When it comes time to procure a new power supply for your military application, you might run into a situation where you’re unable to find exactly what you need. Perhaps you require a unit that will fit into a complex enclosure shape or has non-standard input or output voltage requirements. If you’re unable to source a power supply that meets all your needs, choosing a custom power supply is probably the right solution for you.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of a custom power supply and why you should choose one over a standard commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) system.

Benefits of a Custom Power Supply

Power supplies are a very important and critical component of many military systems, and it is undeniable that they must be reliable at all times. Custom power supplies can be designed with various features and options to meet the specific performance requirements and physical constraints of your power system while being able to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

Here are the key benefits of choosing a custom power supply instead of a COTS one:

1. Specific Performance Requirements

Customized power supplies offer multiple performance advantages over a COTS system, such as:

  • Will meet all your requirements.
  • Help maximize the performance of your system—The advanced military systems of today require a power supply that can support their performance requirements, such as custom output voltages and/or currents, optimized power levels, power factor, efficiency, low voltage ripple, dynamic load switching performance and EMC filtering.
  • Meet unusual performance requirements—Telemetry and control features, output sequencing.
  • Offer an alternative solution to discontinued COTS units—If your COTS unit has been discontinued or is no longer available, a customized power supply is sometimes the only option.
  • Provide higher reliability and increased lifespan—Designed with more stringent component derating improves reliability and extends the lifetime. Dependability over an extended period of time is key for some military power systems.

2. Ruggedized and Highly Reliable

Military power supplies need to be tough enough to withstand extreme operational and environmental challenges that civilian power supplies do not need to operate under. Each branch of the military has specific requirements for their custom power supplies:

  • Aerospace: Civil and military aviation aerospace power systems require reliable performance under some of the most extreme operating conditions. In addition to efficiency and power output, the physical size and weight of the units are of utmost importance. Vibration, altitude, and temperature performance are also critical considerations when choosing a ruggedized power supply.
  • Defense: Military ground vehicles and defense applications are subject to a wide range of environmental operating conditions that require a customized power supply. The electrical input and cold cranking vehicle battery requirements are also important considerations.
  • Naval: Above deck, below deck, and sub-surface naval vessels require a ruggedized power supply that meets MIL-STD-1399 requirements. This standard defines the interface requirements applicable to the design of shipboard user equipment that uses shipboard AC electric power.

Custom Supplies from Viable Power

To address these specific environmental requirements, custom ruggedized power supplies are designed using state-of-the-art computer-aided design (CAD) tools for schematic capture, thermal analysis, circuit simulation, and PCB layout. They are built and tested to meet strict MIL-SPEC standards. These standards ensure that the power supplies perform optimally under extreme conditions such as vibration, shock, water immersion, and heavy rain/spray.

Here are some of the military standards that help qualify a power supply as rugged and reliable:

  • MIL-STD-704, MIL-STD 1399 (Section 300), MIL-STD-1275 (which details interface requirements for naval, airborne, and military vehicle applications)
  • MIL-STD-461 (electromagnetic compatibility)
  • MIL-STD-810, RTCA-DO-160 (test methods)
  • MIL-HDBK-217F N2 (reliability)

3. Custom Packaging

Each military application has a specific packaging requirement. DIN rail mount, VMEbus card slide mount, external finned heatsinks for forced or natural convection cooling, internal heatsinks with a fan for self-cooling, and conductively cooled base plates are just a few of the many options available.

Sealing integrity is also essential and tested when designing a package, as it prevents moisture, sand, and water from entering the unit.

Another significant advantage of custom packaging is that it can be designed to fit seamlessly into a new or existing system, which is not the case with a COTS supply.

Why Choose a Custom Power Supply from Viable

At Viable Power, we offer highly customized power supply solutions that are environmentally screened and manufactured to IPC Class 3 standards.

Custom AC-DC Power Supply

Our custom AC-DC power supplies can operate from either three or single phase inputs, and include EMI filtering, rectification, bulk internal capacitance, and a suite of DC-DC power converter modules with output filtering.

We can include several other custom functionalities, such as inrush current limiting, input over and under voltage protection, and input power good indicators through electronic or visual signals.

Output options include:

  • Short circuit protection (shutdown with recovery on power re-cycle or continuous with auto-recovery)
  • Over/under voltage detection and protection
  • Output power good indicators combined or for each output (electronic signals or visually)

Custom DC-DC Power Supply

We can design and build a custom DC-DC power supply that includes an EMI filter module (custom or standard) and other optional input circuitry such as inrush current limiting, hold-up capacitance, and reverse polarity protection, and a suite of DC-DC power converter modules with output filtering.

Other optional features include built-in test functions such as input power good indications (via electronic signals or visually) and input over and under voltage protection.

Output options include:

  • Output power good indicators (combined or for each output through electronic signals or visually)
  • Over/Under voltage protection, detection, and indication
  • Short circuit protection (via shutdown with recovery on power re-cycle or auto-recovery)

Which Customized Power Supply is Right for Your Application?

When opting for a custom power supply, you need to ensure that the new device will meet all your technical and physical performance requirements. At Viable Power, we build custom-designed, ruggedized, and highly reliable power solutions for military sectors such as naval, ground defense, and aerospace. We perform all design and testing in-house and in accordance with strict military specifications to ensure a highly reliable and ruggedized power supply at a reasonable cost.

Our expert team of designers, engineers, and technicians can design, develop, prove, manufacture, and test any power systems to the highest standards under short lead times. Learn more about our customized power supplies and the value they offer your application. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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