Switching supply units used today are of light weight and compact design, but also susceptible to errors due to the incorporated electrolyte capacitors. Film capacitors would have much longer service lives. However, they need up to ten times more space. Scientists of KIT's Light Technology Institute (LTI) have now developed a digital control method for use of film capacitors that need slightly more space only.
The control method runs on a microprocessor integrated in the supply unit and detects disturbing environmental impacts, such that e.g. higher voltage fluctuations can be balanced. Hence, storage capacitors of reduced capacity are sufficient. Michael Heidinger, LTI, summarizes the advantages: "Use of these film capacitors eliminates the main cause of failure of power supplies, i.e. electrolyte capacitors. Depending on the design, service life may be increased by a factor of up to three." The result is a much reduced maintenance expenditure.
This one is digital.