(DriveCore™ chip)

From time-to-time, we like to invite our readers behind the scenes to meet some of the extraordinary engineers who develop new products and technologies at HARMAN Professional Solutions. In this edition of Innovator Spotlight, I’m pleased to introduce Jeremy Bules, Associate Director of Engineering – Amplifiers at HARMAN. Jeremy’s groundbreaking work has impacted HARMAN products across the enterprise, entertainment and automotive spectrum.

Jeremy manages a department of approximately 20 people at the HARMAN campus in Elkhart, Indiana. A lifelong resident of the state, Jeremy joined the company 16 years ago. After graduating from Purdue University in 1999 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, he initially worked at NSK. Not finding the position as engaging as he hoped, Jeremy and his new wife decided to explore job opportunities closer to their families’ homes, which was when they learned about Crown. “I was really excited about the hardware engineering position they offered me and have been in audio ever since. It’s been great!” said Jeremy.

One year after Jeremy joined Crown, the company was acquired by HARMAN and he began working on the highly innovative JBL A3000GTi and A6000GTi aftermarket car subwoofer amplifiers. “At the time, nobody had car amplifiers that were capable of delivering more than 2000 watts and we developed models that could deliver 3000 and 6000 watts,” he said. “It’s extremely rare to be handed a blank sheet of paper with a simple request for a product, in this case, a 6000-watt amplifier. With most projects, a lot more of the details are spelled out and constraints applied. It made the challenge especially fun.”

A6000GTi prototype

Jeremy was one of the hardware engineers who worked on the project and he designed the amplifiers’ 6000-watt and 3000-watt power supplies. “The power supply had a full-bridge design that made it unique. It was a circle power supply with a toroid transformer and used 48 Mosfets to process the power.” Jeremy was also responsible for validating and building the amplifiers before shepherding them into production.

Another milestone in Jeremy’s HARMAN career was his contribution to HARMAN’s signature DriveCore™ chip, which was developed in conjunction with Texas Instruments and HARMAN teams in Germany and Michigan. The project was launched in 2006 and took almost three years to complete. DriveCore is a proprietary modulator and an integral part of Crown’s Class-D and patented Class-I amplifiers. It is a key component of Crown’s ITech, DCi, CDi, new game-changing CDi DriveCore amplifier series for installed sound and JBL’s Commercial Series amplifiers.

Working with Gerald Stanley, the technical lead on the chips, Jeremy was tasked with planning the DriveCore project and overseeing its validation and testing. “The truly innovative part of the chips, is that we developed a feedback and modulator scheme that used thousands of discrete components and, with Texas Instrument’s help, integrated many of them into a single chip that has an ongoing legacy and continues to be used and refined,” said Jeremy. “The DriveCore chip has been used in every product I’ve been involved with since.”

Replacing thousands of parts with one small chip has enabled DriveCore’s mass production, lowering costs for many HARMAN products, while increasing energy-efficiency and, with fewer parts, ensure maximum reliability.

While developing DriveCore, Jeremy’s team also created an additional chip that is similar to DriveCore, but contains a 2-channel, 125-watt amplifier and is used primarily by HARMAN’s automotive group.

“Bass Machine” development phase test system with speakers and an A6000GTi prototype

Reflecting on what he’s enjoyed most about his years at HARMAN, Jeremy said, “There are always challenges and that’s really what fuels everybody on my team. It’s never mundane work and you never know what’s lurking around the corner. Bringing products to market that fulfill needs and make HARMAN successful is also really important to me.”

During his free time, Jeremy along with his wife and five children, appreciate the many opportunities the region provides. “I’m an outdoors person and love to hunt and fish,” he said. He also enjoys running his church’s new HARMAN sound system on Sundays and recently completed his MBA at Bethel College.

HARMAN is grateful to have an innovator like Jeremy Bules on our team. Many thanks to Jeremy for his important contributions.

Do you have what it takes to become a HARMAN Innovator? Introduce yourself in the comments and visit https://jobs.harman.com/ to learn about our current opportunities.

 

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