DC-DC Converters can convert a particular DC voltage to a different higher or lower voltage value. Also referred to as linear or switching regulators, DC-DC converters are primarily used to produce a regulated voltage from a controlled or uncontrolled power source to a constant or changing load. Electronic devices are equipped with internal circuits (ICs) that operate on a wide range of voltages. DC-DC converters makes it possible to provide a different voltage for each device.
For example, electrical home appliances that draw power from an outlet need an AC-DC converter to operate properly. Most semiconductors can operate only using DC power, hence the need to convert AC to DC. However, specific circuits and components operate on specific voltage ranges, hence the need for DC-DC converters.
Improper or inadequate voltage supply can lead to malfunction, short circuits, and early degradation of electrical components. DC-DC Converters not only ensure that each IC set is fed the right amount of voltage, but it also stabilizes the voltage to ensure a smooth and steady operation.
There are four general types of DC-DC converters. If the device is used to convert from a higher to a lower voltage, it is generally referred to as a Buck or Step-Down converter. But if the device is utilized to convert from a lower to a higher voltage, it is commonly referred to as a Boost or Step-Up converter. However, devices that are capable of converting to both higher and lower voltages is called a Boost-Buck converter. On the other hand, if the device is used to supply a negative voltage, it is called a Negative Voltage or Inverting converter.
But if a DC-DC converter is used to stabilize the voltage, the industry refers to it as a voltage regulator. As previously mentioned above, regulators fall into two general categories: linear or switching. The former is also referred to as a series regulator and utilizes a resistive load to regulate the input, while a switching regulator transforms the power supply into a pulsed voltage.
Linear regulators have few external parts and have a relatively simple circuit configuration. However, linear regulators are relatively inefficient and produce a lot of heat. Another disadvantage is linear DC converters can only perform a step-down operation wherein it only converts from a higher to lower voltage.
Switching regulators can operate up to 90-percent efficiency and are generally smaller than linear regulators. Best of all, these types of regulators can operate as a step-up (Boost), step-down (Buck), or negative converter, although nothing is perfect. The downsides are few, but switching regulators produce more noise and use more external parts.
DC-DC converters are categorized according to many factors like the current rating, temperature rating, ripple voltage, voltage rating, size, and transient response. Cloud Electric is a proud supplier of DC/DC Converters from top brands like General Electric, Sevcon, and Curtis. We offer fast delivery and friendly customer service.