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Subsea power supply

Delivers 48 VDC

Powerbox (Sweden) has launched the PRBX VB410-380 power supply. It is dedicated for subsea applications requiring a high reliability.

The power supply is controlled via CAN (Photo: Powerbox)

“Delivering power to extreme applications such as subsea ones is always a challenge for designers. But in developing standardized, easily reusable sub-systems such as the VB410-380 we have shortened the design cycle and time-to-market for our customers”, said Patrick Le Fèvre from Powerbox. “Expanding sales opportunities, its design philosophy makes it eminently suitable for other applications such as the chemical industry and in highly restricted areas where human intervention is both complicated and risky.”

The products are controlled via CAN networks. Each output has its own current limiting capability, and an integrated digital controller, which monitors voltage and current via CAN. The network interface is also used for diagnostic purposes and predictive actions (e.g. to shutdown modules when not required or enable in order to maintain peak power). The CAN interface does not comply with the CiA 443 CANopen profile for sub-sea devices.

The products are designed for power subsea equipment. For example gas-and-oil monitoring and control systems situated on the seafloor, fed from an AC or DC high-voltage line feeder, the PRBX VB410-380 delivers 48 VDC. The unit comprises a pre-stage converter and a secondary stage with redundant power modules.

Applications such as gas-and-oil situated on the seafloor, or long distance transmission cables require specific power solutions to supply a subset of electronic equipment operating 24/7 with no downtime, and where maintenance is either very expensive or simply not an option. These applications are usually powered from the shore or from a technical platform generator. This is enabled via a high-voltage line, which depending on the power station could be AC or DC voltage within the range of 300 VAC to 900 VAC, or 400 VDC to 1500 VDC, ultimately requiring a 48 VDC intermediate voltage to power electronic equipment. Outputs need to be able to operate in parallel in order to increase the power or to offer redundancy.

Equipment deployed in extreme environments such as the seafloor must be designed for high reliability and resilience and able to operate within a temperature range of -25 °C to +80 °C without derating, using conduction cooling only. Subsea electronic equipment is often contained within a very tight tubular container fixed to the cable. The PRBX VB410-380 is designed to guarantee the maximum level of isolation between the high-voltage input and the low-voltage output, but with sufficient physical isolation between the different components to allow for tight integration.

Using an advanced switching topology the complete system (high voltage input to low voltage output) energy efficiency is over 85. The PRBX VB410-380 layout is designed and optimized to conduct heat from the dissipative elements to the cold plate, reducing the possibility of internal hot spots and contributing to higher reliability. The VB410 primary module converts the line voltage to an internal voltage of 380 VDC. The secondary stage includes four independent output modules each delivering 95 W (48 V and 2 A).


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