Power distribution box
In the past, the Power Distribution Box has been built with relays and fuses, in some cases (even today) as a plug-in for a punched grid box. The only function has been to connect and disconnect the battery to the loads and modules. To replace faulty relays or fuses, the box had to be located at easy accessible areas of the car.
Today, the technology and concept of the Power Distribution Box are evolving towards one of a Body Control Module (BCM) or Electronic Control Unit (ECU) where relays and fuses have already been replaced by semiconductors two decades ago. Replacing relays in a power distribution box by semiconductors and adding intelligence to it with a microcontroller has the great advantage of integrating new functions for the power distribution box: supply, communication, control, and actuation. Additionally, it removes the accessibility requirement, thanks to its newly enhanced component protection and reliability.
Finally, one important benefit of such a smart power distribution box lies in the wire harness. The integration of multiple functions and the now possible optimization of its location in the car enable the wire harness to be shorter, thinner and less complex.
Power Distribution Box system designs require:
- A supply and communication interface which can be built discrete (voltage regulator + LIN/ CAN transceiver) or integrated (LIN LDO or SBC)
- A µC capability fitting to the system requirements which can be functional safety-critical (fail-operational) with ISO26262 compliance
- A set of High-Side Switches with sense, diagnose and protection functions for low to medium current (integrated) and high current (discrete Gate Driver + MOSFET) load and module actuation
- A safety concept to handle under- and over-voltage, short circuit, over-load, over-temperature, open load, wire harness protection, load protection, power supply protection, ASIL decomposition and many more depending on the system requirements
Power Distribution Box
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