Digital Voltage Regulator Control Using PMBus

Digital control optimizes the efficiency, line, and load regulation of a DC-to-DC switching voltage regulator. Engineers are able to adapt the regulator’s closed-loop response, for example, to perfectly match the demands of their product.
However, digital control really comes into its own in a more complex system that comprises several regulators. The individual devices can be supervised by a centralized power system host control via a digital communications bus such as the standardized Power Management Bus (PMBus). The host could be an IC dedicated to power system control, a general-purpose microcontroller, laptop computer with graphical user interface (GUI), or an ATE (used during the power supply or system testing process).
This article examines PMBus, describes how it works, and identifies some of the digital power chips that have embraced the technology.
Digital Voltage Regulator Control Using PMBus
The basics
PMBus is based on the System Management Bus (SMBus) typically found in computer motherboards for communication with the power source. However, while SMBus is designed for communication with low-bandwidth devices, PMBus is targeted at digital management of power supplies, components, and power-related chips such as a rechargeable battery subsystem or temperature-, fan- and voltage-sensors and clock chips.
SMBus itself was based on Inter-Integrated Circuit (I²C), the serial single-ended computer bus originally designed by Philips and used for attaching low-speed peripherals to a motherboard or other embedded system. As a result of this foundation, PMBus is a relatively low speed, two-wire communications protocol. However, unlike SMBus and I²C, PMBus defines a substantial number of domain-specific commands rather than just detailing how to communicate using commands defined by the reader.
In March 2005, version 1.0 of the PMBus specification was published. More recently a revised specification, version 1.2, was released. The standard is owned by the System Management Interface Forum (SM-IF) and is royalty-free. The PMBus sub-section of the forum comprises more than 30 adopter companies including major power chip silicon vendors such as Analog Devices, CUI, Emerson Network Power, Intersil, Linear Technology, Maxim, and Texas Instruments (TI). The organization claims adoption of an interoperable standard enables digital power control to be adopted without the need to unduly burden the host system with multiple protocols.
For more detail: Digital Voltage Regulator Control Using PMBus

About The Author

Ibrar Ayyub

I am an experienced technical writer holding a Master's degree in computer science from BZU Multan, Pakistan University. With a background spanning various industries, particularly in home automation and engineering, I have honed my skills in crafting clear and concise content. Proficient in leveraging infographics and diagrams, I strive to simplify complex concepts for readers. My strength lies in thorough research and presenting information in a structured and logical format.

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