Microchip adds dsPIC device group for digital power supply designs

May 12, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Microchip’s 14-member dsPIC33EP “GS” family of digital signal controllers (DSCs) has been designed to deliver the performance needed to implement more sophisticated non-linear, predictive and adaptive control algorithms at higher switching frequencies; the chips offer higher performance, more integration, lower power and smaller footprints.

Advanced algorithms enable power-supply designs that are more energy efficient; compared with the previous generation of DSCs, the new dsPIC33EP “GS” devices provide less than half the latency, when used in a three-pole three-zero compensator, and consume up to 80% less power in any application.

This dsPIC33EP “GS” family includes features such as Live Update Flash capability, which is helpful for high-availability or “always-on” systems. Live Update can be used to change the firmware of an operating power supply, including the active compensator calculation code, while maintaining continuous regulation. Variants from this new digital-power-optimised DSC family are available in the 4 x 4 mm UQFN package for space-constrained designs.

Other features of this family include up to five 12-bit ADCs with as many as 22 ADC inputs, providing total throughput of 16 Msamples/sec with a 300 nsec ADC latency. The dsPIC33EP “GS” devices include 12-bit DACs for each of the four analogue comparators, for higher-precision designs. The two on-chip programmable gain amplifiers can be used for current sensing and other precision measurements. Including these advanced analogue amplifiers on the device reduces the number of external components required.

Microchip aims the series at: computing and telecoms AC/DC and DC/DC power supplies; industrial solar inverters, LED lighting, HID lighting, battery chargers, projectors and welders; and automotive LED and HID headlights and DC/DC converters.

The dsPIC33EP “GS” family is supported by Microchip’s MPLAB Starter Kit for Digital Power (DM330017-2) which is priced at $129.99, allowing exploration of multiple digital power-conversion topologies.

A Digital Compensator Design Tool helps engineers to calculate the optimum compensator coefficients required to maximise the performance of their designs. This free tool works with Microchip’s compensator software libraries and royalty-free dsPIC33 reference designs.

Microchip has partnered with  Biricha Digital to offer in-depth digital-power design workshops that help analogue power-supply designers, as well as embedded system programmers, to exploit the capabilities of full digital control in their designs.

The 14 dsPIC33EP