Powering energy-efficient embedded systems in a cluttered environment

Embedded systems are everywhere on the battlefield-in unmanned vehicles, ground vehicles, on the backs and hands of warfighters-sitting in the field gathering data, and everywhere in-between. All these systems rely on one thing in common, and that's power.

As demands on embedded systems grow, and the need for decreasing size, weight, and power become more clear, power supplies are making the leap to increased efficiency, lighter weight, and smaller size.

Energy-efficient embedded systems often must function in environ- ments where power is at a premium, and run at low power.

Having an efficient power supply is important. Power supplies are one of the largest factors in the efficiency of a system, particularly when they are converting electricity from AC to DC power (and vice versa), or changing the voltage. "One big place you can achieve efficiency [in a system] is in power supply design," says Martin Sweeney, lead project engineer at Parvus Corp. in Salt Lake City."

Power supplies must be able to convert power while protecting the system they serve from surges and electromagnetic interference.
Power supplies must be able to convert power while protecting the system they serve from surges and electromagnetic interference.

Efficiency is key

Efficient power supplies are important in systems where power is limited. A vehicle may have several systems running inside of it, and that means each system is running on shared power. Having more efficient systems means being able to fit more on a single vehicle, making it more valuable and useful to the mission. "One way to reduce the power budget of a system is to have a more efficient power supply," Sweeney says.

An efficient power supply not only is important for running electronics, but also means less wasted power and less waste heat. "The better the efficiency, the less heat is produced by the power supply," Sweeney says.

One way to achieve enhance efficiency in a power supply is to have zero-crossover on switching. There are many different approaches to achieving zero-crossover, but the primary objective involves converting power by turning the switch from on to off at zero volts.

Ruggedization and interference

Where power efficiency is key, power supplies need to guard against several kinds of threats.

It's important that power supplies be able to withstand power surges and guarantee system safety. The technology to protect against surges remains largely unchanged, with diodes that clamp off voltages once they reach a certain point, and circuits that prevent overvoltage from occurring.

Power supplies in these systems need to protect themselves, particularly in the cluttered environment of a combat vehicle, but they also must prevent their own functions from interfering with other systems. "They try to cover it from both ends, prevent stuff from emitting and bulletproof the other boxes from the emissions," Sweeney says. "For the emissions, you're talking about a passive filter of semiconductors, common mode choke. Generally, the noise comes out in a common mode noise present in both lines: positive and ground. Once it gets onto your power line, it also radiates. It will interfere with other boxes and cables, causing them to malfunction. With interference, many different defects can happen. That's why they try to avoid that by putting radiation limits and susceptibility limits on the box."

Preventing emissions to reduce interference with other systems is commonly performed by using electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding or by using smaller current loops, filters, and wide traces.


Absopulse Electronics Ltd

Aeroflex Inc.
AJ's Power Source Inc.
Analytic Systems
Astrodyne Inc.
Behlman Electronics Inc.
Comdel Inc.
CUI Inc.
DRS Pivotal Power 902-835-7268
Electromech Inc.
Energy Technologies Inc.
Falcon Electric Inc.
Gaia Converter Inc.
HiTek Power Ltd.
International Rectifier
Interpoint, a Crane Co.
ITT Exelis Power Solutions
Kepco Inc.
Martek Power Abbott
MS Kennedy Corp.
Murata Power Solutions Inc.
National Hybrid
North Atlantic Industries
Parvus Corp.
Pduke Technology Inc.
Pico Electronics Inc.
Pioneer Magnetics
Powerstax plc
Rantec Power Systems
Schaefer Inc.
Solitron Devices, Inc.
Teledyne Microelectronics
Tracewell Systems
Transistor Devices Inc. (TDI Power)
UltraVolt Inc.
Unipower LLC
Vicor Corp.
Vishay Intertechnology Inc.
VPT Inc.
XP Power

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

CPU-PPC460EX-VME Processor Board

The CPU-PPC460EX-VME PowerPC processor board is designed for rugged, conduction and convection co...

28V, 32-Channel, Light-Weight SSPC

The RP-2032151XD0 Solid State Power Controller (SSPC) is a light-weight 3 pound compact module th...

PD150 Series

150Watt DC/DC converters, chasis mounting with terminal block.

MDRA series of DIN Rail AC/DC to 960W

AC/DC Din Rail mountable power supplies, universal input, optional 3 phase AC Input 340-575VAC, h...

Battery Chargers and Battery Systems

We offer a complete range of proven solutions for APU start, standby and flight controls applicat...

Interpoint™ MTR Series™ 40 Volt

The MTR Series of 28 volt dc-dc converters offers up to 30 watts of output power from single, dua...

Electronic Warfare VPX Products

The VPX product line includes three products: Modular Quad IF Up and Down Converter, Modular Dire...

Interpoint™ MTR Series™ 50 Volt

The MTR Series™ MTR 50, 28 volt dc-dc converter offers up to 30 watts of output power from single...

Power Management Systems

Power Management systems feature intergrated power conversion and signficant weight and volume sa...

Interpoint™ MFP Series™ Down-Leaded Point of Load

The new down-leaded version of its Interpoint™ MFP Series Point of Load (POL) converters are avai...

Related Companies

Beyond Electronics Corp

Beyond Electronics(BEC) provides Rugged COTS board and system level solutions in various small form factor products c...

Raycom Electronics

Raycom Electronics, Inc., a subsidiary of Electro Technik Industries (ETI), was incorporated in 1965.  The compa...

Intersil Corp

Intersil is leveraging a deep portfolio of intellectual property, a history of design and process innovation and a sy...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...


Provides a lightweight, compact aluminum connector. M-series connector is focused on the design that requires a MIL-3...

Vicor Corp

Designs, manufactures and markets modular, high-density power components as well as configurable power systems, and c...

Solitron Devices Inc

Manufactures power semiconductors, Darlington transistors, power rectifiers, power MOSFETs, IGBTs, UJTs, power hybrid...

Intronics Power Inc

Offers standard and custom high reliability DC/DC power converters, AC/DC power supplies, analog functional modules, ...

HDL Research Lab Inc

Designs and manufactures COTS and custom power supplies, converters, inverters and power distribution units for milit...


Experience * Founded in 1966 * Involvement in the development of international connector specifications throug...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

Low Viscosity, One Part Cyanoacrylate Is Non-Toxic and Meets ISO 10993-5 Specifications

Master Bond MB250NT is widely used for a variety of applications ranging from repair to high speed producti...

Thermally Conductive, Two Component Epoxy Passes USP Class VI Tests and ISO 10993-5 Specifications

With biocompatibility and cytotoxicity certifications, Master Bond EP21AOLV-2Med is often selected for bond...

One Component, Snap Cure Epoxy Features High Strength Properties

Suitable for a variety of applications in the electronic, aerospace and OEM industries, Master Bond EP3SP5F...

One Part Epoxy Resists up to 500°F and Meets NASA Low Outgassing Specifications

Master Bond Supreme 12AOHT-LO is a one component epoxy for a variety of bonding and sealing applications in...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Defense Solutions division applauds Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) o...

Curtiss-Wright’s New Rugged Mobile IP Router Subsystem Features an Integrated Cisco® 5915 ESR Router

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division, a Cisco® Systems Solution T...

VICTORY Shared Processing, Fire Control Computer, and Switch for Ground Vehicles Introduced by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced a new fully i...

GE Announces First Sub-Credit Card-Sized Multi-Function High Definition (HD) Video Tracker

HUNTSVILLE, AL.— OCTOBER 13, 2014—GE’s Intelligent Platforms business today announced at AUSA (October 13-...


Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

April 2015
Volume 26, Issue 4

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles