DC to DC converters are extremely important in battery-powered electronic devices, suchas MP3 players and laptop computers. Those electronic devices often contain several sub-circuits, each requiring a voltage level different than that supplied by the battery. Evenworse, the voltage of a battery declines as its stored power is drained, so it does notoutput a constant voltage level. DC to DC converters offer a method of generatingmultiple controlled voltages from a single battery voltage, thereby saving space instead of using multiple batteries to supply different parts of the device.A boost converter is simply is a particular type of power converter with an output DCvoltage greater than the input DC voltage. This type of circuit is used to ‘step-up’ asource voltage to a higher, regulated voltage, allowing one power supply to providedifferent driving voltages.
The purpose of this document is for the reader to become familiar with the function andimplementation of a boost converter. A basic design will be discussed along with aspecific application of an integrated circuit (IC) solution.
A boost converter is part of a subset of DC-DC converters called switch-mode converters.The circuits belonging to this class, including buck, flyback, buck-boost, and push-pullconverters are very similar. They generally perform the conversion by applying a DCvoltage across an inductor or transformer for a period of time (usually in the 100 kHz to 5MHz range) which causes current to flow through it and store energy magnetically, thenswitching this voltage off and causing the stored energy to be transferred to the voltageoutput in a controlled manner. The output voltage is regulated by adjusting the ratio of on/off time. As this subset does not use resistive components to dissipate extra power, theefficiencies are seen in the 80-95% range. This is clearly desirable, as it increases therunning time of battery-operated devices.
The basic boost converter circuit consists of only a switch (typically a transistor), adiode, an inductor, and a capacitor. The specific connections are shown in
: Standard layout of a Boost Converter.