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How2Power's Power Electronics Book Reviews

This section presents reviews of textbooks on various topics relating to power electronics and power conversion. These reviews, which were previously published in the How2Power Today newsletter, offer the reviewers’ insights on texts addressing issues such as switched-mode power supply design, power circuit simulation, power supply control, magnetics design, power integrity test methods, and power converter design for specific applications. This is just a sampling of the topics. More will be added over time.

Introductions to the reviews are shown here along with links to the full articles. If there is a book you would like to see reviewed here, email the editor with your suggestion.

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BOOK REVIEW

Industry Pioneer Introduces Engineers To Broad Field Of Power Supply Design

Fundamentals of Power Supply Design, Robert A. Mammano, First edition, Texas Instruments, 2017, 333 numbered pages, ISBN: 978-0-9985994-0-3.

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

When I dove into this book by Bob Mammano, a leading figure in the development of power conversion, I could tell from the topics in the table of contents that it would be an interesting read. This is an industry- and design-oriented book. So what is a power supply? The second sentence of chapter 1 sets the tone (p. 1): [From] the average electronic-system designer, you may well get the answer: “A power supply is an abomination that takes up too much space in my enclosure, uses up some of my available power, heats up my sensitive circuitry, and blows a hole in my budget!” The challenge of power-supply design is thereby made direct and obvious. Bob Mammano’s depth of experience begins to come through immediately. Read the full story…

Enduring Text Offers Complete Compendium Of Motor And Drive Concepts

Electric Drives: Third Edition, Ion Boldea, S. A. Nasar, CRC Press, ISBN-13: 978-1-4987-9, glossy hardback, 650 pages, 2016.

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

The leading author of this book, Ion Boldea, is an engineer at the University Politechnica and Romanian Academy in Timisoara, Romania, and an IEEE Life Fellow. The book is in its third edition, ten years after the second, and includes some new material, notably “sensorless” control. The subject of the book is motor drives, which is mainly about electronic power circuits and control theory as applied to electric machines including various mechanical loads. Naturally, as most authors on the subject have discovered, some theoretical background on electric machines is unavoidable. This book is no exception. Read the full story…

Highly Practical EMC Book Will Pay For Itself

EMC for Product Designers, 5th Edition, Tim Williams, Newnes (Elsevier), September 2016, 564 pages, $85.95.

Reviewed by Kevin Parmenter, Contributor, HOW2POWER TODAY

If you can have only one text on EMC in your library, “EMC for Product Designers, 5th Edition,” by Tim Williams, should be it. This book is one of the most—if not the most—practical works I’ve seen on the subject. For years I’ve relied heavily on the previous editions of this book when working on systems, and I’ve frequently referred to it when teaching EMC for power electronics designers in Asia and other regions. Williams’ book offers a comprehensive text on EMC that is truly practical. Read the full story…

Text Charts New Analytical Course For Optimizing Power Supply Magnetics

Power Magnetics Design Optimization, Dennis L. Feucht, (www.innovatia.com), first printing: 2016, 456 pages, glossy paperback, $60 U.S., ISBN: 9781682736272.

Author’s summary by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

What, an author reviewing his own book? Like engineering decisions, reviews have their tradeoffs. Authors reviewing their own books are likely to lack the objectivity of a dispassionate observer, yet can offer insights only known to the author. This review attempts the latter. The motivation for the book is a case in point. Around the beginning of the last year, I was asking questions about the design optimization of magnetic components and I was not finding answers to them in the textbooks or articles available on magnetics. This led to 16 months of intensive theoretical magnetics research culminating in this book. Read the full story…

Circuit Analysis Book Makes It Easier To Derive Transfer Functions

Linear Circuit Transfer Functions: An Introduction to Fast Analytical Techniques, Christophe P. Basso, Wiley, IEEE Press, ISBN: 978 111 923 637 5, glossy hardback, 445 numbered pages, 2016

By Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

Christophe Basso has written a book that is not about power electronics as such but applies to it quite deeply in that most of the circuitry in power converters and motor drives is linear and analog, especially the control circuits. These circuits can be the most difficult aspect of power-electronics design and some methods for simplifying their analysis are welcomed. Basso’s book addresses this interest. The book is about how to go from circuit structure, as given in a circuit diagram, to a transfer function in the complex-frequency or s-domain. Basic circuit analysis can produce a transfer function, though the algebra can be horrendous at times. And even then, if the polynomials are not factored, the poles and zeros are not known. After the poles and zeros of a circuit have been identified, its dynamic behavior has essentially been found. This book presents simplifying methods for finding the poles and zeros without having to solve the basic circuit equations. Read the full story…

Magnetics Text Is Deepest And Most Comprehensive, Yet Still Accessible

High-Frequency Magnetic Components, Second Edition, Marian K. Kazimierczuk, Wiley, 2014, 729 pages, hardback, $93.95; ISBN 978-1-118-71779-0.

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This is a new edition of a book on power magnetics by an electrical engineering professor and IEEE Fellow at Wright State U. in Dayton, Ohio. What sets this book apart from previous magnetics books recently reviewed in HOW2POWERTODAY is its depth of coverage, especially of topics that are hard to analyze such as winding resistance caused by the skin and proximity effects, and parasitic winding capacitances. Kazimierczuk has worked out in sufficient deta il the mathematical derivations of design equations that usually appear in the literature as either given (or else ignored entirely) rather than derived. Read the full story…


Easy-To-Understand Primer Is Good Intro To High-Power Electronics

Introduction to Power Electronics, Paul H. Chappell, Artech House, Boston, London, 2014, 199 pages, hardback; ISBN-13 978-1-60807-719-9.

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

The author of this introduction to power electronics is an associate professor at the U. of Southampton, UK. The book focuses on basic topics and really is at the introductory level: diodes, transistors, thyristors, heating and cooling, high-power converters and inverters, to rephrase some chapter titles. The book leans heavily toward high-power electronics because it dwells on thyristors, phase-controlled thyristor converters, and cycloconverters. It also includes the motor-drives side of power electronics for large motors. Electric train applications come to my mind, and this book would be good for new engineering recruits working on locomotives or subway trains, or ships or other electric vehicles including cars and trucks nowadays. Read the full story…


Power Magnetics Text Delivers Depth, Breadth And Fresh Ideas

Inductors and Transformers for Power Electronics, Alex Van den Bossche and Vencislav Cekov Valchev, Taylor & Francis Group , an imprint of CRC Press, 2005, 447 pages, hardback.

The title of this book describes precisely what the latest instantiation of the book contents is about. Dr. Bossche is a professor at the U. of Ghent, Belgium and Dr. Valchev, who worked in the Electric Energy Laboratory at the U. of Ghent is at the Technical U. of Varna, Bulgaria. This book adds to the growing list of books on power magnetics for switching conversion, but is by no means just a rehash of familiar material. Even for those familiar with the magnetics literature, it may offer some pleasant surprises.
Read the full story…

Text Explains Standards And GaN-based Circuits For Wireless Power

Wireless Power Handbook: The eGaN FET Journey Continues, A supplement to GaN Transistors for Efficient Power Conversion, First Edition, Alex Lidow, et. al., Michael A. de Rooij, Power Conversion Publications, El Segundo, CA, 2015, 126 pages in color, paperback;
ISBN 978-0-692-37192-3

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This supplement focuses on wireless power, which represents an emerging application area for GaN FETs such as those made by the authors’ company.  Three standards for wireless power systems have emerged in recent years and this book describes them with a GaN MOSFET-eye view. The emphasis here is on practical circuit design, but the book also discusses related topics such as EMI design issues. Read the full story…


Comprehensive Text Explains SiC Technology From Ingots To Circuits

Fundamentals of Silicon Carbide Technology: Growth, Characterization, Devices and Applications, Tsunenobu Kimoto, James A. Cooper, IEEE Press-Wiley, ISBN 978-1-118-31352-7, glossy hardback, 538 pages, 2014

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This book is obviously about the new and emerging silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor technology. While SiC (and also GaN) are emphasized in it as semiconductor materials, the book also has good general coverage of semiconductor electronics, beginning with crystal structure and developing through solid-state physics, device processes and processing, semiconductor diodes, BJTs, power JFETs, IGBTs, MOSFETs, MESFETs, conductivity-modulated FETs or COMFETs and other types. The devices are explained in gratifying detail, which is something that may also be said of the authors’ treatment of other topics ranging from wafer and device fabrication to defect characterization to device modeling and circuit applications. Read the full story…


Manufacturer’s Magnetics Design Guide Is Würth Reading

Trilogy of Magnetics: Design Guide for EMI Filter Design, SMPS, & RF Circuits, 4th extended and revised edition, Bernhard Rall, Heinz Zenkner, Alexander Gerfer, Thomas Brander, Würth Elektronik, glossy hardback, 725 pages + CD, 2010, 49 Euros

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This book is published by Würth Elektronik (WE), a German electronics company that sells magnetic components. It is mostly an applications handbook for users of WE or other parts, somewhat in the tradition of the semiconductor application-note compendia of National Semiconductor or Analog Devices, where not only are the parts described, but the underlying theory required to understand and use them is explained. Design software is appended on a CD for a WE inductor selector, WE-Flex Designer for winding-configurable transformers, and also Linear Technology’s LTSpice/SwitcherCAD III. Read the full story…


Power Supply Design Book Should Benefit Seasoned Engineers As Well As Beginners

Switching Power Supply Design & Optimization, Second Edition, Sanjaya Maniktala, McGraw Hill Education, 2014, 551 pages, hardback, $125, ISBN 978-0-07-179814-3

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This book is a second edition of one originally published in 2004. The author’s informal style can set the nervous newcomer to power circuits more at ease for a smooth ride by minimizing conceptual potholes along the road to better understanding. He includes some necessary math but tends to emphasize development of an intuition for converter behavior and especially the use of practical heuristic design rules. The emphasis is on how to design. This book is recommended for those new to power conversion who are designing power circuits, yet it has so much useful engineering content that it is also recommended as a reference for experienced designers.
Read the full story…


Power Magnetics Text Is Strong On Theory, Yet Distinctly Practical And A Source Of Fresh Design Ideas

Transformers and Inductors for Power Electronics, W. G. Hurley and W. H. Wölfle, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK, (www.wiley.com/go/hurley_transformers), ISBN-978-1-119-95057-8, glossy hardback, 344 pages, 2013.

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This is a long review. This book deserves it. A former student of MIT professor John Kassakian, and now a professor, Ger Hurley, and his student at the National U. of Ireland in Galway, Werner Wölfle, have written a book on magnetic component (transformer and inductor) design. This book has the style that made MIT a leading engineering school: it builds the basic concepts, step by step in logical order, and then develops everything else from this solid foundation.
Read the full story…

Book On Power Integrity Explores Measurement Issues, Practically and In Depth

Power Integrity: Measuring, Optimizing, and Troubleshooting Power Related Parameters in Electronics Systems, by Steven M. Sandler, copyright 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education, 319+ pages.

Reviewed by David G. Morrison, Editor, How2Power.com

If you opened a copy of Steve Sandler’s new book and you started flipping through its pages, one thing would quickly become apparent. There are a lot of pictures of test setups and measurements and more measurements. That would be a valid impression because at heart, this is a book about electronics test and measurement. It’s not a book that aims to cover all electronics measurements, but rather those that relate mainly to assessing power integrity in electronics systems. If that description sounds a bit narrow in scope to your ears, it probably encompasses a lot more measurements than you realize and the measurements described here will be relevant to many engineers for whom “power integrity” is not part of their job description. As the author notes in the opening chapter, the book addresses “all aspects of making high fidelity measurements, including power, high-speed, and low-power analog and instrumentation circuits.”
Read the full story…



Custom Power Supply

Text Introduces Power Circuit Designers To Simulation As It’s Done At The Chip and Process Levels

Integrated Power Devices and TCAD Simulation, Yue Fu, Zhangming Li, Wai Tung Ng, Johnny K. O. Sin; CRC Press (www.crcpress.com or www.taylorandfrancis.com), hardback, 338 pages; 2014; ISBN 978-1-4665-8381-8

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

TCAD is not SPICE warmed over; it is something different: not a circuit but a device and process simulator. While this book begins with a couple of chapters of power-electronics concepts, including linear regulators, dc-dc converters, switched-capacitor converters and the like, much of this book is devoted to explaining how device-level modeling and simulation is performed on power ICs and the processes used to build them. Those with more advanced knowledge of solid-state electronics will likely find this work most informative. But even designers who have focused more on power conversion at the circuit and system levels should find this book provides an enlightening overview of the steps taken to develop the ICs they use. Read the full story…



Book Will Help You Get More, Out of LTSPICE IV

The LTSPICE IV Simulator: Manual, Methods, and Applications, Gilles Brocard, Würth Elektronik, 2011, 744 pages, hardback, Print ISBN: 978-3-89929-258-9. www.we-online.com

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This book is in the genre of books that supplement product manuals, such as Windows Annoyances or Engineering with MathCAD, which supports and explains what the MathCAD manual did not. With the prevalence of circuit simulation in SPICE, Linear Technology has offered engineers a free version of their own SPICE program. This book, written by an author from France in English and published in Germany about a program from Silicon Valley, is illustrated largely with computer display screens of LTSPICE IV. This book will appeal to both beginners in LTSPICE and experienced, serious users seeking explanations for those nuanced behaviors that writers of manuals never include—or do not even know about.
Read the full story…



Text Reveals Circuit And System Knowledge For Designing Grid-Connected Converters In Renewable Energy Systems

Grid Converters for Photovoltaics and Wind Power Systems by Remus Theodorescu, Marco Liserre, Pedro Rodríguez, IEEE/Wiley, 2011, 398 pages, hardback, Print ISBN: 978-0470-057513. www.wiley.com

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

As oil supply becomes a growing issue, the world turns to alternative forms of energy generation. Two dominant and emerging sources are solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power. The emphasis in this book is on some of the details of circuit and system design for connecting these newer sources to the existing electric-power utility network, or grid. For those power electronics engineers with an interest in renewable energy applications, this book will have the expected appeal. However, even those not curious about the PV and wind power systems, may be fascinated by the parallels between power conversion in these applications and power conversion in motion control systems. There are even commonalities with low-power designs such as the need to filter-high frequency noise. In addition, there is a certain wow factor in the design of multi-megawatt systems that may help to capture the readers’ interest.
Read the full story…



Custom Power Supply

Updated Magnetics Classic Offers Some Practical Info, But Little Insight In Theory

Transformer and Inductor Design Handbook, Fourth Edition. by Colonel Wm. T. McLyman, CRC Press, 2011, about 600 pages, hardback, ISBN: 978-1-4398-3687-3. Website: www.crcpress.com

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

This book covers topics in transformer and inductor design and how they relate to various converter circuits. Included are magnetics fundamentals, magnetic materials, catalog material on cores, various aspects of transformer and inductor design, transductors for flyback and forward converters, input filter design, current, rotary, planar, autotransformer and saturable (magnetic amplifier) transformer design, the “quiet converter,” winding capacitance and leakage inductance, and a chapter titled “Derivations for the Design Equations.” While this book contains useful information, it seems to have little to offer a reader seeking a deeper understanding of the essential insights into magnetics and their use in converter circuits. Read the full story…


Book Lays A Foundation In Control Theory And How To Apply It In Power Converter Design

Designing Control Loops for Linear and Switching Power Supplies: A Tutorial Guide, Christophe Basso, Artech House, ISBN-13:978-1-60807-557-7, glossy hardback, 593 pages, 2012

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

For anyone involved in power supply design, the subject matter of control is unavoidable. Yet, many undergraduate EE curricula do not require EE students to take the one-year course in introductory control theory. Consequently, too many EEs involved in switching converter design lack the needed background, and Basso’s book fills a gap in addressing control from a converter standpoint, going beyond what is typically included on feedback in active-circuits textbooks. As Feucht explains in his review, this book will help power-electronics designers who struggle with feedback-loop performance and the control aspect of converters in general, but also those engineers who know control well but are weak on the particulars of how to apply it to power converters.  Read the full story


According to the reviewer, Basso’s book bridges the gap between what engineers didn’t learn in school about control theory and what they need to know to design power converters.”

Text Explains Resonant Power Conversion In-depth And Offers Practical Design Information

Resonant Power Converters, Second Edition, by Marian K. Kazimierczuk and Dariusz Czarkowski, IEEE/Wiley, 2011, 600 pages, hardback, ISBN: 978-0-470-90538-8; US $90.50

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

Resonant power conversion has been around a long time in the horizontal sweep circuits of CRT displays, which also generate the CRT high voltage. They have been used for decades, usually in lower-power applications. This book offers a reasonably complete coverage of the design aspects of resonant power circuits including how to soft switch the more familiar converter circuits for reduced switching loss. This book is intended for upper-level university students and engineers in industry. The explanations are well-written, with illustrations, waveform plots, and derivations of the important mathematical formulas. The in-depth analysis makes this book useful as a working reference.  Read the full story


This book on resonant power conversion is worth the purchase price according to Feucht who praises it as a source “of design information, verification of circuit thinking, and good ideas.”

Custom Power Supply

Book Puts Engineers On Path To Designing With eGaN Transistors

GaN Transistors for Efficient Power Conversion, First Edition by Alex Lidow, Johan Strydom, Michael de Rooij, and Yanping Ma, with a forward by Sam Davis.

Reviewed by Dennis Feucht, Innovatia Laboratories, Cayo, Belize

Enhancement-mode gallium-nitride (eGaN) MOSFETs are now transitioning from research to commercial use and, given their characteristics, are bound to be of major significance to power electronics engineers. Among their most-notable attributes: they are fast. This book offers an introduction to eGaN MOSFETs, which are devices that have been brought to market by Efficient Power Conversion (EPC.) While this text is by no means complete, it offers readers a good first step in learning about an important new power device. Read the full story…


Dennis Feucht reviews
EPC’s book on GaN Transistors.



About the Reviewers

Dennis Feucht has been involved in power electronics for 25 years, designing motordrives and power converters. He has an instrument background from Tektronix, where he designed test and measurement equipment and did research in Tek Labs. He has lately been doing current-loop converter modeling and converter optimization.

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