The age of giant AC power convertors (like those fat power bricks that covert 120v to 240v power) might fade into obscurity if Panasonic has anything to say about them. The Japanese electronics firm announced it has developed a new compact all-integrated power convertor that allows power switches to be controlled remotely by microwave signals. The power-switching chip directly controls the amount of AC power flowing with an integrated 5.0GHz RF transmitter chip. Panasonic’s new model is 100 times smaller than conventional devices, which helps reduce power loss during conversion.
Thus far, power conversion systems have been mostly utilized in motor-drive equipment with an inverter to regulate power usage. These inverters control AC power by converting the energy to direct current and then back again. As a consequence this multi-step conversion creates a huge power loss. On top of the energy waste, this design has always been oversized since it requires large-size electrolytic capacitors and a DC reactor.
Now Panasonic has come up with a new design that integrates a GaN-based bi-directional power switching chip with a microwave gate drive transmitter chip. The new system does the same job but comes in a much more compact size for installation that was impossible with conventional units. Panasonic says it can be integrated with a motor and drive system, plus it requires much less maintenance since it does not require any lifespan limited discrete components.
Images © Panasonic