Military-grade laptop power supply saves size and weight

Specialist in power supply design for harsh environments, On-Systems, has launched Pebble, a COTS, rugged, EMI-silent laptop power supply for defence, avionics and mobile applications that is a fraction of the size, weight and cost of current designs.

Pebble is the first in a series of harsh-environment power supply units (PSUs) from the company which combine a new topology, custom-designed FET drivers and fast switching speed.

On-Systems’ topology combines three stages into one, reducing I²R losses and increasing efficiency. The company has worked with a leading power semiconductor company to design new, very fast FET drivers, allowing the Pebble to switch at up to 40 times typical switching frequencies. This high speed reduces the size of the EMC filtering components required, ensuring that the laptop power supply meets all defence EMC performance standards, including MIL-STD 1275A-E, MIL-STD 704A-F, DEF-STAN 59-411 and MIL-STD 461 E-F EMC, in a package measuring just 115 x 52 x 36mm and weighing only 180g. Pebble is 96 per cent efficient, operates over universal AC input range and wide DC input range, features short circuit, over-load and over-voltage protection, and carries a four year warranty.

“Traditional laptop power supplies that must be electrically-‘silent’ for use in secure, harsh environments are about the same size as a laptop and weigh two to three kg, because they need so much filtering and heatsinking. Pebble, by contrast, retains the familiar look and feel of a commercial power adaptor, yet it is fully certified for defence use. More, we can use the same technology in other applications – notably in aircraft fuel pump systems – where the space and weigh saving will be of especial interest,” explained On-Systems’ Mike Harvey.

On-Systems was founded in 2010 to address the needs of customers working in high-reliability industries for efficient power supplies that save size and weight yet meet industry needs for ruggedness and EMC performance. The company offers a full range of standard AC/DC and DC/DC power supply units (PSUs), three-phase and VPX units and battery management solutions as well as a custom PSU design service. The company is ISO9001 (2015) qualified and products are built in the UK to AS9100 quality standards.

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