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The Power Plant

Power Integrity: Measuring, Optimizing, and Troubleshooting Power Related Parameters in Electronics Systems

Steve Sandler has written several power supply design articles for Power Electronics Technology magazine and also Now, he decided to write a book that covers all the major subjects related to power supply design. Here is a review of the book that will be available in 2014.

Steve Sandler says he wrote this book because it became increasingly clear to him that much of the data we need to do our jobs as electronics engineers is lacking. Either the data we need is missing entirely or when we do have data—that we have created or received from others—it is frequently lacking in completeness, fidelity, and/or accuracy. His goals for this book are:

·     To show component and device manufacturers the breadth and fidelity of the data end-users really do need to do their jobs, as well as to help them improve their datasheets accordingly.

·     To provide design and test engineers with methods that enables them to generate high-fidelity measurements with less effort by using the appropriate techniques and equipment.

·     That test instrument manufacturers will gain insight into the issues engineers are facing, as well as how they can improve their equipment capabilities, operating systems, software, and documentation.

Sandler’s most important hope is that this book also illustrates the impact that power supply performance has on the systems they power. Sandler says this book is written for engineers and technicians of all levels of experience, including those working in field support, design, and test engineering disciplines. It is also appropriate for engineering managers, as well as those who are responsible for the leasing or purchasing of test equipment.

The small signal step load response is well behaved and the voltage excursions (yellow trace) are less than 10 mV in response to a 25-mA load step (blue trace).
The small signal step load response is well behaved and the voltage excursions (yellow trace) are less than 10 mV in response to a 25-mA load step (blue trace).

This book is written in two sections. The first section is dedicated to the available types of test equipment, measurement fundamentals, and interfacing or connecting the test equipment to the device under test (DUT). The second section of the book addresses the specifics of making particular measurements. Each chapter discusses one or more specific measurement methods. Each measurement method includes a brief discussion of the measurement including why it is important. Additionally, each measurement method includes setup pictures.

After an introduction to the book in Chapter 1, he discussed his measurement philosophy in Chapter 2, covering subjects that include:

·     Measure without Influencing the Measurement

·     Measurement Limits

·     Measure in the Most Efficient and Direct Way

·     Noninvasive versus Invasive Measurement

·     In situ Measurement

·     Indirect versus Direct Measurement

·     Document Measurements Thoroughly

·     Operational Test Environment and Conditions

·     The Model of Each Piece of Test Equipmen

·     Measurement Annotations and Comments

·     Observed Anomalies


Chapter 3 discusses Measurement Fundamentals, among the subjects are Measurement Domains that include the frequency domain, time domain, spectrum domain, and a comparison of the domains.

Test Instruments are the subject of Chapter in which he describes Frequency Response Analyzers and Vector Network Analyzers , plus instruments from several manufacturers, that include:

·     OMICRON Lab

·     Agilent Technologies

·     Teledyne Lecroy

·     Rohde & Schwarz

·     Tektronix

·     Spectrum Analyzers

·     Picotest

Chapter 5 picks up where Chapter 4 left off, covering probes, injectors, and interconnects employed with test instruments. Probe subjects include the use of voltage, passive, active, and differential types.

In Chapter 6 covers the distributed system with subjects that range from noise, to power supply rejection ration (PSRR), PDN and control loop stability.

Measuring impedance is the subject of Chapter 7, measuring stability is Chapter 8’s title and measuring PSRR is covered in Chapter 9.

Reverse Transfer and Crosstalk is the subject of Chapter 10 that describes reverse transfer of linear, shunt and POL regulators. In addition, this chapter discusses measurement techniques:

·     Measuring the Input Current

·     Calibrating the Measurement

·     Measuring the Input Voltage

·     Calibrating the Measurement

·     Indirect Measurement

Power supply engineers can update their design knowledge by reading Chapter 11: Measuring Step Load Response.

One of the more difficult tasks for a power supply designer is Measuring Ripple and Noise, in which Chapter 12 describes the appropriate measurement methods and the probes to be employed.

Usually not covered in text books is Measuring Edges, the subject of Chapter 13. Its main subjects are bandwidth, rise time, probes, and p.c. board issues.

Troubleshooting with Near-Field Probes is the title of Chapter 14. This covers the basics of emissions, probes, measurement instruments, and spectrum gating.

Title of the final chapter, number 15 is High-Frequency Impedance Measurement. Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) subjects include setting the pulse rise time and interpreting TDR measurements.

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