Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cutting the Power Cord

Cordless versions of small electric tools have been around for some time.  As discussed in my previous post, battery improvements and a "clean sheet of paper" design approach have led to significant progress in this area. However, there are power levels where the combination of battery power/ size/ cost just isn't there to make a direct battery version of a product practical. Today these applications are still only available as grid connected devices yet many of these applications are already electronicly controlled.  

What if we could cut the cord on these applications without changing the existing product at all? The answer is that we can by providing electronics to boost the voltage to grid levels.

This isn't a particularly new concept. One often used approach is to install a DC TO AC inverter between the battery and the product. The output of the inverter mimics the 50 or 60 HZ power line at 120 or 220 voltc AC. However, unless the load is an induction motor or has a 50/60 HZ transformer, this approach is ineffecient, unnecessarily costly and electrically noisy.

A better way is to take advantage of the fact that most grid operated electronically controlled systems first rectify the incoming AC to DC. So converting the low battery DC to high voltage DC works.  Put the DCDC converter near the battery, and the wires to the application need be no bigger than their AC counterpart. Size the battery to the mission and the battery size and weight are minimized. Since the DCDC converter can be smart, it can accurately meter battery power and provide an excellent level of safety. All without changing the design of the end product..

At Software Defined Power our DSP controlled DCDC technology can be scaled from peak power levels of a few watts to 5KW and above with effeciences better than 94% and power densities of  16W/cubic inch.

This technology opens all kinds of options for product and system portability. and we love brainstorming options with our clients, so call or drop us an email and start thinking "what if". 

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