PEC projects

PEC: Project Objectives

The Very First Step

Starting a project is exciting, but most importantly it responds to a desire or need to fulfill a particular demand. Whether you or your customer initiate this project, a good idea to start with consists in writing down the list of objectives it should aim for.

This Power Electronics Cell (PEC) project will be an open-design process, where I will share on this blog my raw thinking process. I hope that the benefits will be twofold. First, the community (mostly students) could observe and appreciate the messy process of conception – hopefully feeling better about their own design process. Second, I hope to potentially get feedbacks from the wider community about mistakes or improvements which could be brought into this project – whether it will happen live as I’m going through the design motion or pointing out where the project took a wrong turn at posteriori…

A (Christmas) Wishlist

The list of objectives that a project should fulfill is often non-exhaustive and most likely longer than truly desirable (let alone technically or economically possible). For this PEC project, I will write below a brain-dump of what I think this project should achieve and then will highlight the common features:

  • Small form factor
  • Cheap to be ordered in quantitities
  • Easy to pick up, learn how to use, and fun
  • Communication through UART; potentially USB, I2C, or even Bluetooth
  • Multiple bridge configuration, minimum 4
  • Integrated capacitive and inductive elements
  • High switching frequency for small volume and high waveform quality (e.g. 100 kHz)
  • A few indication LEDs (not a Christmas tree though…)
  • Access connection points to the DC bus
  • Integrated voltage (output voltage + DC bus) and current (bridge output + DC capacitor) measurements
  • Local microcontroller to handle switching, measurements, estimation, protection, and communication
  • Compatible with USB Power Delivery protocol

A Summary

The PEC should be a small, cheap power electronics module to be used in numerous projects, whether it is to build small power electronics-based projects or combined to make larger modular power electronics converters. We will see together over the next few weeks how it grows.