Mar 9, 2011

APEC: Day 3

Today started off really well. There were over 50 papers presented before 12pm so it was impossible to see everything. The papers are much more specialized than the presentations given by industry leaders over the last few days. I attended two out of four presented by the CPES group at Virginia Tech, including one by a friend I worked on a DC-DC converter design with about a year ago. His research focuses on how to measure core loss in inductive elements (transformers and inductors). Right now, manufacturers present their core loss measurements using sinusoidal waveforms to test the loss. It is not really accurate to take their measurements as fact when designing power electronic converters because most of the time the waveforms passing through the inductive elements are not sinusoidal. The presentation outlined two different methods that could potentially improve the way we measure core loss with the advantages and disadvantages of each. His paper was published in the IEEE archives last December.

The afternoon was mostly about the exhibits. I walked around and checked out the displays but, not looking for orders of 1000+ in my next design, I felt out of place. I did talk with some representatives from Microchip about their digital power development platforms. As I gain more experience with PICs, I may look into their dsPIC series to design some digital control loops for power supplies.

The day ended with a rap session about AC vs. DC distribution. I was very disappointed by the discussion. It ended up being a bunch of old guys talking about codes and standards rather than the advantages of each system or how to implement DC power. They titled the discussion Westinghouse vs. Edison but did not really discuss the history of this debate and how things may be different today. That was the discussion I expected to hear going in but was sorely disappointed. These guys also seem to be masters of deflecting because they rarely directly answered people’s questions and always brought the topics back to their own research/company work. There was another session on sustainability that I caught the end of and even the last 10 minutes were far more interesting than the power distribution panel talk.

Overall, today was mediocre at best. It started off strong and trailed off at the end. Sadly, I expect more of the same until the conference is over. The only thing I am really looking forward to at this point is a CPES initiative presentation on the very last day of the conference. On the plus side, at least I am not sitting at my desk all day at work.


Joel Ryan said...

This is the first post that I actually understand. Almost all of it at least. I've never been to a conference like this, so when I think about it, I think about the conventions that the simpsons go to every now and then.

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