Why Use a Programmable Power Module? | Symmetry Blog

Jul 31, 2018

Written by Tyler Wojciechowicz
Applications Engineer at Symmetry Electronics


A programmable power module is a power module with programmable parameters. This article will explain the benefits of using a programmable power module.

How does your design benefit with a programmable power module?

The basic layout of a power module requires multiple resistors to control voltage on a board. While this has always been the standard method of controlling power, it is more tedious under certain conditions, namely when creating a design. During the design cycle, testing out new components result in a change in voltage, if only slightly. A programmable power module lets an engineer change the output voltage on the fly, and they wouldn’t have to lay out a bunch of resistors to decide the output voltage.

For example, if an engineer needed 5V to power a Raspberry Pi, a 5V regulator would be necessary, However, once hooked up, they may find out that the voltage sags at 4.7V when the Raspberry Pi is under a lot of stress, potentially causing a brownout reset and corruption of the SD card. With a programmable power module, the engineer would simply reprogram the module to 5.2V, which the Raspberry Pi is spec’d to allow, and retest the computer, rather than finding or purchasing different voltage regulators to find the right solution.

So why use a programmable power module?

By using a programmable power module, you get a valuable time-saving tool throughout the design process. While a programmable power module would not typically be used in an end product, as a tool during the development phase, it saves a lot of headache. Removing steps during the design process is more than the parts that the module is replacing; you avoid additional time spent on unforeseen issues like lead times, board spins, schematic changes, etc.




Who makes programmable power modules?

Monolithic Power Systems, Inc. (MPS) provides small, highly energy efficient, easy-to-use power solutions for systems found in industrial applications, telecom infrastructures, cloud computing, automotive, and consumer applications. MPS' mission is to reduce total energy consumption in its customers' systems with green, practical, compact solutions.

MPS Programmables are the world’s first Power Modules and IC’s that can be programmed to meet the specific requirements of your project. This cuts the design cycle dramatically with easy to use programming tools that eliminate tedious lab work, but also uses the same silicon from prototyping to production.

he mEZDPD3603a is a programmable DC/DC power module up to 3A and 0.6-12V output voltage. This part has a multiple time programmable memory and a simple GUI to program.

The GUI includes modeling software for performance verification. During bench evaluations, different configurations can be obtained easily through the I2C interface. This allows users to optimize each output for their requirements. All the non-programmed parts (mEZDPD3603A-XXXX) only need current and output voltage values to start the evaluation. Additional parameters have default settings that can be modified, if needed.


Looking to integrate Monolithic Power Systems products with your design? Our Applications Engineers offer free design and technical help for your latest designs. Contact us today!



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Why partner with Symmetry Electronics? Symmetry's technical staff is specially trained by our suppliers to provide a comprehensive level of technical support. Our in-house Applications Engineers provide free design services to help customers early in the design cycle, providing solutions to save them time, money and frustration. Contact Symmetry for more information.


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