challenges of emi filitering I was referring to the additional differential mode filtering required. For example if you take a square wave primary side current waveform and analyze the differential frequency content the fundamental magnitude with be lower and there will be higher frequency components as compared to a purely resonant approach at the same power level. It is normally the lower frequency content that has to be filtered differentially.

Given these differences the additional emi filtering volume/cost of the resonant approach may pose a disadvantage.

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