PowerPoint somnolence - there is a cure

07-05-2015 |   |  By Paul Whytock

Death by PowerPoint has now reached epidemic proportions. Here are some stats. There are approx 30 million presentations made daily throughout the world and whilst you're reading this close on a million are happening now.

And the sad fact is most of the audiences are being subjected to a form of business information that is very boring. Let's get one thing straight; this is not the fault of the software involved but inevitably the humans using it.

So as a journalist who is often exposed to the didactic yet soporific effects of PowerPoint it comes as a hugely refreshing experience to be subjected to a well authored and clearly presented set of slides.

Thanks go to Tom Spohrer, product marketing manager of Microchip's MCU16 Division for his very polished PowerPoint performance at a recent press conference hosted by Microchip in London.

His not inconsiderable task was to educate the assembled hacks about the company's new 14-member dsPIC33EP GS family of Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs).

According to the company this family delivers the performance needed to implement more sophisticated non-linear, predictive and adaptive control algorithms at higher switching frequencies. These algorithms enable power-supply designs that are more energy efficient and have better power-supply specifications.

The design advantage of higher switching frequencies is they enable the development of smaller power supplies that offer higher densities. These devices provide less than half the latency when used in a three-pole three-zero compensator and, says Microchip, consume up to 80% less power in any application.

The GS family includes features such as Live Update Flash capability, which is useful for high-availability or “always-on” systems. It can be used to change the firmware of an operating power supply, including the active compensator calculation code, while maintaining continuous regulation.

When it comes to size this new DSC family is available in very compact 4 x 4 mm UQFN package.

Other key features include up to five 12bit ADCs with as many as 22 ADC inputs, providing total throughput of 16 Mega samples/sec with a 300ns ADC latency. Included are 12bit DACs for each of the four analogue comparators.

The dsPIC33EP GS family is supported by Microchip's MPLAB Starter Kit for Digital Power (DM330017-2) which allows customers to explore using the new DSC family in popular digital power-conversion topologies. And Microchip's new Digital Compensator Design Tool helps engineers to calculate the optimum compensator coefficients required to maximise the performance of their designs.


By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is European Editor for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over twenty years. Prior to entering journalism he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.

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