Power Management

'Smart' Transformer Supports Power Grid of Tomorrow

Imagine a system that handles electricity flow not just from the power company to our homes, but also back from our homes to the power company. North Carolina State University researchers say an existing technology – the solid-state transformer — could make the conceptual "smart grid" a reality.

Posted in: News, Power Management, Power Supplies, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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Auto-Balancing Series-Stacked Input DC-DC Converter

This invention could enable practical, reliable, and efficient power conversion in high-voltage DC systems without power level limitation.

ADC-DC converter that can operate from a high input voltage is needed for future high-power space applications. However, the selection of space-qualified, high-voltage transistors and filter capacitors for such a converter are very limited. The available high-voltage components have lower performance than lower-voltage components. One possible solution to this problem is connecting in series the inputs of multiple converters to lower the input voltage at the individual converter inputs. However, because of component tolerances, performance degradation, and transient events, this can result in an unbalanced voltage distribution throughout the various inputs. Excessive voltage on any of the stacked converters can damage components and cause a catastrophic failure. A circuit that could inherently balance the voltage between the inputs of multiple low-voltage DCDC converters would have better performance and reliability.

Posted in: Briefs, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Power Management, Capacitors, Integrated circuits, Switches, Transistors, Performance upgrades, Spacecraft
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Method of Forming Textured Silicon Substrate by Maskless Cryogenic Etching

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has developed an advanced energy-storage device to accommodate portable devices, minimize emissions from automobiles, and enable more challenging space missions. The use of silicon for the anode of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries is attractive because silicon has the highest theoretical charge capacity of any material when used as an anode in a Li-ion battery. Conventional silicon anodes undergo large-volume expansions and contractions with the absorption and desorption of Li-ions, however, and this results in pulverization of the anode after several charge and discharge cycles. JPL’s innovative Li-ion battery anodes are made of micro-textured silicon, which is able to accommodate the stress of expansion and contraction during the charging cycle. These robust silicon anodes make high-capacity, rapid-charge-rate Li-ion batteries practical.

Posted in: Briefs, Power Management, Energy, Battery cell chemistry, Energy storage systems, Lithium-ion batteries, Silicon alloys
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Power Converters

Schaefer, Hopkinton, MA, introduced the C/B 4800 Series 6U DC/DC and AC/DC converter modules ranging in output power up to 5kW. Nine DC input ranges are standard, and AC input options are 1-Phase 115VAC or 230VAC, as well as 3- Phase inputs of 3 × 200VAC, 3 × 400VAC, or 3 × 480VAC. Battery charging models are also available. All modules feature a standard operating temperature of -20 to +75 °C.

Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Power System

North Atlantic Industries, Bohemia, NY, announced the VPX56H-6 6U rugged VPX power product that provides up to 1,000 Watts of power (CC4 temperature range, full load) with five outputs, and is compliant with MIL-STD-704F. Other features include current share, remote error sensing, and a built-in EMI filter compliant with MILSTD- 461F. It has VITA 62 compatible keying, outputs and signaling, user programmability, I2C communication, geographical addressing, programmable over-temperature monitor, and a status LED.

Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Power Supplies

The PS5R-V DIN-rail power supplies from IDEC Corp., Sunnyvale, CA, includes 7.5W, 10W, 15W, 30W, 60W, 90W, 120W, and 240W versions. Operating temperature ranges from -25 to +75 °C, enabling the supplies to be used in control panels without the need for air conditioning or other cooling devices. Other features are spring-up screw terminals that accept ring and fork terminals, as well as stripped wire.

Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Energy Device

Murata Americas, Smyrna, GA, released UMAL, a low-profile energy device that delivers a slim, high-capacity energy source with a nominal voltage of 2.3 VDC. It can supply 12 mAh with a maximum discharge current of 120 mA, and withstands load fluctuations. It has a low internal resistance of 200 mOhm, and operates over the temperature range of -20 to 70 °C.

Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Power Distribution Boxes

Phoenix Contact, Harrisburg, PA, offers M12 power distribution boxes designed for field-based power supply voltages of 24V. The boxes, in combination with standard M12 power cables of 4 ×10 AWG conductors, can eliminate voltage drop that occurs across long cable runs. The boxes have four T-coded M12 receptacles with a current load of up to 10 A per channel.

Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Power Modules

TDK-Lambda Americas, National City, CA, introduced the TDK-Lambda PFE1000FA series of AC-DC power modules that enables designers to utilize a single device containing power factor correction, regulation, and input-output isolation. The modules operate from a universal input of 85- 265Vac, and are available with nominal outputs of 12, 28, and 48Vdc. They deliver full power with an operating baseplate temperature range of -40 to +100 °C.

Posted in: Products, Power Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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NASA’s Pursuit of Power

Advances in batteries and propulsion enable innovations in both terrestrial and deep-space power applications.

Advances in Capacitor Materials

Electrochemical capacitors, or supercapacitors, have gained intense interest as an alternative to traditional energy storage devices. Applications for supercapacitors range from plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) to backup power sources. While the power density of supercapacitors surpasses that of batteries, commercially available batteries have a significantly higher specific energy density.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Power Management, Propulsion, Batteries, Energy storage systems, Ultracapacitors and supercapacitors, Nanomaterials, Spacecraft
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