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Performance Factors and Design Flexibility In Medical Power Supplies

When dealing with medical equipment, strict standards are often put into place to make sure patients and healthcare personnel remain safe. However, beyond these strictly-enforced safety standards, it’s also worth considering how different power supplies stack up when it comes to performance. Here’s a look at some performance factors to help you pick the safest, most reliable power supply possible.
  • Standby power. Since hospitals, healthcare facilities and patients have become more concerned with energy efficiency and conserving resources, the amount of standby power consumed by devices is increasingly more important. Some medical power supplies use standby power as low as 0.15 watts, while similarly-sized devices consume up to 0.48 watts.
  • Environmental factors. Many DC-DC converters are limited to operating between ambient temperatures of -40 and 60°C at full load. Be sure to read specifications carefully, or ask your potential supplier about these engineering values to make the best decision. Aside from temperature constraints, two other factors worth considering are operating altitude and product warranties.
  • Electromagnetic interference (EMI). Medical devices like patient monitors, which operate with low-level signals in hospital settings, are more sensitive to EMI than typical industrial equipment. Whenever possible, look for medical power supplies with built-in EMI filters.
  • Packaging style. While the majority of power converters come with an open frame package, there are some other options available including chassis mount, DIN rail mount and enclosed configurations. Depending on the medical equipment, power supply packaging can play a key role in overall design.
  • Overall performance. When possible, look for power supplies that offer additional design flexibility. For instance, having a wider input range translates to greater flexibility for unforeseen design iterations requiring higher input voltages, or the need to develop several versions of the same basic equipment.