App note: Common mode filter inductor analysis

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App note from Coilcraft on the design and construction of common mode filter inductor. Link here (PDF)

Noise limits set by regulatory agencies make solutions to common mode EMI a necessary consideration in the manufacture and use of electronic equipment. Common mode filters are generally relied upon to suppress line conducted common mode interference. When properly designed, these filters successfully and reliably reduce common mode noise. However, successful design of common mode filters requires foresight into the nonideal character of filter components — the inductor in particular. It is the aim of this paper to provide filter designers the knowledge required to identify those characteristics critical to desired filter performance.

App note: How current and power relates to losses and temperature rise on inductors and transformers

Coilcraft’s app note on temperature rise due to losses on inductors and transformers. Link here (PDF)

Core and winding losses in inductors and transformers cause a temperature rise whenever current flows through a winding. These losses are limited either by the allowed total loss for the application (power budget) or the maximum allowable temperature rise.

For example, many Coilcraft products are designed for an 85°C ambient environment and a 40°C temperature rise implying a maximum part temperature of +125°C. In general, the maximum allowed part temperature is the maximum ambient temperature plus temperature rise. If the losses that result in the maximum allowed part temperature meet the power budget limits, the component is considered acceptable for the application.

App note: Selecting coupled inductors for SEPIC applications

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Application example from Coilcraft on how coupled inductors gain advantage over separately wound inductors, calculations included. Link here (PDF)

The SEPIC (Single-Ended Primary Inductance Converter) topology is used in applications that require characteristics of both a buck and a boost regulator, specifically the ability to step up and step down the input voltage. Most often operated in CCM (Continuous Conduction Mode), SEPIC provides a non-inverted output voltage.

Typically, SEPIC is used in battery operated systems and automotive applications. In these applications, the battery input voltage, or bus line voltage, may be greater or less than that of the desired output voltage, depending on the charge state of the battery. The SEPIC topology can operate over more of the battery discharge cycle because of the ability to regulate the output voltage over a wider input voltage range, including above and below the output voltage.

The selection of one coupled inductor over two single parts saves board space and can also save cost.

App note: Choosing inductors for energy efficient power applications

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Designing efficient power converters guide from Coilcraft. Link here (PDF)

In high frequency DC-DC converters, inductors filter out the AC ripple current superimposed on the DC output. Whether the converter steps the voltage down – buck – or steps the voltage up – boost – or both up and down – SEPIC, the inductor smooths the ripple to provide a pseudo-DC output.

For battery powered applications, battery life is extended by improving the efficiency of the entire power supply circuit, and inductor efficiency is often a major consideration in the design. Careful consideration of inductor efficiency can mean the difference between having your battery work when you need it and having to stop in the middle of an important task to plug it into a charger.

Inductor efficiency is highest when the combination of core and winding losses are the lowest. Therefore, the goal of highest efficiency is met by selecting an inductor that provides sufficient inductance to smooth out the ripple current while simultaneously minimizing losses. The inductor must pass the current without saturating the core or over-heating the winding.

App note: Testing inductors at application frequencies

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An app note from Coilcraft on inductance and Q parameters which are the important factors of an inductor and how these values are found. Link here (PDF)

The accurate measurement of an inductor has always been more difficult than the measurement of other passive components. The primary difficulty with coil measurements lies in the fact that coil inductance and its efficiency are quite frequency dependent; similarly, coil parasitics (distributed capacitance and core/copper resistive losses) vary dramatically with frequency. The measurement of a coil at the application frequency, so-called “use frequency testing,” is more representative of the basic value of the component in circuit than testing at traditional standard frequencies.

Often, the value of a measurement frequency is specified for measurement convenience alone. If the measurement frequency is not the circuit (or “use”) frequency, the result of testing generally will not yield the same inductance value or display the same efficiency as seen by the intended circuit. Given that recent developments of equipment and methods now allow more flexibility in test frequency selection, inductors should be tested at the actual frequency of use, particularly if tight tolerances are required.

App note: Working voltage ratings applied to inductors

Coilcraft’s application note about why there are no voltage ratings specified on inductors. Link here (PDF)

Voltage ratings are often specified for many electronic components, including capacitors, resistors and integrated circuits, but rarely for inductors. This article addresses the reasons why working voltage ratings are not typically published for inductors.

There are challenges to determine voltage ratings for inductors, either by testing or calculation. Inductors do not support dc or low frequency working voltages unless the inductance is high (typically >1 mH). Testing to verify working voltage can be difficult and should be application dependent. The various ways inductors are made, and the stresses of processes like wire bending, make calculating a theoretical voltage rating infeasible.

This article presents these issues to make it easier to choose an inductor most appropriate for the specific application.

App note: Selecting current sensors and transformers

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Selection guidelines from Coilcraft. Link here (PDF)

Current sensors detect the flow of AC or DC current in a wire or circuit trace. They can be used to detect an on/off/ pulse current condition or to measure the magnitude of the current in the wire or trace. This discussion is limited to AC current sensors. Ideal current sensors would not use any power to detect the current in the wire or trace, but real current sensors require some of the circuit energy to provide the information.

Current sensors are frequently used to measure and control the load current in power supplies, safety circuits and a variety of control circuits. In applications where controlling the current is required, such as in power supplies, accurately sensing the magnitude of the current is a fundamental requirement.

In pulsed-current applications or where it is only required to detect an on condition such as some safety circuits, the precise magnitude of the current may not be required. In other safety circuits, the sensed current can be used to trigger a shut down when the current exceeds a pre-set limit.

App note: Transponder coils in an RFID system

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A short application note from Coilcraft about transponder coils. Link here (PDF)

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is the system of using radio signals to send information identifying a particular situation or item. It can be used to track and locate any item including material, people and animals.

The RFID transponder coil is part of the coupling device and acts as the transmitting antenna. The key specifications of the transponder coil are sensitivity and read distance, however, the inductance of the transponder coil directly influences the sensitivity and the read distance. Generally, a higher inductance provides greater sensitivity resulting in a longer read distance. The manufacturer of the tag usually specifies the inductance of the coil to be used. The read distance is defined as the maximum distance from the reader that the transponder responds to the reader’s magnetic field.

App note: Signal transformer application and specification

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Application note from Coilcraft discussing the wideband transformer and the autotransformer. Link here (PDF)

In the simplest sense, a transformer is two or more windings coupled by a common magnetic field. This magnetic field provides the means to pass voltages and currents from one winding (primary) to the other winding (secondary). Magnetic flux is created when an alternating current flows through a winding.

Transformer have many uses, such as isolation of DC currents, voltage and current transformations, and impedance matching. The type of signals to be transferred from the primary to secondary windings dictate the type of transformer that should be used in an application. For instance, a transformer needed to provide DC isolation between two windings carrying large amounts of currents would be designed differently from a transformer that needs to provide an impedance match to a small signal communications network. In this article, the emphasis will be on two types of signal transformers that are designed specifically for the transmission of data at low power levels with DC isolation (the wideband transformer) and those designed to be non-isolating (the auto transformer). These types of transformers are not limited to low power capabilities, but the emphasis here is for use in communication and small signal applications.