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DC-DC Converters

Written by Jeff Child

Vendors of DC-DC converters continue to evolve their product offerings as demand ramps up for higher power density, high efficiency and wider voltage ranges. Today’s devices are serving applications such as industrial control, medical equipment and both hybrid- and full-electric vehicles.

  • DC-DC converters

  • DC-DC converters

  • Hybrid vehicles

  • Electric vehicles

  • Battery charging

Nothing is simple in the product category of DC-DC converters. Product manufacturers are under pressure to deliverer new levels of power density, wider voltage ranges and advanced filtering. All that while at the same time developing ever more compact and integrated solutions. To keep pace, DC-DC converter vendors are churning out more efficient products at the component and brick level in a variety of packaging and format options.

The product gallery on the next couple of pages show representative examples of DC-DC converters released within the past 12 months. Shown are a mix of products in several sizes, formats and voltage configurations. DC-DC converters play a critical role in wide variety of applications including industrial control, railway systems, automotive systems, medical equipment and telecom systems.

In particular, electric vehicles—both hybrid and full electric—are facing new demands as power delivery demands become more complex. Even traditional gasoline-fuel vehicles are facing new electrification demands as more automated and infotainment features are designed into new car designs. According to Vicor, the addition of higher voltage batteries—such as 48V, 400V and 800V—to meet the increased power requirements has, in turn, increased the complexity of power delivery architectures. This places new demands on the size and weight of the vehicle’s power converters and regulators for battery charging, power conversion and power delivery.

FIGURE 1
In full electric, hybrid electric and even traditional gas-fueled vehicles, new 48V-based power delivery networks need to support legacy 12V loads with increased power requirements and new drive, steer and brake-by-wire high power systems.

Figure 1 illustrates the power delivery segment in particular. Vicor says new 48V based power delivery networks need to support legacy 12V loads with increased power requirements and new drive, steer and brake-by-wire high power systems. Providing increased power at 48V with a growing number of loads requires high-density modules versus larger and bulkier discrete solutions. For its part, Vicor offers several modules for power delivery from 48V. These devices include fixed ratio and regulated converter solutions that support both 48V and 12V loads. The company’s DCM and PRM modules provide 48V to 12V and 48V to 48V regulated outputs, respectively. 


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Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar | Website | + posts

Jeff Child has more than 28 years of experience in the technology magazine business—including editing and writing technical content, and engaging in all aspects of magazine leadership and production. He joined the Circuit Cellar after serving as Editor-in-Chief of COTS Journal for over 10 years. Over his career Jeff held senior editorial positions at several of leading electronic engineering publications, including EE Times and Electronic Design and RTC Magazine. Before entering the world of technology journalism, Jeff worked as a design engineer in the data acquisition market.

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DC-DC Converters

by Jeff Child time to read: 2 min