Intelligent Digital Design

What is Digital Power?

While the basic functionality of the offline switched mode power supply has changed little over the years, the number of devices requiring power supplies, coupled with the complexity of these devices, has heaped a slew of additional and often disparate requirements onto the humble power supply. These are of course in addition to the core requirements of low cost, small form factor, reliable and efficient power conversion.

The ever increasing proliferation of electronic goods that plug into the ac-mains supply has also lead to increased legislation and constantly evolving performance standards all of which further increase the demands placed on the ubiquitous power supply. This leads to a situation that complicates the usual goals and requires a new approach to achieve the best overall result.

Digital power is more than just a brute force translation of an analog solution to the digital domain. To approach digital power in this way is to miss the benefits that digital techniques can deliver. When implemented correctly and with due consideration of the design tasks at hand, the sophistication and flexibility that digital can bring offers us that new approach that we are looking for.

With digital control more sophisticated algorithms can be implemented at the same or lower cost when compared to traditional analog control approaches. Digital circuitry allows you to implement functionality that would be very difficult if not impossible to implement using analog circuitry. This opens up new approaches to the whole control function. One example is the capability to bring the full control loop inside the IC thus eliminating the external components that are required for analog loop compensation.

Implementing adaptive control becomes a real possibility opening up the capability to optimize the performance over a wider range of operating conditions and operating modes. In addition calibration techniques are much more feasible, allowing correction of not just linear static error sources but also the capability to implement advanced correction for non-linear error sources. Further, digital designs do not age or drift with time, insuring that you get a more consistent performance over the lifetime of the product.

To summarize the benefits - a digital approach provides you with a multitude of additional capabilities and tools that can be utilized to develop better, more innovative solutions.

In relation to the family of Ikon Semiconductor digital controller ICs for dimmable LED retrofit applications, the digital implementation aspect is taken care of completely within the IC and is transparent to the end user. This application of "intelligent digital design" by Ikon Semiconductor leads to a number of specific benefits for the end user:

  • Single stage dimmable design with digital primary side control
    • Small size
    • Lower cost
    • Enhanced reliability
  • High PFC with reduced output current ripple
    • Lower cost
    • Enhanced reliability
    • Improved thermal performance
    • Smaller magnetics
  • Reduction in number of required external components
    • No external loop compensation circuitry
    • No optocoupler
    • Simpler design with shorter development cycles
    • Lower cost
    • Enhanced reliability
  • Less sensitive to external component tolerances
    • Lower cost component selection possible
    • Improved manufacturing yield