Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
 
EE Times-India > Power/Alternative Energy
 
 
Power/Alternative Energy  

Examine power priority

Posted: 22 Mar 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:low power  battery-powered application  MOSFET 

These days you can't look at a data sheet or design and not see Low Power, usually fairly high in the "features" section. Everyone likes low power, and why not? All other things being equal, low power is either a must-have or a nice-to-have attribute, and hardly ever a not-needed one. But it is important to step back and ask why you favour low power, and the implications of going low power.

For battery-power designs, lower power means more operating time before the batteries must be recharged or replaced. Even a modest 5 per cent or 10 per cent decrease in consumption is usually worth the cost, depending on the application or market, of course. In contrast, for AC line-operated products, lower power operation really plays out in thermal dissipation issues more than power-source issues, since another few watts from the line is usually not as big a deal as reducing internal heating, and thus cooling requirements, in the box. In fact, a few milliwatts saved in a line-operated device is usually insignificant. And for big applications, such as running a multi-horsepower motor, a few milliwatts saved is usually meaningless, unless it means that a smaller MOSFET driver can be used, or a driver heat sink will be unnecessary.

Low power usually saves money, but not always. Before you rush to put that low-power IC on your BOM, ask yourself the eternal, basic engineering questions: Why am I doing this? Is the "pain" worth the gain? What are my priorities? What are the trade-offs and downsides, if any, of going this route? Will I be unnecessarily limiting my list of approved vendors?

Then you can make an informed decision, without going the low-power route just to be trendy and have a nice PR statement. It wasn't that long ago when consumer multimedia amplifier in "stereo" systems boasted, right on their front panels, that they incorporated 1bit DACs, as if that would impress the customer. And where are those boasts now?

- Bill Schweber
Power Management DesignLine





Comment on "Examine power priority"
Comments:  
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:
 
 
Webinars

Seminars

Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

 

Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

 
Back to Top