Intelligent Power Supply Benefits

Until recently, power supplies were pretty much deaf, dumb and blind. Providing a power supply with any sort of intelligence required extensive, time-consuming system design.

Intelligent power modules simplify the task by providing advanced circuitry that improves performance and makes the high-power solid-state switching process easier. They do so in a variety of ways.

Optimal Power Delivery

Whether you’re powering a single server, a rack full of switches or your entire data center, intelligent power supplies can help you get the most out of your equipment. Power-efficient design, passive cooling, high power factor, and a comprehensive suite of protection features are just a few of the ways that they’ll keep your system running at optimal performance.

Smart power supply technology also minimizes energy loss during voltage conversion processes and improves efficiency in terms of overall power utilization. Integrated communication capabilities enable remote monitoring and control, which allows for proactive power management and optimization. This helps to avoid unplanned downtime and ensures maximum plant availability.

State-of-the-art security systems require reliable power to maintain status communication in the event of an emergency. For example, fire alarm and fire detection power supplies must provide backup power to illuminate evacuation route floor lights and signage throughout a building. An all-in-one intelligent power supply can provide all the necessary functions, including an AC-DC power supply, battery charger, and DC UPS, in a single DIN rail-mounted module that simplifies system design.

Power supply manufacturers have been adding intelligence to their products for some time, but in a piecemeal fashion and in reaction to specific market needs. Typically, they have only limited ability to communicate with the systems they Microwave sensor manufacturers power and often depend on customer-developed hardware and software interfaces. ifm’s intelligent power supplies feature IO-Link capability, which enables remote and automated monitoring, configuration and diagnostics.

Optimal Voltage

Power supplies perform many essential functions such as limiting current to safe levels, shutting off in the event of an overload or fault, power conditioning (to prevent electronic noise or voltage surges from reaching the load), battery charging and power-factor correction. Intelligent power supplies take this functionality and add microprocessors for advanced control, monitoring and communication features.

A true intelligent power supply is able to monitor its own operating conditions and provide digital information such as output voltage, output current, internal temperature, fan operation, battery status, charger operation and logged power-on hours. It is also able to communicate with the system it serves via industry standard protocols such as I2C, RS232 and CAN.

It should also be able to easily communicate with the system and the outside world without requiring extensive software development on the part of the systems integrators. This is achieved by integrating the power supply with a communication chip that allows direct connection to networks using CAN, RS485, Modbus and TCP/IP.

The intelligent security power supply is an example of such a product. It is an all-in-one DIN rail-mounted module that combines an AC-DC power supply, backup battery charger and a DC UPS in one unit to simplify system design and reduce cost. This supply provides backup power for systems that illuminate evacuation route signs and floor lights to guide occupants and responders when a fire breaks out in a structure.

Optimal Current

The ability to deliver more current over a longer distance translates into greater energy efficiency for the power supply and the system it powers. This can help reduce energy costs while improving overall system reliability.

The smart power supply can also monitor currents, signaling when load levels approach their maximum capacity and making targeted shut downs as required by the application. This prevents excessive stress on components and the resulting potential for failure.

A truly intelligent power supply can also communicate with the systems it powers in a digital manner without the need for complex and time-consuming software development on the part of the system’s integrator. This can allow the IPS to alert the system integrator when an Intelligent power supply issue arises, like a battery with too low a charge, and make proactive adjustments.

Smart power supplies can also monitor the internal temperature of the IPS and indicate when a fan needs to be replaced, enabling an easy repair that minimizes downtime. This reduces operating expenses and the need for costly cooling in the power supply’s environment, which can further lower energy bills. This also supports green operations and helps organizations meet environmental targets and enhance their reputation among customers, partners and stakeholders. ifm’s IP67 range of intelligent power supplies can help achieve all of these objectives and more, with the option to combine products for a complete 24 V solution that includes redundant modules, uninterruptible power supplies and more.

Optimal Temperature

The temperature at which a power supply operates is critical to the performance and longevity of the supply. Running a power supply outside its specified operating temperatures will result in overheating and possible breakdowns. In applications where the power supply will be touching human skin, an excessively high operating temperature can result in burns and injuries. Proper thermal design will mitigate these risks, and higher-rated supplies are able to operate at ambient temperatures much higher than lower-rated designs without compromising safety.

Low temperatures can also reduce a power supply’s lifetime. A power supply’s ability to hold an output voltage steady at a cold temperature can be affected by the seals on the electrolytic capacitors, which will fail over time if the supply is stored at very cold temperatures.

When choosing an intelligent SCR power supply, look for one with a wide range of operating temperatures and a high efficiency rating. A wider operating temperature range can improve efficiency by reducing the temperature rise of the supply and by allowing for the use of less cooling.

A programmable power supply that uses a microcontroller will be more flexible and offer greater functionality than traditional analog ICs. These devices can support a variety of communication protocols and enable integration with HMIs, PLCs, SCADA systems and industrial Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.