PV Labs is a world leader in image processing applications ranging from feature detection and analysis to airborne camera mount stabilization. The company, located in Hamilton, Ontario, developed a new airborne camera stabilization platform (the eclipse) for the entertainment industry. This platform is mounted to a helicopter for capturing aerial footage at various altitudes in many different climates around the world. There are many subsystems which require careful design, including the power supply for the stabilization motors. The eclipse receives high voltage (approximately 36 V) electrical power from the helicopter for use in its various subsystems. The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) utilizes a power supply to convert this high voltage DC power to two (2) low voltage (<30 V) DC outputs which power the IMU components. After testing the prototype design, PV Labs discovered that the IMU’s power supply did not provide the maximum amount of current that its circuitry requires, specifically with regards to the so called inrush current upon startup. As a means of correcting the initial design, PV Labs needed a revised design that was highly efficient and compact.
The teaching objective of this case is to illustrate circuit design, the effective use of circuit analysis and simulation for developing the design of a power supply. The case will give students the opportunity to evaluate commercially available components with regards to their impact on the efficiency of the design.