Power management encompasses a range of power converter types and topologies and includes systems like motor drives, ac/dc power supplies, dc/dc converters, and battery chargers. Designing compact, cost-effective, and efficient power management systems is challenging and requires a combination of skills in high voltage and high current design, control loop optimization, mitigation of electromagnetic interference (EMI), and thermal management and mechanical design.
To speed the design of power management systems designers can turn to a variety of electronic design automation (EDA) options including EDA tools from power component suppliers, general EDA tools with added power design capabilities, and power management EDA tools from specialist companies. This second of two FAQs reviews several options from specialist power EDA tool makers. Each of these EDA environments provides different tool sets and makes different demands on designers for power supply design expertise. Part one reviewed some of the power design tools available from component suppliers and general-purpose EDA tool suppliers.
RidleyWorks is a comprehensive power converter development environment. It supports three levels of designer expertise. A fully automated “basic” implementation requires only the input of the power requirements. The intermediate level gives designers more control over the design process. Experienced power supply designers can use the advanced level for complete control over performance optimization. Designs are implemented in a series of steps using a menu-driven interface (Figure 1):
- Input of specifications, selection of the topology, and large-signal simulation
- Control loop design and optimization including small-signal modeling and simulation
- Magnetics design includes core selection, winding design, and optimization
- Simulation and analysis of the completed system including cycle-by-cycle waveforms and loss analysis
- Design Validation includes measuring loop gains and transfer functions directly in LTspice without specialized models
Digital power tools
Biricha Digital offers the WDS toolbox for power supply designs. Features of WDS include:
- Designs and stabilizes analog and digital control loops
- Automatic calculation of poles and zeros as well as component values for most popular topologies
- Control algorithms that stabilize digital power supplies with automatic coefficient calculations for floating point, 32-bit, and 16-bit microcontrollers (MCUs)
- Supports manipulation of digital compensator coefficients for a variety of MCUs
- Simulations in time and frequency domains
- There are dedicated coefficient calculators for MCUs from TI, Microchip. STMicroelectronics and Infineon plus a generic calculator suitable for most other MCUs
Piecewise linear electrical circuit simulation, PLECS, facilitates the modeling and simulation of complete systems, including power sources, power converters, and loads. PLECS captures power circuits with a schematic editor and includes a tool library that covers the electrical, magnetic, thermal, and mechanical aspects of power system design. The interface enables designers to extract specific waveforms for analysis. The analysis tools can provide steady-state operating points or open-loop and closed-loop transfer functions. For advanced analysis, designers can extract state-space matrices of the system.
Free power EDA
PowerELab Ltd offers PowerEsim, a free online power supply circuit and transfer design and simulation EDA toolkit including an integrated transformer design tool, input harmonics analysis, thermal simulation, reliability calculations, and automated design verification testing. PowerEsim includes over 30 topologies including flyback, boost, buck, synchronous buck, buck-boost, half-bridge, full-bridge, zero voltage switching (ZVS) phase shift full-bridge, ZVS active clamp, ZVS asymmetric, continuous conduction mode (CCM) power factor correction, discontinuous conduction mode (DCM) PFC, two-wheeler/switches forward converter, interleaved two-wheeler/switches converter, and more. PowerEsim is supported by sponsorships from component suppliers.
Motor drives and power converters
PSIM design and simulation tools from Altair can handle a wide range of activities including power converter loss calculations, motor drive efficiency calculations, conducted EMI analysis, and analog or digital control. PSIM also offers automatic embedded code generation for rapid control prototyping. Available Design Suites support power supplies (including resonant LLC converters), motor drives, electromagnetic interference (EMI) analysis and filter design, and hybrid and electric vehicle (HEV) powertrain systems. PSIM provides multiple levels of model complexity so designers can optimize simulations to meet specific simulation goals. It integrates with other Altair platforms like Flux/FluxMotor and MotionSolve, and with third-party software to support the design of multi-domain and multi-physics systems. Co-simulation can be implemented by linking to Simulink, ModelSim, LTspice, or any functional mock-up interface (FMI) supporting software (Figure 2).
Specialist power EDA tools are available that can address general power converter design, motor drive design, digital power, and other focused applications. In one case the EDA tools are a free service supported by component suppliers. Tools are available that provide extensive design, simulation, and design verification functions and several can link with third-party software for co-simulation. The first FAQ in this series presented some power EDA offerings from component suppliers and general-purpose EDA tool suppliers.
Accelerating power electronics and motor drive design, Altair
Design with RidleyWorks, Ridley Engineering
Digital Controller Design Functionality, Biricha Digital
PLECS Simulation Platform for Power Electronic Systems, Plexim
Switching Power Converter Design Platform on the Internet, PowerEsim