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Manufacturer required load that would enable stringent load variation testing of point of load converters.

Smart devices and devices that utilize information and communications technology are becoming rapidly more sophisticated. The control circuits contained in the field programmable gate arrays (FPGA,DSP,ASIC etc.), digital signal processors, and application-specific integrated circuits, which are central to the operation of these devices operate at increasingly lower voltages and higher currents, have created an increased demand for topologies capable of enduring drastic load variations in the form of point of load (POL) converters.

The Problem

The manufacturer’s electronic load could not handle low-voltage, high current applications or drastic load variations.

The manufacturer produces semiconductor devices and power supplies. When developing a new POL converter, they found that issues with their existing electronic loads were slowing down the development process. A team leader in the design division explains:

“The specifications of our existing electronic loads did not enable us to perform the low-voltage, high current testing required. The loads had a minimum operating voltage of 1.5 V, so had to be combined with extra power supplies or the like to enable low-voltage testing. This made the process of configuring and connecting the loads complex and time-consuming, and also made us nervous about the accuracy of the test results. The loads had a maximum slew rate of 30A/μs, which was insufficient for performing intense load variation tests, and we were therefore, unable to properly evaluate the devices under test.”

He continues:
“In order to simulate real-world applications, we also wanted to run multiple POL converters at once. However, synchronizing the electronic loads was difficult and time-consuming. Our engineers were unhappy about the complex and inefficient nature of the task.”

Deciding that upgrading the electronic loads was a matter of urgency in order to make testing more accurate and more efficient, the team leader began to do some research.

“With digital, large-scale integrated circuits (LSI), a consistent power supply is paramount. We were looking for a high-spec programmable load that could handle low-voltage, high-current applications.”

Key Aspects of the Problem

  • The manufacturer needed an electronic load that could handle low-voltage, high-current applications and drastic fluctuations.

  • The manufacturer also wanted an efficient way of operating multiple POL converters simultaneously.

How was this problem solved?