The design of high efficiency power amplifiers for in-car audio use
Switched mode, Class-D power amplification allows for high efficiency power amplification of an audio signal. This thesis investigates its application to high power car audio systems where there is a demand for efficient high power amplification. Examination of the present car audio power amplifiers, which comprise a switched mode power supply combined with a linear output stage, has shown that there is significant scope for improvement in efficiency and power density. A novel power stage in which the attributes of a switched-mode power supply and full bridge output stage is presented. It is demonstrated that elimination of the intermedjate DC supply results in an amplifier which has a significantly lower part count, size and cost compared to conventional designs. Two different modulation schemes are explored (PWM and PDM) with a view to finding the most suitable for the new power stage. The theoretical performances of the modulators are verified by practical measurements. The design of high order DeltaSigma modulators is difficult as they show unstable behaviour and an alternative design methodology has been presented to ease this task. The mechanisms which introduce distortion in a practical amplifier are discussed, and for the case of a PWM driven output stage, a new model is presented to predict the effect of dead time on harmonic distortion. This form of distortion is shown to be the dominant cause of open loop non-linearity. The use of feedback is also investigated and yields a factor of 20 improvement in amplifier total harmonic distortion . The design throughout has been supported with practical results and these have illustrated the importance for careful circuit layout in high frequency switching systems.