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5 Facts You Need to Know About DC-DC Converters

David Johnson

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5 Facts You Need to Know About DC-DC Converters

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The Wright brothers were the first to invent and fly on the motor-operated airplane back in the 1900s. They paved the way for aviation to get to where it is today.

Undoubtedly, aviation has come a long way, from having a simple motor-operated system to using more complex designs for jumbo jets.

Furthermore, the need for efficiency has skyrocketed during the past few years. With the growing public concern about climate change and limited resources, businesses now strive to create voltage conversion systems that waste as little energy as possible.

With that came the need to replace old energy converters, like rectifiers and transformers, with more efficient converters called DC-DC (DC stands for Direct current).

What exactly is DC-DC, you ask?

Let’s elaborate on that question with these five facts!

1. DC-DC Is More Efficient than Linear Conversion Systems

DC-DC converters are used to either increase or decrease voltage levels. They are used to convert fluctuating voltage into more consistent voltage.

For example, imagine your PC with different currents and voltages sent to the CPU and screen display, respectively. Converters manage these voltages.

The exact amount of voltage shouldn’t be sent to all components; that’s why DC-DC converters do the job of regulating the flow of voltage.

Moreover, DC-DC converters operate by switching techniques. These techniques regulate voltage and reduce excess heat production tremendously in contrast to power or linear conversions.

2. Different Types of DC-DC Converters

Time is precious.

And listing the many types of DC-DC converters will cost you a full day.

So here are the four most common types of DC-DC converters you should know about:

  • Buck Converters: they convert high voltage to low voltage at the output. The polarity of the output matches that of the input.
  • Boost Converters: they convert low voltage to high voltage at the output. Like buck converters, the output polarity is the same as the input.
  • Buck-boost Converters: As the name suggests, these converters are a combination of buck and boost converters, i.e., they can either lower voltage or increase voltage and even reverse polarity.
  • Single-Ended Primary Inductor Converter: This converter is a boost converter preceding a buck-boost converter.

They function the same as buck-boost converters, except they provide output voltage with non-reversed polarity.

3. DC-DC Converters Address Fluctuations

Yeah, slight fluctuations might go unnoticed in PCs or laptops, but how about airplanes and space rockets?

If frequent fluctuations occur in the generated voltage, operation equipment might get damaged in the long run.

For that reason, DC-DC converters, with their closed-circuit system, are added to maintain steady voltage levels despite input fluctuations.

4. DC-DC Regulate Power

Voltage levels usually become cyclical during AC-DC conversions.
Some power supplies may include a capacitor filter to solve wild changes in voltage levels. However, this is not enough to eliminate ripples.

Ripples are wasted power with many undesirable effects, such as heating components and generating noise or distortion.

Most often, power supplies feature a voltage regulator. Though, in unregulated industrial power supplies, this feature can be absent. Hence, when using such modules, a DC-DC converter is crucial to regulate the output voltage.

5. DC-DC Compensate for Voltage Drops

Slight voltage drops can occur if power travels through longer cables before reaching the powered equipment.

That’s not all; some power supplies can become increasingly inefficient with age — ultimately producing voltages lower than a rated voltage.

In these scenarios, DC-DC converters, like boost converters, compensate for these losses by increasing the supplied power to the correct voltage level.

Purchasing the Right DC-DC Converter

DC-DC converters are used in various applications, like military and aerospace industries. Moreover, they come with different specifications related to input and output voltage. Suppose you’re looking for industrial-grade DC-DC converters. In that case, it’s essential to check for the product’s reliability and request a full data sheet for further information to avoid putting your equipment in a dangerous condition.

SEE ALSO: 4 Things You Should Know Before Switching To Solar Energy

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