The Company



TESLAco was founded in 1979, as Optimum Power Conversion, Inc., a California Corporation, doing business as or dba TESLAco. Over the years it has developed advanced switched-mode power conversion technology initially based on the Cuk converter and TESLA converter. Over the years it gained reputation as a high-tech company specializing in custom design of the high efficiency and high power switched-mode power supplies for commercial, industrial, medical and space applications.

TESLAco- Origin of the Name

TESLAco is named after the famous Serbian born inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) who came to United States in 1886 where his Poly-phase system (Three-Phase) electrical power system for efficient generation, transmission and utilization was successfully generated on large sale for the first time at Niagara Falls, New York and high voltage high power three phase transmission line to Buffalo, New York.

TESLAco- Origin of the logo sign

TESLAco logo sign is a symbol created for a new device: DC-DC transformer having combined both DC power conversion and AC transformer characteristics. It is modified from IEEE standard designation for an AC transformer with addition of a straight line across primary and secondary windings to signify DC power conversion. A bit of history here: the AC transformer was invented by Michael Faraday in 1831 as one of many applications of his Law of Electromagnetic Induction. It started an AC revolution culminated with invention by Nikola Tesla of two and three phase motors and generators and his long distance high voltage electric power transmission using three phase AC transformers at 60Hz or 50Hz powering the world today.

Fundamental building blocks of Power Electronics conversion are DC-DC switching converters, which convert a DC input voltage and current into DC output voltage and current. They are required to provide additional features such as galvanic isolation, no energy storage and transformer scaling features just like Faraday’s AC transformer was capable for alternating 60 Hz power. Thus, the straight line across the transformer symbol was added to signify the new conversion function: DC voltage, current and power conversion along with the built-in features of the original Faraday transformer for AC. However, instead of the 60 Hz sinusoidal voltage drive, internal switching at 100kHz is employed to proportionally reduced the size of this new device: a DC-DC transformer!

Ultimately, this symbol may also represent the future which is unfolding now of high voltage DC power transmission using latest DC-DC switching converter inventions! The logo sign was the joint effort in late 1976 by Dr. Slobodan Cuk and his mentor late Professor Middlebrook to create a logo sign of a new company Optimum Power Conversion, dba TESLAco. The symbol was first used in first models of DC-DC switching converters!

TESLA inventions

Tesla invented a three phase system for electrical power generation which enabled a transmission of large electrical power without any storage to large distances (six thousand miles or more across the continent very efficiently as it was carried by the high voltage transmission lines. This was carried out in his three phase synchronous generators, whose voltage is then stepped up to100,000V and low current using three-phase transformers.

On the receiving end the high voltage is reduced via three phase transformers to the low 440V line to line voltages. On the receiving end the power is converted to mechanical work by use of his three-phase AC motors ( both synchronous) as well as asynchronous (induction motors). Both type of Tesla AC motors are used nowadays to power all electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

TESLAco Mission

Three-phase AC to DC conversion

TESLAco mission is to connect Tesla’s three-phase currents to direct currents and provide the ideal Unity Power Factor operation requiring no storage of electrical power to match the no storage property of Tesla’s Three-phase electric power system.

An added objective is to do this not at the transmission line frequencies   of 60 Hz (USA) or 50Hz (Europe and elsewhere) but at the high frequencies of 120 kHz or 100 kHz. Such ultra-high switching frequencies can in new switching converter topologies, such as latest TESLAco’s Cuk-rectifier, result in proportional one thousand times (1000 fold) reduction of the size and weight of the conversion equipment, while simultaneously reducing the cost of the AC-DC converters and maintaining overall efficiency above 99% to match transmission line efficiencies. Obviously key is to maintain the no storage performance of such conversion equipment.

Nikola Tesla has predicted such huge advantage of three phase  alternating currents  when declaring that alternating currents can  go to100 kHz and higher frequencies while DC current are limited to dull and boring one frequency only, that is Zero or DC.

The technology of switched-mode power conversion with high power switches operating at 100 kHz in proper AC-DC converter topologies and providing a Unity Power factor operation as well as galvanic isolation did not exist at his time and it is only now being realized in the latest inventions of Dr. Cuk. It is now for the first time possible to make a High Power Rapid, Charger for Fully Electric Vehicles and place it directly on-board of the vehicle. This will eliminate the last impediment to widespread use of electric vehicles as one example of its use.

Such no storage power conversion makes possible to connect the AC transmission lines (existing) to the DC transmission lines   (being generated by solar power conversion equipment) without any storage of electrical power.

DC-to-DC conversion

Additional TESLAco objective is to provide DC-DC converter (both step-down in voltage as well step-up) which can also convert power very efficiently at high switching frequencies such as 100 kHz and galvanic isolation but without any DC energy storage. This has not been possible until now and was the key reason for the failure of the Edison DC transmission system to compete with Tesla’s AC transmission system, which had a transformer to take the voltage up to high transmission voltages. The DC system obviously could not use transformer as an AC device to step-up the voltage.

This now makes possible also for the very first time to realize a High DC voltage (20,000V or higher) transmission lines as the o efficiency high power No DC storage converters become reality.

DC-to-AC inverters

TESLAco mission is also to extend its no storage power conversion system to perform DC-AC inversion for such applications driving Three-phase AC motors with variable frequency AC drive, solar inverters, etc.

Nikola Tesla (1856 - 1943)

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla (1857-1943) American inventor. Photograph, 1915. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Nikola Tesla was born in Croatian village of Smiljan then part of Austro Hungarian Empire in 1856 to Serbian parents. Tesla came to the United States of America in 1884, where his many inventions, covered by more than 700 patents, came to fruition in such diverse fields as electrical energy processing, thermodynamics, telegraphy, radio, radio astronomy, aviation, physics, optics, mathematics, and chemistry.

Tesla invented the modern poly-phase Alternating Currents (AC) system. Today, that system is still unsurpassed in its efficient and economic generation, transmission, and usage of virtually all available electrical power, and is the single most important factor in the widespread use of electrical energy as we know it now. To make the transmitted poly-phase currents perform mechanical work, Tesla invented a revolutionary poly-phase AC motor, which is by far superior to the conventional Direct Current (DC) motor with mechanical commutator’s and the brushes that wear out and require continuous maintenance. The rotating action in Tesla’s AC motor is obtained through its poly-phase stator windings which generate a rotating magnetic field, inducing currents in shorted-turn rotor windings, hence producing torque and rotation. The rotor can also be replaced by a permanent magnet to obtain even high efficiencies and smaller size of the motor. Today Tesla’s revolutionary AC System together with his AC synchronous generators and AC motors form the backbone of the modern industrial world.

In the days of the Wars of Currents, Tesla fought for his new AC power system and AC motor against Edison, who was backing DC power generation and transmission and DC motors. Tesla clearly won when first Westinghouse Electric Company bought his patents and later on when General Electric acquired the patent rights from Westinghouse. Thus, the new electrical age was born.

Tesla demonstrated the first system of radio transmission, complete with transmitter, receiver, and electronic tube detection. His high-frequency, high-power experiments at Colorado Springs in 1893 still fascinate present-day scientists. In honor of his contributions to electrical sciences, a unit of magnetic induction (flux per unit area) bears the name tesla (T), joining other early pioneers of electrical engineering in having units named after them, such as the volt (V), ampere (A), ohm, henry (H), farad (F), and others. Tesla is important of magnetic materials which designate at which flux density magnetic materials will saturate. For example, silicon iron (silicon steel) saturate at 1.6 T but can operate only at lower frequencies of 10khz or less while ferrite material have lower 0.5T flux density but can operate even at 1mhz frequencies. One of Nikola Tesla contemporaries, Mr. Behrend, himself an early electrical engineering contributor, spoke these words:

"Were we to seize and eliminate from our industrial world the results of Mr. Tesla’s work, the wheels of industry would cease to turn, our electric cars and trains would stop, our towns would be dark, and our mills would be dead and idle... His name marks an epoch in the advance of electrical science. From that work has sprung a revolution."

Nikola Tesla’s discoveries and inventions are perhaps best recognized when some 150,000 members of the IEEE society voted in 1984 which are the top twenty inventions of the 20th century. Two inventions of Nikola Tesla came on top as follows:

  1. Tesla’s invention of generation, transmission and utilization of electrical power was voted as Number 1.
  2. Tesla’s invention of radio was voted as number 6.