On Track for Performance
It’s a mistake to make your power conversion electronics choices an afterthought in you embedded system designs. The DC-DC converter you choose can have a direct impact on the cooling and mobility of your system.
You can’t point to any one single factor driving the evolution of today’s DC-DC conversion products. As product manufacturers push the limits in power density, voltage range and advanced filtering, they’re also under pressure to provide more compact, integrated solutions. Add on top of that the need to accommodate multi-voltage electronics, operate at wide temperature ranges and serve distributed system requirements, and it’s clear that nothing is simple in this product category.
To keep pace, DC-DC converter vendors have been rolling out more efficient products, while making advances in packaging and trying new partitioning strategies. Improved solutions continue to roll out at the component and brick level in a variety of packaging and format options. For DC-DC converters, the modular form factor, commonly referred to as a brick, continues to be a popular building block approach component for many applications. Usually characterized by high-frequency operation allowing them to achieve their small size, high power density and efficiency, these converters come in thousands of combinations of input voltage, output voltage and power level.
As you can see from the product gallery on the next couple of pages, these representative examples of DC-DC converters include products released within the past 12 months. The gallery shows a mix of products spanning a wide range of sizes, formats and voltage configurations. Some DC-DC supplies offer certifications specifically tailored to specific markets like railway systems or medical devices. Others feature special cooling schemes and wide temperature specs enabling them to be used in harsh environment applications. DC-DC converters play a critical role in wide variety of applications including industrial control, railway systems (Figure 1), solar power equipment, medical equipment, equipment and telecom systems. Railway systems in particular demand a wide range of DC-DC converters to power a variety of safety systems and passenger services. This means DC-DC converters with input voltage ranges that meet multiple EN50155 standards.
PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • NOVEMBER 2021 #376 – Get a PDF of the issue
Quarter-Brick Converters for Railway Designs
The PRQ75W-D from CUI is a 75W high-density, quarter brick isolated DC‑DC converter series. These compact products utilize the latest technology, allowing for a much smaller footprint while maintaining high operating efficiency up to 94%. These converters are additionally designed to meet the latest regulatory requirements for EN 62368-1.
• 75W isolated DC-DC converter
• 4:1 input range
• Single regulated output
• Industry standard quarter brick package
• Remote on/off control
• Efficiency up to 93%
• 62368 safety standards
• Over current, over temperature, over voltage, short circuit
• Size: 61.8mm × 40.2mm × 12.7mm
High Isolation 8KVDC Converters in SMD Package
MINMAX Technology’s MSCEU01-HI series is a range of high performance 1W DC-DC converter within encapsulated SMD-14 packages specifically designed for high isolation applications where reinforced insulation and high working voltage are required. There are 15 models available for input voltages of 5, 12 and 24VDC. The I/O isolation is specified for 8000VDC with reinforced insulation.
• Industrial standard SMD package
• Ultra-high I/O isolation 8000VDC
• Reinforced insulation
• Rated for 480VRMS working voltage
• Operating ambient temp. range -40°C to +95°C
• Short circuit protection
• UL/cUL/IEC/EN 62368-1 safety approvals
• Ripple and noise (20MHz):
2W Bipolar Output SMT DC-DC Converters
Murata’s MGJ2 series of DC-DC converters is well suited for powering “high side” and “low side” gate drive circuits for IGBTs/SiC and MOSFETs in bridge circuits. A choice of asymmetric output voltages allows optimum drive levels for best system efficiency. The MGJ2 series is characterized for high isolation requirements commonly seen in bridge circuits used in motor drives and inverters.
• Optimized bipolar output voltages for IGBT/SiC and MOSFET gate drives
• 5.7kVDC isolation test voltage
“Hi Pot Test”
• Ultra-low isolation capacitance
• Surface mount package style
• 5V, 12V and 15V inputs
• +15V/-9V, +15V/-5V and +20V/-5V outputs
• Operation up to 100°C
• Characterized CMTI >200kV/µS
150W Eighth-Brick Converter Has 6:1 Input
The RPA150E-xxEW from RECOM is a compact, eighth brick encapsulated DC-DC converter which delivers up to 150W. Its wide input voltage range makes it flexible to install on 12, 24 and 48V rails, and it is especially suitable for 12V, 24V or 48V battery supplies. The tightly-regulated, fully-protected output voltage options are 12V, 24V or 48V—all trimmable over a ±20% range.
• 150W industrial grade isolated DC‑DC
• Compact, industry standard 1/8th brick format
• 6:1 input voltage range (9-60 VDC)
• 3kVDC Isolation
• Efficiency up to 92%
• UL62368-1, and IEC/EN62368-1 certified
• Meets EN50155, EN45545-2 and EN50121-3-2
1.4W-3W DC-DC Converters Offer 2,000V Outputs
TDK-Lambda’s CHVM series of non-isolated DC-DC converters feature very compact sizes and have a metal case to provide five-sided shielding for lower ripple and noise. Three package sizes cover power levels from 1.4W to 3W and output voltages of 180V to 2kV. The output can be adjusted from 0.5% to 100% of the rated voltage using either an external voltage or resistance.
• Programmable output voltages (voltage or resistance)
• Operates from a nominal 12V input
• Output voltages of 180V, 300V, 350V, 470V, 1000V, 1500V and 2,000V
• Compact package sizes down to 44mm × 16mm × 30mm
• Five-sided shielding
• Low output ripple and noise
• Certified to IEC/UL/CSA/EN 62368-1 safety standards
High-Voltage DC-DCs Have Fully Adjustable Output Voltage
The HRC05 series from XP Power are 5w regulated high-voltage DC-DC converters that deliver fully adjustable and reliable output voltage up to 6kVDC in a small package. Models in the series provide design engineers working on high voltage integration with a complete set of features as standard in one compact footprint. Highlights include the low line and load regulation (less than 0.01%) and excellent ripple performance (less than 0.01%).
• Output voltages of up to 6kV at 5W
• Miniature, PCB mount package
• Programmable output voltage
• Built-in current limiting
• Stability over time of 0.01% per
• Wide operating temperature range
• Remote On/Off control
• UL61010-1 and UL62368-1 approvals and CE and RoHS compliance
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Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.