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How to Design Modular DC DC Systems, Part 4: Safety Protection Systems

-Tutorial by Jonathan Siegers, Principal Applications Engineer and Vamshi Domudala, Application Engineer, Vicor Corporation

The previous tutorials in this series detailed the practical design considerations of utilizing power modules for designing power delivery networks (PDNs). Once a designer has chosen appropriate DC-DC modules, designed filters for the input and output of the modules, and provided for the overall stability of the system, the next area of concern is safety. Fuses and transient suppression circuits must be designed into the system to ensure protection from catastrophic failures without making the system unreliable or inefficient.

A well-designed power system needs to be protected; fuses limit thermal damage and isolate faulted systems, and a transient suppression circuit will tame surges and spikes that destabilize the system and endanger the power module.

Fuse requirements and functions

The starting point for fuse selection is the safety agency conditions of acceptability (CofAs) provided in the manufacturer’s DC-DC module documentation. Designers must consult the latest available documentation and select the appropriate type of fusing to ensure agency CofAs are met.

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