Interoperable power systems

Paul Boughton

A consortium of three key power companies has started to roll out its specification for interoperable power systems, writes Nick Flaherty.

The Architects of Modern Power (AMP) brings together CUI, Ericsson Power Modules and Murata to boost the interoperability and supply chain reliability of distributed power systems, and is selecting devices to form part of a common specification.

The first device specification is for three digital DC/DC controllers from Intersil that have been incorporated into digital point-of-load (POL) DC/DC converters. These converters provide high current loads for high-end FPGAs and ASICs employed in densely populated power supplies in servers, storage equipment and basestations.

Intersil’s DC/DC digital controllers support the AMP Group’s microAMP and megaAMP standards to establish common mechanical and electrical specifications for the development of advanced power conversion technology for distributed power systems, but beyond purely mechanical specifications, it is the standardisation of monitoring, control and communications functions, and the creation of common configuration files for plug-and-play interoperability that will ensure compatibility between each firms’ products.

The ‘microAMP’ specification covers supplies rated at 20 to 25 A in vertical and horizontal configurations, while the ‘megaAMP’ defines requirements for 40 to 50 A vertical and horizontal units. 

For advanced bus dc-dc converters the ‘ABC-ebAMP’ standard relates to advanced bus bricks measuring 58.42 x 22.66mm and ranging from 264 to 300W. For quarter-brick supplies, measuring 58.42 x 36.83mm and ranging from 420 to 468 W, the Group has defined the ‘ABC-qbAMP’ standard. These standards detail mechanical footprints, features, and configuration files.

“Architects of Modern Power selected Intersil’s digital controller technology for our microAmp and megaAMP module standards because they provided the most advanced feature set on the market,” said Mark Adams, AMP Group spokesperson. “Simply converting one voltage to another voltage is no longer an option for our customers. Now, perfect voltage conversion under all conditions is required. Intersil’s digital power technology helps us achieve this.”

Intersil DC/DC controllers provide industry leading digital power features from  4.5V to 14V input voltage rails and scalable output current from 6A to over 300A, including automatic compensation, pin-strap current sharing, and Intersil’s proprietary DDC (digital DC) bus for inter-controller communication. 

The DDC bus enables system-based sequencing, fault management and current sharing with other Intersil digital power devices, all on a single wire.