Internet of Things, or IoT, has brought about a revolution in the world of technology. From home appliances to defense systems, everything is now controlled remotely. It is forecasted that the current 11 billion active IoT devices will balloon up to a whopping 25 billion by 2030.
The same holds true for Power Electronics. In the first generation of power electronics (Power Electronics 1.0), everything relied on manual control. However, the advent of IoT has ushered in a new generation of power electronics – Power Electronics 2.0. With Power Electronics 2.0, users now have remote control over devices thanks to IoT integration.
Power Electronics with IoT
As the term suggests, “Power Electronics with IoT” is made up of two components – “Power Electronics” that covers mid-range power conversion, and “Internet of Things” that focuses on wireless technology. There are four basic Power Electronic circuits: Rectifiers (AC-DC Conversion), Choppers (DC-DC Conversion), Inverters (DC-AC Conversion), and Cycloconverters (AC-AC Conversion).
Most power devices operate on a Gating mechanism and, until now, have relied on manual control. By integrating IoT, users can have wireless control over power devices. IoT can control parameters like voltage, current, variable frequency, etc. in the device.
Benefits of IoT Power Electronics
- Automates Control
Since Iot works wirelessly, users can have remote control over power devices. Furthermore, with the help of support technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning, control over power electronics can be automated completely, or, at the very least, to a certain extent.
- Minimizes Safety Risks
Once the control and functionality of power electronics is made wireless and is automated, it removes the need for people to interact with the physical device directly. This, in turn, reduces the safety risk involved in handling power electronics.
- Allows Accessibility to the Average Person
The automation of control of power electronics simplifies the process of controlling power electronics. This makes it easier for average people to to wirelessly handle power devices without needing to spend extra on experts or reading big manuals on safety procedures.
Disadvantages of IoT in Power Electronics
- Security and Privacy Hazard
As with anything connected to the internet, power electronics powered by IoT have security and privacy issues involved. A study found that the privacy violations related to data generated by an IoT device is 26%. If the device being monitored stores personal information, the possibility of that information being leaked in case of a security breach is very real. Furthermore, if the device is connected to other devices, it becomes easier for hackers to gain access to all the connected devices by hacking into one.
- Risk of Damage
Since control is automated and simplified, average people don’t need to call in experts to handle the power devices. In this case, however, the possibility of the device being damaged or becoming irreparable increases, especially if the user is not educated about the device.
Applications of IoT in Power Electronics
To understand the importance of Internet of Things in the functioning of devices from the Power Electronics 2.0 generation, let’s take a look at 2 easy-to-understand examples: Power Supply Module and Inverters.
- Power Supply Module
The output voltage of the device in this Power Supply Module will be DC. The average person might find manual control of high voltage rating devices complex or need guidance on safety protocols. In this situation, IoT provides a simple and intuitive interface to automate control. Ordinary people are thus isolated from the actual physical circuit, minimizing safety risks.
The nature of the output of the Inverter is AC. It is among the most popular products on the market in the mid-price range. There are different types of inverters available in the market with different topologies. The most common inverters on the market are of three-phase topology, mostly used in commercial and industrial applications. This type of inverter must drive a gate or base terminal of a power switch. When dealing with a large AC signal circuit, the chance of getting an electric shock is high. So remote monitoring will allow people to perform different operations without any fear.
IoT in Power Electronics develops safe, uncomplicated, automated devices with digital interfaces. Although the risk for damage and security is present, IoT-powered devices in the Power Electronics 2.0 generation are gaining widespread acceptance and popularity thanks to the ease of use and remote controllability.