Scotty… I Need More Power!

If you are a geek like me and are ever in Detroit, don’t miss the automakers’ museums. The sheer size of the Ford museum is astounding. It even includes a working late 19th century factory, complete with steam engine, overhead shafts and belt and pulley drives to the machine tools.

But my inspiration for this month’s blog comes from the much smaller Chrysler museum. In that museum’s collection is a 1200hp tank engine from early WWII. One can truly appreciate how America was caught unprepared and responded with great innovations by studying this engine. If you look carefully, you can make out six inline 6 cylinder automobile engine blocks arranged radially around a center output shaft. Chrysler engineers put this engine in production in a matter of weeks after Pearl Harbor.

Now fast forward to 2013. I was recently challenged with providing a high current, low voltage drive to a client on short notice but all I had available were open source drives at 1/3 the required power. Taking a lesson from those wartime Chrysler engineers, I re-programmed them to run in sync, paralleled three drives and shipped on time.

Flexibility was a key in WWII and is the watchword for the 21st century. For motors and drives that means what we produce has to not only be flexible now but remain so over its lifetime. At Digital Power Engineering, the open source drive architecture provides that forward looking flexibility. For motor manufacturers like my friends over at Tru Tech Specialty Motors, maintaining a build to order capacity provides flexibility.

How flexible is your product or company?

Speaking of flexibility, we’re changing our name at Software Defined Power. To reflect the fact that we handle systems and hardware engineering, as well as software, we are changing it to Digital Power Engineering. Be sure to change your bookmark to

As always, questions, comments and suggestions are all welcome. I can be emailed at

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