News Column

Patent Issued for Controller for a Switch and Method of Operating the Same

August 12, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Technology -- According to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, a patent by the inventors genannt Berghegger, Ralf Schroeder (Glandorf, DE); Frey, Michael (Erfurt, DE), filed on January 27, 2012, was published online on July 29, 2014.

The assignee for this patent, patent number 8792256, is Power Systems Technologies Ltd. (Ebene, MU).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A switched-mode power converter (also referred to as a 'power converter') is a power supply or power processing circuit that converts an input voltage waveform into a specified output voltage waveform. DC-DC power converters convert a direct current ('DC') input voltage into a DC output voltage. Controllers associated with the power converters manage an operation thereof by controlling conduction periods of power switches employed therein. Generally, the controllers are coupled between an input and output of the power converter in a feedback loop configuration (also referred to as a 'control loop' or 'closed control loop').

"Typically, the controller measures an output characteristic (e.g., an output voltage, an output current, or a combination of an output voltage and an output current) of the power converter, and based thereon modifies a duty cycle of a power switch of the power converter. The duty cycle 'D' is a ratio represented by a conduction period of a power switch to a switching period thereof. In other words, the switching period includes the conduction period of the power switch (represented by the duty cycle 'D') and a non-conduction period of the power switch (represented by the complementary duty cycle ('1-D'). Thus, if a power switch conducts for half of the switching period, the duty cycle for the power switch would be 0.5 (or 50 percent).

"The switched-mode power converters can be constructed with different types of power switches such as bipolar transistors, metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors ('MOSFETs') or insulated gate bipolar transistors ('IGBTs'). At low power levels, for example, an output power less than 100 watts ('W'), the MOSFETs and bipolar transistors are most commonly used for power switches. While MOSFETs can work at higher switching frequency, which enables smaller designs, bipolar transistors are available at lower cost. Additionally, the different switches employ different drivers for their respective control terminals. As a result, separate driver integrated circuits are inventoried to accommodate the use of different switches in a design of a circuit (e.g., a power converter) employing the same.

"Accordingly, what is needed in the art is a circuit and related method for a switch that enables a driver to be used for different types of switches such as MOSFETs and bipolar transistors that can be adapted to high-volume manufacturing techniques for a power converter or the like employing the same."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "These and other problems are generally solved or circumvented, and technical advantages are generally achieved, by advantageous embodiments of the present invention, including a controller for a switch and a method of operating the same. In one embodiment, the controller is configured to measure a voltage of a control terminal of the switch and select a first mode of operation if the voltage of the control terminal is greater than a threshold voltage, and a second mode of operation if the voltage of the control terminal is less than the threshold voltage.

"The foregoing has outlined rather broadly the features and technical advantages of the present invention in order that the detailed description of the invention that follows may be better understood. Additional features and advantages of the invention will be described hereinafter, which form the subject of the claims of the invention. It should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the conception and specific embodiment disclosed may be readily utilized as a basis for modifying or designing other structures or processes for carrying out the same purposes of the present invention. It should also be realized by those skilled in the art that such equivalent constructions do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims."

For more information, see this patent: genannt Berghegger, Ralf Schroeder; Frey, Michael. Controller for a Switch and Method of Operating the Same. U.S. Patent Number 8792256, filed January 27, 2012, and published online on July 29, 2014. Patent URL:

Keywords for this news article include: Power Systems Technologies Ltd..

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Source: Journal of Technology

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