Moving Toward Non-Isolation

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff December 30, 2004

Change is inevitable, and the switching power supply industry is no exception. According to market research and consulting firm Venture Development Corporation (VDC), the most notable industry changes are happening at the distributed power level.

The firm notes that designers are moving toward distributed bus architectures, where voltage is generated from a front-end DC bus and converted into the required voltage at the point of use; this is known as point of load (POL) regulation. This trend contrasts with the traditional power distribution bus architecture, which uses a central power source that converts incoming voltage separately to each required regulated DC output and distributes it individually to every point of use in the equipment.

According to VDC, non-isolated POL DC/DC converters offer multiple advantages over traditional, isolated DC/DC converters. They have no transformers of electrical isolation, allowing them to be smaller and less expensive. They also operate at a higher frequency by being closer to the point of use. Additionally, they lack the components and complexity of isolated converters and can easily adjust output voltage to accommodate different loads. And, failure of a DC/DC converter only affects that single module.

VDC notes that the concept of true on-board distributed power is not new, but it is seeing an increase in use. In response to this trend, the company has developed a global market demand analysis for DC/DC converters, DC/DC regulators and PWM/PFM controllers. Click here for a PDF of the analysis.