Power management is an essential part of electronic design, since there are important dependencies between the reliability and efficiency of the power-management design and the rest of the system’s ability to convert signals and perform functions. There are six fundamentals to follow when considering any type of power-management design:

  1. Focus on Power Dissipation

Pay special attention to the things you can control, like the tradeoffs for managing power dissipation, increasing efficiency at each stage of power conversion, and optimizing overall operating conditions. 

  1. Think “Building Blocks”

In the same way that Lego-brand building blocks are designed to fit together, power standards can make it easier to complete a design. Select components that use compatible standards, at or below the circuit level, to simplify on-board communications and add protection. 

  1. Reduce the Cost-to-Build

Beyond the total material cost, consider “hidden” costs like the complexity of the solution, the number of vendors, and the long-term reliability of individual components. 

  1. Reduce Time-to-Market

Minimize iterations and simplify prototyping by designing smarter. That means looking for ways to reuse designs, and leveraging reference circuits and online tools. Also consider using more highly integrated components, selecting products that use common architectures, and working with fewer vendors.

  1. Shrink the Footprint

To create a slim, sleek end product, select small-footprint power discretes (inductors, capacitors, transformers), and avoid bulky power-management ICs. Layout and construction play a role, too, since package arrangement can impact overall size.

  1. Meet Regulatory Requirements

To be commercially viable, electronic products need to meet certain requirements for power efficiency and electromagnetic interference (EMI). The requirements vary, and the power-management components can either help or hinder efforts to meet these requirements.

To learn more about the six fundamentals and how they can help your design, download the full six-page Tech Brief.

Related Links: 

Design Tools
http://www.fairchildsemi.com/support/design-tools/ 

Power Topology Poster
http://www.fairchildsemi.com/Assets/zSystem/documents/collateral/brochures/Power-Supply-Topologies-Poster-Brochure.pdf