GREEN PLUG FAQ

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ page). Below, we have tried to answer the most common questions visitors to our Web site may have. If you find that your question is not answered on this page, please email us at info@greenplug.us or call us at (925) 954-4459.

Q: What is Green Plug™ and how do I use it?
A: Green Plug is the first company with developed technology that brings intelligence to consumer AC-DC power adapters.  Our products are available in chip form or as licensed IP.  Green Plug-enabled smart power adapters communicate with compatible devices so that all of them are able to power any device, regardless of voltage needs.  This brings unprecedented convenience to the consumer, is much more environmentally friendly and opens new profit streams for consumer electronics (CE) manufacturers.  Electronic product developers and power supply engineers incorporate Green Plug technology into their product designs to make a smart power solution that consists of:

  1. The Green Power Processor™ – providing control and communication on the power supply
  2. A Green Load Processor™ – providing communication and Green Plug functionality on consumer devices
  3. Greentalk™ – a software and hardware protocol stack enabling efficient power communication.

Q: How efficient are Green Plug-enabled power adapters?
A: Energy efficiency is a very complex matter when you consider power adapters that are capable of powering multiple devices and varying the output voltage. It is important to be precise when describing energy efficiency. There are two modes of operation to consider:

  • Active mode
  • Standby mode.

In Active mode, measurements are made across 4 load levels: 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% loading. Standby mode is defined as 0% loading, when a device is unplugged or powered off, yet the power adapter still consumes energy. Green Plug's standby mode savings come from shutting off the power supply on all ports, unless a device that is connected to a port requires power. That means that our standby savings over conventional power supplies is typically 75% or more.

Green Plug-enabled power adapters in some scenarios give up a negligible amount of efficiency in Active mode in exchange for the flexibility of universal power. However, such losses are easily offset by the gains in standby power savings and other optimizations. Assume you have a 4-port 115W Green Plug-enabled power adapter compared to 4 individual, conventional power adapters - an 85W, a 20W and two 5W devices. Green Plug offers a slightly lower efficiency than the conventional 85W and 20W power adapters and slightly better efficiency than the conventional 5W power supplies in Active mode. Especially when devices such as cell phones and external disk drives spend most of their time in Standby mode, the combined energy consumption (Active mode use plus Standby mode use) is less for Green Plug-enabled power hubs. Furthermore, we have not yet developed new applications where communication between the power adapter and the load devices can result in dynamic tuning and even further energy savings. We look forward to working with CE device vendors to develop these kinds of advanced power savings applications once the digital bridge (the Greentalk™ open systems power interface) is in place.

Q: Can I buy a Green Plug™-compatible device today?
A: Green Plug™ development kits are available today. Green Plug’s strategy is to have its technology integrated into conventional power device ICs, replacing their analog control circuits with fully programmable digital control technology. In doing so, power supply developers can get all of the benefits of digital control, without adding BoM cost to their products. We are co-developing the first series of integrated power devices with our strategic partner now. Consumers can expect to see the next generation of highly flexible, energy-efficient electronics products in early 2014.

Q: What advantages do digital processors have over analog control circuits for power supply control?
A: Digital processors provide for infinite design flexibility and reuse advantages by enabling changes that previously took weeks in analog environments to be made in minutes via software changes to parameters. They can also relatively easily implement adaptive control and nonlinear control algorithms. Unlike analog, digital controllers are not subject to component tolerances and aging effects. Moreover, most of the digital control loop is built on CMOS processes that scale much more readily than analog processes, leading to cost savings in future digital generations.

Q: How is the Green Power Processor different than other mixed-signal processors being used for power supply control?
A: The GPP is optimized for a specific power capacity with exactly the right processor features. Conventional processors are more general purpose and bloated, usually used for much larger power supplies than found in consumer and office electronics and small appliances. The GPP is ROM-based, with configurable parameters. Conventional processors used for PSC use on-chip flash for custom developing power supply control algorithms. This makes them larger and more power hungry than they must be for the high volume, low-cost power products.