Power electronics testing

Power electronics test

Mastering power electronics test

Leading solutions to test your power electronic designs

The power system on a digital processing board faces issues that are different yet akin to those of logic circuits. These issues involve trade-offs affecting design decisions. Wide bandgap semiconductors such as gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon carbide (SiC) in power converters help to:

  • Decrease the size of the power supply
  • Reduce switching losses
  • Increase efficiency
  • However, the higher switching frequencies also amplify the potential for parasitics within the power converter.

Challenges in power electronics design

Increasing the operating frequency of a switched mode power supply can reduce inductor current ripple, output voltage ripple, and capacitance as well as the size, but it also increases power supply loss and heat, interactions between high and low side transistors, and shoot-through. Increased noise from the power supply is a primary cause of EMI. Compact layouts, a source of increased heat with thermal variations, result in errors in components like regulators, amplifiers, and converters. Lower voltages reduce tolerances and increase precision requirements. The power tree becomes more complex to deliver a wide variety of voltages to different power domains, requiring more rails to reach all the integrated circuit pins. Thinner DC rails are a way to make a layout more compact and manage layout complexity, but they are more susceptible to overheating and increased inductance.

Ensuring reliability in power electronics circuits

Reliability is a crucial requirement for power electronics circuits; if the power circuit fails, the device will not operate. High efficiency to minimize energy loss causing heat generation contributes to reliability. Even the most efficient power electronics circuits will generate heat, so well-designed heat dissipation and suitable material selection are essential. Power electronics circuits must also meet EMI requirements; emissions will affect both the device itself and any nearby devices.

Testing power electronics with Rohde & Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz provides accurate, fast, and reliable test and measurement tools for the following areas of power electronics that help make the best design decisions and troubleshoot problems:

  • Switching analysis: Includes AC-DC converter fundamentals, testing for reliability in power converter design, and verification methods for electrical isolation between input and output in AC to DC converters.
  • Control loop measurements: A power supply aims to maintain a constant output level, despite the load from the device changing. A Bode plot is the tool of choice for power supply control loop analysis.
  • EMI debug: Detecting, analyzing, and correcting causes of EMI early in the development process is the surest way to pass an EMI compliance test and avoid late project redesigns, delays, and added costs.
  • Power consumption: For battery-powered devices, battery life time is a critical design consideration. Minimizing power consumption is essential for both battery-powered and mains-powered electrical equipment.
  • Power integrity: Analyzing the performance of the power delivery network on a PCB is a crucial part of the circuit design process.
  • Design verification: The dynamic behavior during startup and the effects of changes in load require more complex test equipment.

Power electronics testing solutions

Switching analysis

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EMI debugging and analysis

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Control loop analysis

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Design verification

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Power integrity testing

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Power efficiency testing

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Related webinars for power electronics test

Webinar: Reducing power consumption of battery-operated devices

This webinar is intended for engineers who work on designing the electrical components of battery-operated devices.

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Webinar: Tips and tricks on double-pulse testing for power electronics

Join us in this webinar to learn about the double-pulse testing method for power electronics with test solutions from Rohde & Schwarz.

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Webinar: Switched-mode power supply design with saturated inductors

Join this industrial expert talk webinar, introducing switch mode power supply designs, modeling & test concepts.

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