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14/4/2018

Power Supply Design Tutorial

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

/ Power Supply Design Tutorial Power Supply Design Tutorial This series of tutorials explains in-depth design

This series of tutorials explains in-depth design steps for the buck and the boost topology DC-DC switching regulators, supplemented by dedicated sessions on PCB layout and signal edge control for EMI that apply to all switching regulators.

This tutorials series is split into 15 parts and provides details, hints and tips which are useful even to the most veteran power supply designers. Beginners who have never designed a power supply can use this series as a start. But those engineers who already have some power supply design experience and wish to gain more depth of knowledge are going to

bene t the most.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

Part 1: Topologies and Fundamentals14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial Part 2: The Buck Regulator Part 3: PCB Layout for Switchers

Part 2: The Buck RegulatorSupply Design Tutorial Part 1: Topologies and Fundamentals Part 3: PCB Layout for Switchers Part 4:

Part 3: PCB Layout for Switchers1: Topologies and Fundamentals Part 2: The Buck Regulator Part 4: The Boost Regulator Part 5:

Part 4: The Boost RegulatorPart 2: The Buck Regulator Part 3: PCB Layout for Switchers Part 5: Switching Edge Control

Part 5: Switching Edge Control for EMCPart 3: PCB Layout for Switchers Part 4: The Boost Regulator Part 6: The SEPIC Regulator

Part 6: The SEPIC RegulatorThe Boost Regulator Part 5: Switching Edge Control for EMC Part 7: The C*k Regulator Part

Part 7: The C*k RegulatorSwitching Edge Control for EMC Part 6: The SEPIC Regulator Part 8: Switching Regulator Control Loops

Part 8: Switching Regulator Control LoopsEMC Part 6: The SEPIC Regulator Part 7: The C*k Regulator Part 9: Input Filters for

Part 9: Input Filters for DC Input SwitchersThe C*k Regulator Part 8: Switching Regulator Control Loops Part 10: The AC-DC Flyback Regulator Part

Part 10: The AC-DC Flyback RegulatorControl Loops Part 9: Input Filters for DC Input Switchers Part 11: Flyback Transformer Design Part

Part 11: Flyback Transformer Designfor DC Input Switchers Part 10: The AC-DC Flyback Regulator Part 12: Isolated Power Solutions Part

Part 12: Isolated Power SolutionsAC-DC Flyback Regulator Part 11: Flyback Transformer Design Part 13: Input Filters for AC Input Switchers

Part 13: Input Filters for AC Input SwitchersFlyback Transformer Design Part 12: Isolated Power Solutions Part 14: The LLC Resonant Half-bridge Regulator Part

Part 14: The LLC Resonant Half-bridge RegulatorSolutions Part 13: Input Filters for AC Input Switchers Part 15: Power Factor Correction

Part 15: Power Factor CorrectionSwitchers Part 14: The LLC Resonant Half-bridge Regulator (https://www.powerelectronicsnews.com/w

Half-bridge Regulator Part 15: Power Factor Correction (https://www.powerelectronicsnews.com/w

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content/uploads/2018/01/PIDWebinar1-

1-3_In-the-Beginning-There-Was-

Discrete.jpg)

Within this series we will issue a new tutorial every week. The rst one is available now. Here is the agenda:

Linear regulators and low dropout (LDO) regulatorsweek. The rst one is available now. Here is the agenda: Power dissipation and thermal management

Power dissipation and thermal management of power semiconductorsagenda: Linear regulators and low dropout (LDO) regulators Switching regulator introduction and the three-terminal

Switching regulator introduction and the three-terminal elementdissipation and thermal management of power semiconductors The three basic converter topologies: buck, boost and

The three basic converter topologies: buck, boost and inverting buck-boostregulator introduction and the three-terminal element Inductors and inductor currents Welcome to Part 1-1 of the

Inductors and inductor currentsconverter topologies: buck, boost and inverting buck-boost Welcome to Part 1-1 of the Power Induced Design

Welcome to Part 1-1 of the Power Induced Design Power Supply Design Series, Topologies and Fundamentals, brought to you by Power Electronics News. If you’ve already designed 100 buck regulators, you can probably skip this session, but I

bet there’s at least something in these next 25 slides or so that even seasons professionals would nd useful or insightful. In this session, we’re going to look at linear power supplies, thermal management, and then the basis of DC to DC switching

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power supplies.

14/4/2018

Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial Here, you can see me, I’m your host, Chris Richardson, and

Here, you can see me, I’m your host, Chris Richardson, and a couple of badge photos from my history, rst in 2005 at National Semiconductor, later on at Texas Instruments in 2011 after they bought National Semiconductor, and nally in 2013, when I founded Power Induced Design. If you want to get in touch with me, there’s my email, info@powerinduced.com. You can see here that the hair changes a little bit, but that cheesy smile always stays the same.

In the Beginning, There Was Discrete

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial This slide is for all my viewers who love both science

This slide is for all my viewers who love both science ction and power management. It would be more accurate to say that in the beginning there were vacuum tube based power supplies, so let’s call this the quote on quote beginning of modern power supplies. Now, this circuit is very simple. There’s a reference, usually a Zener diode, a current limiting resistor to keep the reference from overheating, and a pass element. I’ve drawn the pass element as an NPN transistor, but n- MOSFETs with work, too. The nal resistor represents the load.

Discrete Is Alive and Well

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial This type of circuit is used all the time to get

This type of circuit is used all the time to get supplies that run from high voltage but use low voltage silicon to start up. What isn’t shown is the connection to the line coming into the emitter of Q1, which is an output from an auxiliary winding. As soon as that auxiliary voltage exceeds the combination of VZ plus VBE, that is to say, the Zener voltage breakdown plus a VBE transistor, then Q1 turns off and barely any power is dissipated. Also, the reason that bipolar transistors are preferred over MOSFETs, even though MOSFETs have a lot more selection, is that it’s harder to know how much reverse voltage is needed from source to gate to make sure a MOSFET is really and truly off. Another note. If your AC to DC or HVDC supply doesn’t start up during initial testing, it’s almost always because of the setup circuit and or the aux winding.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

Then Came the Integrated NPN

Power Supply Design Tutorial Then Came the Integrated NPN The next evolution after discrete linear regulators

The next evolution after discrete linear regulators was the integrated NPN regulator. That integrated comes from integrated circuit, or IC. These days, most any linear regulator is often called an LDO, which stands for low dropout regulator. In general, real NPN regulators are not actually very low in dropout, and we’ll see why on the next slide. But even NPN regulator, since there are several con gurations with PNPs or with MOSFETs.

And this is a good time to de ne what dropout voltage actually is. That’s the minimum amount of head room, that means the difference in voltage needed between the input voltage and the output voltage, in order to keep that output voltage regulated. As you might imagine, that’s a big concern as the minimum voltage gets closer and closer to the maximum output voltage of a given linear regulator, also, especially when regulators have dropout voltages, too, that are often more dif cult to calculate.

Now, one nice thing about integration, besides having less parts to select and place, and, of course, their excellent stability, is that for an IC regulator, all that silicon is at close to the same temperature, and that’s very good for the stability of the circuit.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

There are two terms here on this page that I want to talk about more. One is PSRR. That’s power supply rejection ratio. It’s also known as audio susceptibility. This is the ability of the power supply to reject differential mode noise that’s present between the positive input, which is labeled here as VN, and the negative input, which is implied but not explicitly shown. Those are the ground symbols.

Then, there’s the common mode rejection ratio. That’s CMRR, and it’s more aptly named. That refers to the power supply’s ability to reject common mode noise, that is to say, noise that’s present between either the positive input and Earth or the negative input and Earth.

Limitations of the NPN Darlington

input and Earth. Limitations of the NPN Da rlington So here on this slide, we can

So here on this slide, we can see the internal details of a classic NPN regulator, also known as a Darlington regulator. As you

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can see, there are two NPN transistors and one PNP transistor that are in series with the control path. And when I rst

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looked at this circuit, I thought to myself, “Hmm, there’s only one VCE drop from V input to V output. So why won’t this

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

circuit work down to, say, 500 millivolts of dropout voltage?” But it’s actually the control circuit that needs those two VBE voltages and one VCE. Now, summed, up, that’s 0.7 volts plus 0.7 volts plus 0.3 volts, and that’s getting you pretty close to two volts.

So with no control, there’s no stable V out, and that’s why a standard NPN Darlington regulator, like this one, would not work reliably when trying to drop, say, 5.0 volts down to 3.3 volts. You’re likely to run into dropout, especially when you know that there’s a tolerance in that 5 volts usually of, say, plus or minus 5 or plus or minus 10 percent.

So dropout is clearly a bad thing since the output voltage is no longer regulated, but another problem is that when a circuit is in dropout, all the noise at the input passes through to the output with almost no attenuation.

Power Dissipation in Linear Regulators

no attenuation. Power Di ssipation in Linear Regulators So for power dissipation, let’s say in the

So for power dissipation, let’s say in the world of power supplies, there are basically three things that kill devices, over

voltage, negative voltage where it’s not expected, and over temperature. And of those three things, they all really boil down

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to over temperature, because over voltage usually causes a high amount of current to ow, and negative voltage usually

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

causes current to ow where it shouldn’t ow, and too much current owing in a given place causes too much heat. So power dissipation is critical.

And what we’re looking at here in this circuit is that power dissipation in linear regulators is very straightforward. You just subtract the output voltage from the input voltage and multiply that product by the output current. Now, when you want to calculate the worst case, and when we design power supplies, it’s pretty much always the worst case that we design to, subtract the lowest output voltage from the highest input voltage and multiply that by the maximum output current.

The Low Dropout Regulator, “LDO”

output current. The Low Dr opout Regulator, “LDO” The next big thing in linear power supplies

The next big thing in linear power supplies was the true low dropout regulator, which uses different ways of connecting

bipolar transistors, or, for the lowest dropout, MOSFETs for the pass element. So rather than that minimum of 1.7 volts and

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typically more like 2.0 volts of dropout that the NPN Darlington would need, this circuit has a maximum dropout voltage

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just over 300 millivolts, as you can see on the graph here. And that’s at its maximum output current.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

So, an important note here. This graph is at 25 degrees C. You can see it written there. And dropout voltage does change as temperature changes. An LDO delivering one amp of current will de nitely heat up, so it’s very important to look at the worst case dropout over the full range of temperature.

Lower Dropout Reduces Power Loss

range of temperature. Lower Dr opout Reduces Power Loss So the internal details of the p-MOSFET

So the internal details of the p-MOSFET low dropout regulator make things a little bit clearer to see. This is the same device that we saw on the previous page. With only two MOSFET based elements, we can also see why only 300 millivolts or so of minimum head room are needed between V out and V in. So back to that 5 volt in and 3.3 volt out case. If we assume that the 5.0 volts has a plus or minus 10 percent tolerance, and that’s de nitely a worst case for modern power supplies, then

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the voltage head room between ve volts minus 10 percent, or 4.5 volts, and the 3.3 volt output would be 1.2 volts. That’s

more than enough to keep this circuit regulating.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

These days, it’s common for LDOs to drop from 2.5 volts down to 1.8 volts, even from 1.8 volts down to 1.2 volts. And there are some highly controlled cases where you might even be able to regulate from 1.5 volts down to 1.2 volts. So the trend in general is to reduce that dropout to a very minimum, and the purpose is to reduce power dissipation and unwanted heat. Heat is de nitely the enemy in power supplies, and all electronics, really.

Packaging and Thermal Management

all electronics, really. Packaging and Thermal Management So we’ve got the basics of linear power supplies

So we’ve got the basics of linear power supplies under our belt. Now, let’s talk more about heat. In marketing language, this is thermal management, but I prefer to say let’s not cook our power supplies.So, in general, the bigger the package, the lower the thermal resistance. And thermal resistance is very similar to electrical resistance. The higher it is, the harder it is to keep the junction, that’s the silicon at the center of the package, cool.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

Now that long ago, the only packages available were limited to the leads for conducting heat away from the junction, whether they were through a hole or surface mount. The silicon usually sat on a copper based called the tab, and bond wires made of gold or aluminum made those electrical connections out to the pins. In many packages, those thin bond wires are also the only real conductors of heat, since the plastic of the body is just as poor at conducting heat as it is at conducting electrical current.

Silicon and package vendors often know and provide certain portions of the total thermal resistance from the junction to the ambient. That’s theta JA. One part they can report and reliably do is the thermal resistance thermal resistance from the junction to the solder point. That’s the theta JS. But in most cases, how the package is used has such a large impact on the total theta JA, that’s the junction to ambient, that the best the vendors can do is really provide us with some typical cases.

Experience, and by experience I mean burned chips and burned ngers, is often the best tool for power management. Still, it’s important to point out the basic equation. Final junction temperature is the function of ambient temperature plus the total power dissipation multiplied by that total thermal resistance from junction to ambient. At least for linear regulators, we know the power dissipation with good accuracy.

PCB Layout and Thermal Management

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial PCB layout is one critical parameter that the IC makers can’t

PCB layout is one critical parameter that the IC makers can’t control, so they provide various scenarios. Here we’re looking at the SC-74, a small package for an LDO. The so-called “minimum copper2 setup is basically just the recommended copper area of the footprint of the package plus a few thin traces. Copper thickness counts, too – though not written that’s 15 micrometers.

For contrast, look at the case where the copper area connected to the pins is greater than or equal to 300 square millimeters. To really get the most out of this copper area, it needs to connect to the pins that carry the highest current. That would be the Rext and OUT pins in this case, and that reduces the thetaJA by one-third. By the way, the fact that there are three OUT pins is a good indication that they carry heavy current and would be good for connecting copper areas to.

Exposed-Pad Package Advantage

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial One monumental advance in thermal management was the introduction of so

One monumental advance in thermal management was the introduction of so called exposed pad packaging. Now, many of these packages are pin compatible with industry standard packages, like the SO-8, or, in the case shown here, the TSSOP- 16. So in these cases, the silicon still sits on top of a copper pad, but that pad is larger and or it sits lower inside the package, and a portion of it is exposed on the bottom. The disadvantage, no more running traces underneath the IC on the top layer, but for the big power, the trade off is well worth it.

In many cases, it’s quite dif cult to get a big area, like those 300 square millimeters we talked about on the previous page. It’s dif cult to get that big area onto the top layer where all the traces go. So we use thermal vias and copper area on other layers.

Anyone who works with high power LEDs has certainly used or considered metal core PCB, or MCPCB. Now, exposed pad packages love MCPCB. We’ll talk about more about that later. For now, one very important comment. If you don’t connect the exposed pad of an exposed pad package, most power ICs will still work, but their thermal resistance is the same as a standard package, so if you have it and you don’t use it, you get nothing.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

Now, as a nal note, almost every aspect of thermal management shows an exponential response, like the graph you see here. Now, that means that while more is always better, there almost always comes a point of diminishing returns. In other words, connecting your exposed pad IC to a square meter of copper is ne, but you’re not getting much bene t from most of that copper. Did I mention, by the way, that copper isn’t cheap?

FR-4 vs. Metal-Core PCB

the way, that copper isn’t cheap? FR-4 vs. Metal-Core PCB I mentioned LEDs on the previous

I mentioned LEDs on the previous slide, and power LEDs are the current kings of thermal management today because there’s such a direct relationship between heat control and both the quality and the quantity of the light output.

Now, I love LEDs, by the way. LED drivers are my favorite type of power supply. Anything that lights up or blinks. In any case, power LED manufacturers have done some excellent research into thermal management. Anything that works for a

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power LED, which always has a thermal tab, will de nitely work for a power IC with a thermal tab.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

And it goes without saying that metal core PCB is wonderful if you can use it. It used to be really, really expensive, but thanks to those high volumes in LED lighting, it’s a lot more affordable now. To me, the big disadvantage with MCPCB is still that it’s quite complicated and more expensive to have more than two layers of tracks on an MCPCB.

FR-4 with Thermal Vias

two layers of tracks on an MCPCB. FR-4 with Thermal Vias An FR-4 will never be

An FR-4 will never be as good at drawing heat away from your source as MCPCB, but there are plenty of ways to make big improvements. Thicker copper layers is one way, a simple fact of greater thermal mass. Now, I’ve seen designs with as much as 140 micrometers of copper, but if you put copper that thick on the out layers, the components don’t sit at anymore and

assembly starts to get really complicated. So adding internal ways is another way to improve thermal resistance, and as this slide here shows, thermal vias are pretty much the standard way to connect your heat source on an outer layer to heat

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sinking in the form of copper areas on the internal layers or on the opposite external layers.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

Notice, again, that more or less exponential shape of the curves on this page. Now, here we’re looking at both the number

of vias and the diameter of those vias. More is better, yes, but again, there’s a point of diminishing returns. There are also

some important practical concerns. In most applications, for example, you won’t be able to t 91 vias below an SO-8 package. While not shown here, the effectiveness of those thermal vias also drops off, and again exponentially, as they are placed farther and farther away from the heat source.

A nal very important note for thermal vias is that while they are most effective when placed directly underneath the

thermal tab of a power IC, this is a soldered area. Vias that are too big will draw away or drain or wick away the solder during assembly.

Now personally, I like to use vias that have an outer diameter of 0.5 millimeters and a hole diameter of 0.25 millimeters, and I typically space them one millimeter apart. The best thing to do really is to sit down with your PCB maker and your contract manufacturer and agree beforehand on what will work best.

What About Converting 24V to 1.2V @ 10A?

will work best. Wha t About Converting 24V to 1.2V @ 10A? We use cookies to

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

One of my colleagues at National Semiconductor, who was the guru of linear regulators, once told me about a customer who called him to ask for help designing a 10 kW linear power supply for a laser. Lasers are notoriously intolerant of ripple for their drivers, but you’d need a good size swimming pool to cool such a supply. He told them to use a switcher, but as far as I know, they never called back!

A slightly less powerful but still demonstrative example would be an industrial system with the very common bus voltage of 24V, powering a digital something that needed 1.2V. If the output current were 10A, you’d be dissipating about 230W, and for that you need a serious heatsink. You’d also be burning 230V for 12W output, and that’s an ef ciency of 5%. Not something to be proud of!

Now, if I have the chance to update this seminar, I’ll see if I can build this circuit and make a video of marshmallows toasting…

Okay. So what do you do when you want to drop 24 volts to 1.2 volts at 10 amps and the marketing department tells you that marshmallow toasting is not a value added feature for your power supply? Well, the answer is that you use a switching regulator. In this presentation, we’re going to just dip our toes into the pool of switchers.

Switching to Control Average Power

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial Here’s a circuit and a plot showing the most basic part

Here’s a circuit and a plot showing the most basic part of a switching regulator. Now, I’ve written the source as V for voltage and shown the voltage across a load, but all we’re really doing here is connecting a source of power to that load for some period of time, t on, and not connecting that power source during the rest of the time. If we had a xed period for each cycle of length t, then the time when the source wasn’t connected would be T minus t on.

The two most important concepts here are, one, the load sees an average power, or average voltage or average current, that is different from that of the source because they aren’t connected during 100 percent of the time. Two, it’s the duty cycle, meaning the percentage of time that the source and load are connected that determines the average power at the load. Now, for this circuit, duty cycle D is equal to t on divided by period T.

Some Applications Accept Pure PWM

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial Pulse width modulation, or PWM, is a type of control that

Pulse width modulation, or PWM, is a type of control that consists of varying the time that the source and the load are connected. Another way to say this would be to state that the duty cycle is modulated. A higher duty cycle means a wider pulse.

Now, there are plenty of applications where those pulses of power are applied directly to the load with little or no ltering at all. Heaters are a good one, as well as DC fans. Then there’s my favorite, or to be more honest, my least favorite, the TRIAC or phase dimmer. That’s the simple circuit shown at the bottom left, and it uses purely analog components to cut off a portion of the AC line that feeds traditional lament or halogen light bulbs. The reason for my love hate relationship with TRIAC dimmers is that once you understand a little bit more about switching power supplies, you’ll see that TRIACs and switchers mix about as well as oil and water.

Now, the DC to DC switching converter, that’s at the bottom right, starts with this concept of PWM, but it adds a critical element, a lter. The purpose of the lter is to smooth out or average the pulses of voltage, current, or power for those that can’t naturally perform that averaging.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial Just about all of the converters described in this entire seminar

Just about all of the converters described in this entire seminar are called quote on quote hard switching because they turn one switch on or off while there’s either a voltage across it or a current owing through it. Interrupting the current or short circuiting the voltage is known as hard switching, and to be honest, it’s hard on the switches. What I mean to say is that hard switching causes power dissipation. Power dissipation causes heat. And now we know that heat is the number one killer of electronics. At least it is for industrial electronics. For consumer electronics, killer number one is still the toilet that your mobile phone falls into.

One great way to think of a hard switch converter is by using this very basic three terminal element. The square wave appears at the black dot in the middle, and our friend, the power inductor, is the principal element of the smoothing lter. It’s the output part of the inductor that determines the type, also known as the topology, of the switching converter.

While not shown here, it’s important to note that those two switches operate out of phase, meaning that only one of them is ever on at any given time. If for any reason they both turned on at the same time, something bad would happen. That’s what we call shoot through. More about that on the next slide.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

The Boost Converter

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial The Boost Converter The buck converter is the star of this

The buck converter is the star of this show. Now, I can’t say this with absolutely certainty, but I’m pretty sure that the buck is the most common of all switching regulators, and it’s de nitely the most common DC to DC converter. See how the inductor connects to the output? That means that the average output current is the same as the average inductor current. As we’ll see, inductor current is one of the most important waveforms in a switching converter.

The buck is a great place to get started with switchers, because we all recognize the second order LC lter, the output. V in and the two switches generate a high frequency square wave, and then the inductor and the output capacitor team up to lter, smooth, and average that output voltage. There will always be some ripple, but even a sensitive laser can be operated with a buck if you lter the output properly.

Here, it’s a lot easier to see why that shoot through I talked about on the previous slide is so destructive, both switches being on at the same time which short circuit the input voltage. Now sometimes, you just blow a fuse, but most DC to DC

converters don’t have a fuse, and so the poor switches become unwilling fuses.

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By the way, if you’re designing power electronics and you’re not blowing up parts, then you’re not trying hard enough.

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Power Supply Design Tutorial

Inductor Current

14/4/2018 Power Supply Design Tutorial Inductor Current Look closely at this circuit. All we’ve really done

Look closely at this circuit. All we’ve really done is to rotate that three terminal element. Now, look at V out and V in. If they were reversed, this would be a buck. A boost converter, as the name implies, boosts the output voltage up to a level higher than the input voltage, and it’s nothing more than a buck converter in reverse.

When I rst studied these converters, the buck made perfect sense to me. After all, it’s just a lter square wave. But I struggled with the boost at rst. How could the output voltage go up? Well, the answer lies in the physics of the inductor, which is really the heart of any switching converter. Once you get a current owing in an inductor, it is physically impossible to stop the magnetic eld that accompanies that current instantaneously. A lot of people, papers, textbooks, and EP notes will all say it’s the current that can’t be stopped, but I prefer to think of the magnetic eld.

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Now, we’ll look at the boost converter in all of its glorious detail in a later section of the seminar, but for now, let’s say that the inductor can generate nearly any voltage needed to maintain that continuous magnetic eld, and if we harness that ability, we can produce a higher output voltage than the input.

One nal note. Thanks to connection of the inductor at the input, the average inductor current is the same as the average input current for a boost converter.

The Inverting Buck-boost Converter

for a boost converter. The Inverting Buck-boost Converter One more turn of the three terminal element

One more turn of the three terminal element gives us the nal basic DC to DC converter topology, the inverting buck-boost converter. I had a wonderful professor at university who taught the introduction to power electronics course, and he put a lot of enthusiasm into the name. He always said, “Buck-boost!”

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What do I mean by inverting? Well, this is another case where I think many textbooks and EP notes are not speci c enough. There are many topologies of buck-boost, because when you use just those two words, it simply means a converter whose output voltage can be either above or below the value of the input voltage.

And this converter also inverts the polarity of the output voltage with respect to ground. In fact, you can see that I drew the polar output capacitor to show this. This is a great secret to use if you want to power some bipolar op amps and need minus 5 volts or minus 15 volts.

Now, to be clear, it’s the absolute value of the output voltage that can be greater or less than the absolute value of the input voltage in this circuit. Once again, let’s take a look at where the inductor connects. Average inductor current is different from both the average input current and different from the average output current for inverting buck-boost converters.

Inductor Current

for inverting buck-boost converters. Inductor Current We use cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to

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Looking in more detail at the heart of our basic switching converters, they all operate on the same basic principle. During the rst portion of a cycle of length T, we use those switches to apply a given voltage across the inductor. This causes a current to ow. When the voltage applied is constant, the induced current increases linearly.

After a time period, t on, equal to duty cycle D multiplied by period T has elapsed, the switches change, and a voltage of opposing polarity is applied across the inductor. Now, this is not necessarily a negative voltage with respect to ground, just negative with respect to the voltage applied during the rst portion of the cycle. There’s a balance, a so called volt second balance, meaning that the product of the voltage applied and the length of time it’s applied during the rst portion of the cycle must be equal to the product of the voltage and the length of time applied during the second portion of the cycle. If those aren’t equal, then one of two things will happen. The converter output goes to zero or poof, the output tries to go to in nity.

As another old colleague of mine from NSC used to say, “You let the magic smoke out.”

A Real Picture of Inductor I and V

the magic smoke out.” A Real Picture of Inductor I and V We use cookies to

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As good as my introductory class on power electronics was, we never looked at any actual waveforms. Now, I also admit that I just got a new differential voltage probe, and there’s nothing like a new toy to inspire.

Here we have a genuine buck converter, operating from an input of 12 volts, delivering an output of ve volts, and delivering an output current of ve amps. Channel one in yellow is the differential voltage across the inductor as shown in this schematic, and channel two in blue is the voltage at the switching node. That’s the black dot, remember, where those three parts of the three terminal element connect with respect to ground. And then nally, channel four in green is the inductor current.

The differential probe let me measure both the ground reference voltage with a standard probe and a oating voltage at the same time, something that’s otherwise impossible. Here’s the actual circuit, showing where we measured the different voltages and currents, and nally, a photograph of the actual setup itself. Seeing is believing.

Next Up: Section 1-2 – Three Basic Switching Topologies

In Section 1.2, I’ll dig into more detail with the three basic switching topologies, look at more practical switches, explore the differences between continuous and discontinuous conduction modes, and look at derivative and compound topologies, as well. Our rst look at a common AC to DC topology will be with the yback regulator. Finally, I’ll stray as far into marketing territory as I dare to go, explaining a bit about what can be found inside a switching regulator IC package and what is still located outside on the PCB.

That concludes Part 1-1, and I hope you learned something and that you come back to see the next session and future ones, as well. In Part 1-2, we’ll look at each of the three basic DC to DC converters in more detail, and also look at the yback converter and some compound topologies.

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