Digital Power Design Meets Processing Speed
Christine Halsey posted on June 17, 2015 |

Texas Instruments has sponsored the following story

Whether you’re new to digital power design or consider yourself a pro, you will enjoy these new user-friendly design tools. They provide a learning platform for the newbie while giving a veteran an intuitive GUI for making easy adjustments.

From designing power conditioners (used to clean up AC power being delivered to the power grid or to sensitive electrical components such as industrial drives) to power inverters for solar panels or electric/hybrid cars, these new tools can help speed up your time to market (TTM).

According to a release issued by Texas Instruments, the company offers the broadest portfolio of digitally enabled, configurable and fully programmable power controllers.  This article will look at TI’s Digital Power BoosterPack, how it can be utilized with the C2000™ Piccolo LaunchPad and the provided tools that can simplify your job.


Digital Power BoosterPack

The Digital Power BoosterPack features a buck converter power stage which is more power efficient than using voltage regulators. It takes in 9V dc while the buck converter changes it to a nominal 2V dc.  The output can be configured to other voltage levels within the tolerable design limit for the power stage. Active current feedback provides readings to the software, which in turn helps stabilize the digital power control loop.  Programmable Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is used to drive the transistors in the power stage.  You can then use software to enable or disable transients from being applied to the output of the converter, thereby allowing you to measure the response of the control method.

The Digital Power BoosterPack is compatible with the F28069M Launchpad. This will provide you with a hardware platform to check out TI’s software code examples and powerSUITE digital power software design tools.

Figure 1 - Digital Power BoosterPack
Figure 1 - Digital Power BoosterPack

Piccolo LaunchPad

The purpose of pairing the Digital Power BoosterPack with the F28069M LaunchPad is to provide an evaluation platform for the software used to control digital power output stages.  The simple buck topology is controlled using the C2000™ TMS320F28069 Piccolo microcontroller.  Controlling the power stage using digital control allow for more configurable power conversion control.

The BoosterPack can be plugged into the C2000 Piccolo microcontroller LaunchPad. With the tools described below you can read in system conditions, providing a basis for determining parameters to help fine-tune your system for maximum efficiency.

Figure 2 - Digital Power BoosterPack with the C2000 LaunchPad
Figure 2 - Digital Power BoosterPack with the C2000 LaunchPad


The dedicated controller ensures that your digital output is consistently stable and efficient.  Using TI’s digital power software library and available code examples, you can save money by decreasing development time.  In addition to controlling the power stage, the C2000 Microcontroller can also monitor the system and predict potential problems. 

TI’s new power solutions allow you to streamline complicated design for welding power supplies, uninterruptible power supplies, and active power filters. The C2000 can drive high switching frequencies and a high number of phases or power rails, in order to reduce the size of the design. System costs are brought down and reliability increases when you can select the proper digital power ICs.


Digital Power Solutions

TI engineers have prepared an easy-to-follow video tutorial called Digital Power Buck Converter BoosterPack Out of Box Demo.  This will help you quickly set up your device.

You may have heard of or used TI’s ControlSUITE. It now includes powerSUITE, a group of tools you can utilize to make power design easier and more efficient. The main features of powerSUITE are the SFRA (Software Frequency Response Analyzer), the Compensation Designer and the Solution Adapter.


Software Frequency Response Analyzer (SFRA)

The C2000 SFRA enables you to analyze and tune the response of the control loop via software.  The functions in the SFRA Software Library can be called by your main power program and are written in assembly language to ensure relatively fewer number of clock cycles used in code.

Once called by your program, these functions work by injecting various frequencies into the power stage while monitoring the output. A CSV file is created and you also are provided a graph showing the response of the system. You can then make modifications as needed and rerun the analysis.

Since this is being done via software and not through a piece of equipment that has to be set up and monitored directly, it can be called by the main program periodically. This allows the system to monitor the output and predict potential problems before they occur.


Compensation Designer

The Compensation Designer can be used as a stand-alone tool or it can also be launched via powerSUITE. It will use either modelled power stage parameters or the SFRA measurements and then allow you to choose the most suitable compensator coefficients for your application.

You can use up to five of seven types of available compensators such as PID, Two Pole Two Zero, and Three Pole Three Zero. The GUI makes it easy to select the desired type of compensation and change parameters. Graphs automatically update and show the effect the compensator has on the output. Parameters needed for programming are provided. Alternatively, you can run it in stand-alone mode and use your own hardware and software design.


Solution Adapter

The Solution Adapter provides a three-step process for customizing your power converter/supply. First, select the development kit, then choose the device and control mode. Make fine-tuning adjustments for inductance, capacitance, input and output power ratings, as well as load ratings. Finally, use the SFRA to monitor the closed loop performance and make adjustments as needed.

The Digital Power BoosterPack and the C2000 Piccolo LaunchPad can make your next digital power design painless with a group of easy-to-use software tools that allow you to test and visualize changes.


Texas Instruments has sponsored promotion of its Digital Power Solutions products on They have no editorial input to this post - all opinions are mine.  Christine Halsey


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