Embedded Software IP & Technology Transfer in Power Electronics Applications

Why developing power electronics embedded software is so hard ?

Here is a figure I did use in a recent presentation explaining why power electronics software is so hard to develop:

Hence, in order to create quality embedded software for power electronics applications, one must have advanced knowledge on :

  • the load (motor type, dynamics, etc),
  • the electrical source (topology of the power converter, devices technologies, etc.),
  • the electronics, i.e. the device on which the software is going to run and also transducers that are going to interface with the device and the system,
  • and embedded software development, of course.
Each of those topic is in itself a speciality and represent very different branches and cultures of electrical engineering (EE), i.e. ‘power’ vs ‘software’. Those cultures are so different that the following situation arises:
  • the ‘power engineer’ doesn’t know about software development and often minimize its importance (this most of the time leads to bad software development practices which makes the situation worse),
  • the ‘software engineer’ doesn’t know about power applications since this is way out of his traditionnal type of applications (web, internet, applicative) and neglect to consider that he is working with energy (i.e.  error is not leading to a blue screen but to a damaged system or to personel injury).
In a recent interview, I made an analogy with this situation naming embedded software for power electronics applications as the triathlon of electrical engineering. The best triathlete is not the perfect swimmer, the perfect cyclist or the perfect runner: he is the best at maximizing performance in those three sports.
It is the same with embedded software for power electronics applications and this is why it is so hard.

Comments

  1. Susmita Panda says:

    A Power Electronics and Drives Engineer has knowledge / does a course in Embedded Systems, Will his/her employability increase? Will it be beneficial for the companies as he/she has knowledge in all the 3 fields?

    • Thanks for your comment Susmita and for reading my blog,
      Yes: one that masters those 3 fields has a better general perspective on the problems (and solutions) than one mastering only one of them.
      Marc.

  2. Hi,
    MS IN POWER ELECTRONICS AND DRIVES DOES NOT PROVIDE A DETAILED STUDY ON EMBEDDED SYSTEM CONTROL BUT ONLY GIVES A BRIEF INTRODUCTION ON SYSTEM DESIGN USING MICRO CONTROLLERS. SO MASTERING BOTH REQUIRES 2 MS DEGREES……….HOW TO PULL THIS OFF.

  3. Download FreeRTOS and use it with some cheap hardware. If you get your hands dirty with an RTOS running 4-6 threads then you will hands on learn enough to at the minimum, appreciate the embedded system control aspect. This will give you a good start to take the second degree, or interview a prospective team member that has complementary skills to yours, or communicate with a vendor if you outsource design pieces.

Speak Your Mind

*