Integration into IoT Longer life cycle for electrical appliances

Compact but durable: The power supply developed at KIT overcomes the weaknesses of the devices commonly used today.
Compact but durable: The power supply developed at KIT overcomes the weaknesses of the devices commonly used today.

From the charging station for the smartphone to the washing machine - power supply units are installed in many different applications. Often, however, they are the reason for the failure of a household appliance. A control system with a microprocessor provides a remedy.

Power supply units convert the alternating current of the house connection into a direct current for electrical appliances. However, they are often prone to faults, which has a negative effect on the life cycle of the application. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in developing a power supply that is more durable and thus extends the life cycle of household appliances.

A microprocessor at the core

Electrolytic capacitors are installed in common power supply units. This makes them light and compact, but also susceptible to faults. Film capacitors are much more durable, but require up to ten times more space, which increases the component size. The scientists at the Lighting Institute (LIT) at KIT have now developed a digital control method that allows film capacitors to be installed without having to accept a significant change in size. 

The trick: The control system runs on a microprocessor, detects disturbing environmental influences such as voltage fluctuations and regulates them.  This means that film capacitors with lower capacitance values can be installed - which reduces the component size. The use of film capacitors that are less susceptible to faults increases the life cycle of electrical appliances by about three times, which reduces maintenance costs for companies. In addition, the new power supply offers the option of remote maintenance and integration into the Internet of Things.

KIT scientists are now looking for industrial partners to design power supplies for their applications based on existing prototypes.