For any complex, sensitive or critical application; configurable and modular supplies can play a vital role in the overall system and can provide greater flexibility for the overall design. Modular and configurable power supplies provide a vast array of outputs using commercial, off the shelf building blocks, delivering a custom solution from proven, standard, stocked modules. Custom designs can be delivered in days rather than weeks or months. Typically they comprise of a front-end power supply chassis along with a number of modules that provide DC-DC regulation. These power supplies can range in power from 300 Watts to 24kW depending on chassis size. The modern, state of the art, power supplies alter according to the type of AC inputs like single-phase or three-phase. They offer a wide range of voltage (0.6Vdc to 1000Vdc) and current up to 1600A. The latest power supplies can contain up to sixteen slot chassis for direct integration of DC-DC modules. This technology supports a wide range of applications, especially those which require higher-power and multiple outputs.
The structure of the modular or configurable power supply is quite simple to understand, it commonly uses the connections of mains at the front and some number of independent DC modules as per the application. The first part or front part has the capability of filtering EMC, isolated transformation and power factor correction. After getting the output from the first part in terms of power, it is then subjected to DC modules which process the given powers and returns a DC output which is positively regulated. Configurable power supplies usually have multiple outputs with different DC slots which can be populated as per the required current and voltage rating. The more slots available increases the versatility of the configurable power supply. Modular programmability can also be achieved either offline or online using direct or remote analogue or digital control. This offers designers a great deal of flexibility not just in terms of final solution but also during the design phase. If a systems specification is still fluid a power supply with wide output voltage modules can be selected to ensure operation regardless of changes to the system design.
Development and Versatility of Configurable Supplies
A very high degree of versatility is one of the most promising features of any configurable power supply module. As mentioned earlier, the same input can be channeled to give out many outputs with different current and voltage properties by minor arrangements or adjustments. Ideally, a well-built configurable power supply must not possess many gaps or adjustments for achieving multiple current or voltage ratings or outputs. Also, it should possess the property of inherent isolation as this can greatly extend the flexibility during the time of negative voltages. In a configurable power supply module, each output is regulated by an independent regulator and it is supported by a feedback loop. Separate feedback for each module ensures that there is no cross-regulation and blocks the propagation of one rail to the other.
As most modern circuits are becoming more compact and highly populated with features, the power requirement for any application or system must be considered in the earlier design stage. For any configurable power supply, the customisation can be added from the start and adapted to the whole design of the application or system with little to no change in the actual physical design of the intended hardware solution.