Learning kit aims to educate

Louise Davis

The Würth Elektronik Edition learning kit is aimed at students and designers and developers of power supplies to help investigate and evaluate the impact of magnetic components in a buck regulator, namely inductors and transformers. For the engineer the influence of the magnetics on the performance of the power supply can significantly accelerate the development of a product or an application.

As an integral part of the Learning Kit´s performance monitoring instrumentation, Wurth Elektronik chose Variohm EuroSensor´s ETP-RT series ring-terminal mounted NTP temperature sensors - allowing the convenience of determining temperature on the TI-PMLK control board where thermal contact can be made by screw clamping the sensor directly on the board or simply by a conductive adhesive method on the actual inductor under test.

The Learning Kit was developed by Würth Elektronik in collaboration with Texas Instruments and Dr Nicola Fermia at the University of Salermo, Italy. Texas Instruments produced its TI-PMLK series of hands-on learning kits as a collection of power management labs and coursework intended to educate students and engineers on electronic theory and common topologies used for power supply design.

The learning kit provides a series of features that determine the optimal values for inductors in switched-mode power supplies. Each inductor can be individually selected to compare the effect of different core materials, inductance values and size. Various operating conditions are adjustable: switching frequency, EMC filter and ambient temperature. The board´s temperature function includes the ability to overheat the inductor to investigate the effects of the temperature rise. Convenient mounting for the ETP-RT ring terminal temperature probe was an important consideration for Wurth Elektronik where the ring terminal probe design also lends itself to straightforward adaptation for EMC.

The Variohm ETP series probes are part of a range of component-embedded sensors that are designed to simplify installation and provide quick and convenient high-precision temperature measurement. The range is also supplied as hexagonal bolts as well as tubular designs in PTFE, stainless steel or brass. They are all available as PTC and NTC versions in a variety of standard options to suit general industrial or scientific temperature measurement tasks such as HVAC, power amplifiers, medical instruments and more. All variants include IP67-sealed thermistors with encapsulation techniques that yield good thermal conductivity to ensure fast response times. Typical temperature range is -40 to +125°C for the NTC (10K3A1B) version and -40 to +250°C for the PT version.