Power management encompasses a range of power converter types and topologies and includes systems like ac/dc power supplies, dc/dc converters, LED lighting, 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 considerations.
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. Part one of this two-part FAQ series reviews some power EDA tools available from component manufacturers and general-purpose EDA tool suppliers. The second FAQ presents several options from specialist power EDA tool makers.
Component suppliers can be a good source for power converter EDA tools. They know their devices better than anyone else and they understand power. The following are a few examples.
Analog Devices offers a broad range of power EDA tools starting with LTpowerCAD, a complete power supply design tool that provides recommendations for component values and performance estimates for specific applications. The LTpowerCAD platform includes LTpowerPlanner, a system-level power architecture tool. Analog Devices also offers LTspice SPICE simulation software that includes schematic capture and waveform viewer (Figure 1). Additional power CAD tools from Analog Devices include:
- LTpowerPlay supports the company’s digital power system management devices.
- The Power Studio is a Windows-based development environment for sequencing and margining up to 17 dc/dc converters in multi-rail power architectures.
- Signal Chain Power Configurator enables signal chain system developers to identify the power management devices best suited for specific signal chain applications.
Infineon offers several application-specific power EDA tools:
- AC/DC power supply design using the PowerEsim online development environment
- Power factor correction (PFC) plus LCC resonant converters for constant current output to support high-power LED lighting
- Integrated power module simulation using piecewise linear electrical circuit simulation (PLECS)
- Automotive power supply simulation tool using PLECS
- Loss and thermal simulations for power modules, discrete and disc devices using PLECS
The Power Management Design Center from STMicroelectronics supports design phases from power converter specification to prototyping. It supports several topologies and configurations for dc/dc converters, ac/dc power supplies, and solar battery chargers. A separate LED Lighting design tool is available, and so is the Digital Power Workbench for the development of power supplies using digital control techniques.
Designers of power converters and active filter circuits can use the Webench Circuit Designer from Texas Instruments (TI) which supports component selection, converter design, and simulation. Design options can be explored using electrical simulation or Monte Carlo and Corner analysis, and the final design can be exported to a variety of CAD tools. TI also offers its Power Stage Designer a Java-based tool that helps speed up the design of 21 topologies based on user inputs. It includes a Bode plotting tool and various design functions.
Keysight’s power electronics EDA offering includes supporting laboratory test and measurement instruments and includes four stages:
- Evaluating power devices and components.
- Device model extraction and system simulation to produce a virtual prototype.
- A physical prototype is then subjected to performance measurements and debugging.
- Design validation and certification are performed over various operating conditions and environments.
Keysight’s PathWave advanced design system (ADS) includes a power electronics library of the components needed for the design of power supplies (Figure 2). Simulations can be performed in both time and frequency domains.
The Spice-based simulation and verification tools in the Altium Designer tool suite support the creation of custom power supplies including PCB layout. The tools are accessible inside the schematic editor with links directly to component models and libraries. The results can be saved and exported for analysis using MatLab and similar programs. Altium Designer takes the design process through to the final step with the creation of schematics, and PCB layouts with full simulations, and concludes with manufacturing-ready files.
As shown in this first of two FAQs, a variety of EDA tools are available from component manufacturers and general-purpose tool makers to speed the development and validation of power converter design and support the needs of power management system designers. The second FAQ reviews the wide array of options available from specialist power EDA tool makers.
Create customized power supply and active filter circuits, Texas Instruments
Design and Simulation of Power Electronics with EDA Tools, Keysight
PowerDesk – SPICE Simulator for PoL Converter, Infineon
Power Management Design Center, STMicroelectronics
Power Management Tools, Analog Devices
Power Stage Designer, Texas Instruments
Power Supply Circuit Design Tools With Simulation, Altium
PowerEsim Switch Mode Power Supply Design Tool, Infineon