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Power Distribution Architecture is increasingly complex.

From the MegaWatts at a power station to the MicroWatts on board an integrated microchip, getting the right power distribution is a complex task, with competing parameters which must be correctly balanced, through selecting the right materials and architectures. The primary considerations are largely the same for the National Grid designer selecting the best voltage that minimises the costs of transmission cables, yet delivers sufficient power, and dynamic load flexibility to a variety of domestic and industrial customers. It’s a matter of scale then to the industrial, consumer, or even Integrated circuit systems designers, who must balance the same set of problems.


The Key criteria in a distributed power design include; overall end to end efficiency, with sufficient control to deliver the appropriate amount of power to the various loads while flexibly coping with dynamic demand, safety in terms of the system components to meet design life and reliability requirements and eliminating danger in damaging people or surrounding systems through short circuit protection, or radiated interference. In solving these competing demands the engineer must navigate a “straight jacket” of cost, time, and regulations. While choices are limited in the National Power Grid scale, with this environment many in the Industrial and electronics sectors opt for “Off the shelf” mains power bricks or rack and PCB mounted power solutions from specialist power supply manufacturers. This approach trades shortened time to market for increased costs, loss of design flexibility with consequential lowering of control and overall system efficiency, and a higher footprint.

In the electronics arena, popular myth was that the power supply was last on the design “must do list” and squeezed in at the last minute, but this is far from the truth as today the demands are becoming ever more complex, with chips having multiple internal power domains and core voltages decreasing, while I/O requires higher voltages to drive signals off chip to control loads and communicate with the outside World. Increasing switching speeds and the ability to accurately control currents to shut off, or put into low power mode, parts of the IC are adding to the power designers problems. Digital control of the power supply is becoming a “must have” particularly in areas like industrial control, robotics, high end computing & communications and now Artificial Intelligence systems, all of which are using more demanding microcontrollers and FPGAs.

Such demands have led to increased use of digital control techniques and standards like PMBus, which can be explored using the “Digital Power Explorer” (RS Stk no 914-5256) which was partly developed within the DesignSpark PCB tools, and enables designers to learn power control techniques with a choice of ARM M0 or M4 control boards based on the Infineon XMC microcontroller family. In order to give designers the optimum solution for PCB level designs, Infineon have introduced an advanced range of Point of Load (PoL) converters and a “PowerDESK” offering design tools which provide Instructions and simulation allowing designs to be completed and evaluated in minutes.

Targeted at fixed equipment in computing, Industrial automation, medical, video, storage and networking markets, the SupIRBuck family offers designers the opportunity to create optimal designs in terms of the key criteria, including cost and footprint. The family is providing increased ability for accurate digital control using an unprecedented 67 PMBus instructions which is significantly broader than that offered by other manufacturers. This makes the SupIRBucks ideal not only for next generation designs but for learning digital power control techniques too.


RS is now introducing a range of the SupIRBuck evaluation boards, which combined with the silicon offer and access to the PowerDesk tools, will help our customer’s design engineering communities tackle the increasingly complex PCB level power systems needed in next generation electronic systems designs.


The Latest generation of SupIRBucks from Infineon in tiny QFN packages include.

The Infineon Design and simulation PowerDesk can be found at

For immediate access to development boards and ICs see RS Stock numbers

(123-6056) IR3823 Design Card: Vout = +1.2 V @ 0- 3A
(123-6057) IR3846 Design Card: Vout = +1.2 V @ 0-35A
(123-6058) IR3892 Design Card: Vout1 = +1.8 V @ 6A / Vout2 = +1.2 V @ 6A
(123-6059) IRDC3847 SupIRBuck DC-DC Regulator Evaluation Board
(123-6058) IRDC3892 SupIRBuck DC-DC Regulator Evaluation Board
(785-8629) IRDC3894 SupIRBuck DC-DC Converter for IR3894 Evaluation Board
(785-8632) IRDC3897 SupIRBuck DC-DC Converter Evaluation Board
(123-6059) IR3847 Design Card: Vout = +1.2 V @ 0-25A
(123-6060) IR38060 Design Card: Vout = +1.2 V @ 0-6A
(123-6061) IR38062 Design Card: Vout = +1.2 V @ 0-15A
(123-6062) IR38063 Design Card: Vout = +1.2 V @ 0-25A
(135-7885) IRDC3883 Design Card: IR3883 800kHz IPOL Regulator Eval. Board
(135-8000) IR3883 DC-DC Switching Regulator
(123-6141) IR38060MTRPBF Step-Down Regulator 6A Adjustable, 0.5 → 0.875 V dc
(123-6142) IR38062MTRPBF Step-Down Regulator 15A Adjustable, 0.5 → 0.875 V dc
(123-6143) IR38063MTRPBF Step-Down Regulator 25A Adjustable, 0.5 → 0.875 V dc

Product Group Manager - Semiconductors

28 Sep 2017, 15:19