Introducing the Power Inductor Performance Analyzer™ (PIPA), a tool built to aid designers and engineers in comprehending the true performance of Abracon power inductors.
For a broad range of part numbers, this tool depicts a Thermal Response Graph and a Current Saturation Graph to enable users to graphically realize changes in temperature and inductance at increasing current levels.
The design tool is powered by Abracon parametrics and includes a large display of inductors and specifications whose columns can be sorted numerically or alphabetically.
In addition to the parametric display, the tool features a part number search and easy to navigate filter. Users can filter by common inductor specifications such as inductance, current rating, DCR, and x/y/z dimensions or toggle between automotive ratings, shielding types, material compositions and more.
When users find and select a part number, the Thermal Response (Irms) graph portrays an inductor’s thermal reaction to applied current. Similar to most electronic devices, when applying current, there is a degree of change in temperature. Since power inductors are primarily used in power supply designs, susceptibility to higher currents are expected. This results in a need to understand the components thermal response. This is especially important when setting boundaries centered around thermal losses or thermal dissipation.
The Current Saturation (Isat) graph depicts inductance reaction to applied current. Saturation occurs when the magnetic field strength of an the inductor’s core cannot increase proportionally with the increase in current, leading to a drop in its inductance and ultimately, the loss of its intended behavior. This is a vital metric when rating the performance of an inductor for steady and reliable power supply.
While depicting Irms and Isat is effective in understanding an inductor, each graph has an adaptive x and y scale to accommodate multiple inductor selections. Historically, these graphs have resided within datasheets and were not easily comparable between one another without having multiple datasheets side by side. This made it difficult to observe the various trade offs of composites and constructions.
To demonstrate the comparison feature of this tool, let’s take two molded inductors of the same size, same inductance but different magnetic composites. In 7030 package size and 2.2uH inductance, it can be seen the inductance of the AMPLA molded inductor represented in red is less affected by applied current than the AMDLA molded inductor represented in blue.
This is a common feature of carbonyl powders as the magnetic strength exhibits softer saturation than metal alloy powders.
While good for understanding the advantages of materials, the tool is also able to showcase how different constructions can affect performance. Below is a comparison between two of the most common molded inductor package sizes, the 7030 and the 4030. It can be seen each have similar performance however, the ASPIAIG-F is smaller than the AMDLA series.
This is because the ASPIAIG-F molded inductor utilizes a different internal construction optimized for lower DCR or internal resistances. To further demonstrate the effect, when comparing the 7030 ASPIAIG-F to these two, the ultra-high performance can be seen. The 7030 ASPIAIG-F part represented in yellow is substantially less impacted by heat and saturation when comparing to the AMDLA of the same size.
While there are many types of inductors, this tool is the first step in helping designers understand the performance tradeoffs. Abracon’s engineering and customer service teams can also assist with the right product recommendation when considering price, performance and size.
The Power Inductor Performance Analyzer™ empowers designers with valuable data, facilitating informed decisions and fostering a seamless collaboration between Abracon and its users. Stay tuned for more exciting developments and insights from Abracon.