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Summary or tutorial about the basics of switch mode power supplies, their design, operation and advantages and disadvantages.
Switch mode power supply tutorial includes: • Switch mode power supply • Switch mode regulator fundamentals • Step down "Buck" converter • Step up "Boost" converter • Buck-Boost converter Switch mode power supplies are widely used because of the advantages they offer in terms of size, weight, cost, efficiency and overall performance. As a result of their performance, switch mode power supplies are used in all but the most exacting applications to provide an efficient and effective source of power for most forms of electronic systems. Switch mode power supplies have become an accepted part of the electronics scene and are often referred to as switch mode power converters, or just switchers.
Switch mode power supply terminology
Switch mode power supply, SMPS, technology may be referred to by a number of similar terms. While they all look at the same basic technology, they refer to different elements of the overall technology:
Switch mode power supply, SMPS: The term switch mode power supply is generally used to indicate an item that can be connected to the mains, or other external supply and used to generate the source power. In other words it is a complete power supply. Switch mode regulator: This typically refers just to the electronic circuit that provides the regulation. A switch mode regulator will be part of the overall switch mode power supply. Switch mode regulator controller: Many switch mode regulator integrated circuits do not contain he series switching element. This will be true if the current or voltage levels are high, because an external series switching element would be able to better handle the higher current and voltage levels, as well as the resultant power dissipation.
Switch mode power supply basics The basic concept behind a switch mode power supply or SMPS is the fact that the regulation is undertaken by using a switching regulator. In this way the voltage on the smoothing or reservoir capacitor is maintained at the required level. This uses a series switching element that turns the current supply to a smoothing capacitor on an off. if it is lower than required. Switch mode power supply advantages / disadvantages The use of any technology is often a careful balance of several advantages and disadvantages. it is turned on. If it is higher than required. the series switching element is turned off. Flexible technology: Switch mode power supply technology can be sued to provide high efficiency voltage conversions in voltage step up or "Boost" applications or step down "Buck" applications. SMPS advantages High efficiency: The switching action means the series regulator element is either on or off and therefore little energy is dissipated as heat and very high efficiency levels can be achieved. Compact: As a result of the high efficiency and low levels of heat dissipation. but also have their drawbacks. Switching regulator concept used in switch mode power supply The time the series element is turned on is controlled by the voltage on the capacitor. The spikes can migrate into all areas of the . This is true for switch mode power supplies which offer some distinct advantages. SMPS Disadvantages Noise: The transient spikes that occur from the switching action on switch mode power supplies are one of the largest problems. the switch mode power supplies can be made more compact.
Switching regulator basics The basis of switch mode regulator revolves around the ability of inductors and capacitors to store energy. To ensure that it performs to the required specification can be more difficult. but where any current is consumed. Despite the disadvantages. external components are typically required. Additionally the spikes or transients can cause electromagnetic or RF interference which can affect other nearby items of electronic equipment. External components: While it is possible to design a switch mode regulator using a single integrated circuit. Expert design required: It is often possible to put together a switch mode power supply that works. particularly if they receive radio signals. but filter components are also needed. The capacitors and inductors are integral elements of the switch mode regulator technology. It can be used on its own or as part of a complete power supply. The most obvious is the reservoir capacitor. For applications where very low noise are required. the series switch will be an external component. . additional filtering may be required and this can add to the cost. Switch Mode Regulator Fundamentals Summary of the fundamentals of how a switch mode regulator works and the fundamentals of its operation. Switch mode regulators come in a variety of forms. Ensuring the ripple and interference levels are maintained can be particularly tricky. In some designs the series switch element may be incorporated within the integrated circuit. The switch mode regulator is the circuit that provides the voltage regulation. and add to the cost. Costs: Careful consideration of the costs of a switch mode power supply must be made before designing or using one. but each one will be able to provide voltage regulation by using a series switching element that charges up a reservoir capacitor when the voltage falls below a predetermined level. Beyond the basic power supply. linear regulator technology is still widely used. These components all require space. circuits that the SMPSs power if the spikes are not properly filtered. A switch mode regulator is at the heart of any switch mode power supply. switch mode power supply technology is the major form of power supply technology used for a whole variety of applications especially those included in computers.
Inductor: : For an inductor. it is not possible for there to be an instantaneous change in current. Instead. the capacitor gradually charges up and the voltage across it rises linearly at a rate equal to I/C where is the applied current and C is the capacitance. In this case the voltage across the capacitor cannot change instantly. Capacitance If a current is applied to a capacitor. the current builds up linearly over time at a rate equal to V/L where V is the applied voltage and L is the inductance. the voltage changes linearly. when a voltage is applied. When an instantaneous change in current occurs. . [This assumes a current source with an infinite voltage capability is used].
If the current flowing through the inductor is suddenly interrupted. these basic concepts can be applied to switch mode regulator solutions to provide a variety scenarios for voltage step up and step down circuits. Capacitor based switch mode regulation . this approach provides much better levels of efficiency than a linear where power is dissipated. Having seen the fundamental or basic concepts behind switching voltages and currents to capacitors and inductors. As the technology uses switching techniques where the series element is on or off. the magnetic field reacts against this and produces a very high "back emf" to counteract the change.Using the standard equations it is possible to determine the current and voltage profiles: The energy from the rising current is stored in the magnetic field associated with the inductor.
To achieve this the proper configuration is obviously required. The inductor can be used to transfer energy from one voltage source to another. this will be sensed by the control circuitry and the series switch will be turned on again to bring the capacitor voltage up to the required level. If an inductor is used. This circuit is not as effective as may be thought at first sight. this is not the only way in which energy is lost because charging a capacitor directly from a voltage source or a capacitor dissipates as much energy as is transferred to the capacitor. current is able to flow into the reservoir capacitor and provide charge. the switch opens and the load will draw current from the capacitor. While a simple resistor can be used as a dropper to drop voltage when transferring from one voltage source at a higher voltage to one at a lower voltage. As the voltage falls. . The use of an inductor has the advantages that energy can be transferred from one source to another regardless of the respective values of voltage and their polarities.The basic concept of the capacitor switched mode regulator is shown in the diagram. then all the energy is transferred. When the voltage on the capacitor is at is required level. As a result of this. Inductor based switch mode regulation It is also possible to use inductors as an element in switch mode regulators. this is very wasteful in terms of power. Although the only resistive element in the theoretical circuit is the load. switching mode regulators cannot use capacitor switching techniques alone. When the switch is closed. assuming a perfect inductor.
Therefore the peak value obtained will be proportional to the time the switches are in this position. Although a resistor would enable voltage to be dropped. the current will continue to flow at a rate i2 which is equal to V2/L. the voltage V1 is applied across the inductor and the current i1 builds up at a rate equal to V1/L. and in applications such as the many battery powered items used today. Step Down Buck Regulator / Converter Summary or tutorial about the circuit and operation of a step down or buck regulator using switch mode power supply techniques. Linear step down The most basic form of step down transition is to use a resistor as a potential divider or voltage dropper. i. step down or "buck" regulators are widely used. In some cases a zener diode may also be used to stabilise the voltage. buck regulators are widely used. As an ideal inductor dissipates no energy. there is no power loss in an ideal system using an inductor in this fashion. it is this method of energy transfer that forms the basis for all switching regulators.When the switches are in the positions shown above. power is lost. With power being a key parameter in many designs. power consumption is a crucial element. . As a result step down switch mode converters or as they are more commonly termed.e. (V1/L) x t When the switches are reversed. As a result.
The circuit for the buck regulator operates by varying the amount of time in which inductor receives energy from the source. Both of these elements result on the loss of valuable energy. . and any current flowing through the zener diode will also dissipate heat. Buck converter operation When the switch in the buck regulator is on. In the basic block diagram the operation of the buck converter or buck regulator can be seen that the output voltage appearing across the load is sensed by the sense / error amplifier and an error voltage is generated that controls the switch. switch and error amplifier with switch control circuitry. the current in the inductor will rise at a rate of (Vin-Vout)/L. Any voltage dropped across the resistor will be dissipated as heat. Using the inductor equations. the switch remaining on of longer as more current is drawn by the load and the voltage tends to drop and often there is a fixed frequency oscillator to drive the switching. diode. Typically the switch is controlled by a pulse width modulator. At this time the diode D is reverse biased and does not conduct. the voltage that appears across the inductor is Vin Vout. capacitor.The issue with this form of voltage dropper or step down converter is that it is very wasteful in terms of power. Basic buck converter or regulator The fundamental circuit for a step down converter or buck converter consists of an inductor.
the polarity of the voltage across the inductor has reversed and therefore the current through the inductor decreases with a slope equal to -Vout/L. The step down. D then forms the return path with a current Idiode equal to Iout flowing through it. The diode. As a result current still flows through the inductor and into the load. current must still flow as the inductor works to keep the same current flowing.When the switch opens. With the switch open. . buck converter circuit can be further explained by examining the current waveforms at different times during the overall cycle.
It is also worth noting that the average input current is less than the average output current. . then power in would equal power out. Assuming a perfect circuit.In the diagram of the current waveforms for the buck converter / switching regulator. especially during and switch transition times. Regulator input and output filtering A key aspect of switch mode power supply regulators is the input and output filtering. but more importantly on an input filter capacitor. It will also be seen that there is a smoothing capacitor placed on the output. It will also be required to smooth any switching spikes that occur. This is to be expected because the buck converter circuit is very efficient and the input voltage is greater than the output voltage. it can be seen that the inductor current is the sum of the diode and input / switch current. efficiency levels greater than 85% are to be expected for a well-designed circuit. This is a particular issue because of the switching that occurs at the input. Current either flows through the switch or the diode. Vin ⋅ In = Vout ⋅ Iout. In reality ripple voltage on the output is dependent not only on the output smoothing.e. This serves to ensure that the voltage does not vary appreciable. While in a real circuit there will be some losses. i.
One of the advantages of switch mode power supply technology is that it can be used to create a step up or boost converter / regulator. In the basic block diagram the operation of the boost converter can be seen that the output voltage appearing across the load is sensed by the sense / error amplifier and an error voltage is generated that controls the switch. Often there are requirements for voltages higher than those provided by the available power supply . . However the circuit topology for the boost converter is slightly different. Boost converters or regulators are used in many instances from providing small supplies where higher voltages may be needed to much higher power requirements.voltages for RF power amplifiers within mobile phones is just one example.Step Up Boost Regulator or Converter Summary or tutorial about the circuit and operation of a step up or boost regulator using switch mode power supply techniques. capacitor. The circuit for the step-up boost converter operates by varying the amount of time in which inductor receives energy from the source. Step-up boost converter basics The boost converter circuit has many similarities to the buck converter. switch and error amplifier with switch control circuitry. diode. The fundamental circuit for a boost converter or step up converter consists of an inductor.
the current waveforms for the different areas of the circuit can be seen as below. . the voltage across the inductor changes and is equal to Vout-Vin. the switch remaining on of longer as more current is drawn by the load and the voltage tends to drop and often there is a fixed frequency oscillator to drive the switching. the inductor output is connected to ground and the voltage Vin is placed across it. Referring to the boost converter circuit diagram. The inductor current increases at a rate equal to Vin/L. When the switch is in the ON position. Current that was flowing in the inductor decays at a rate equal to (VoutVin)/L. When the switch is placed in the OFF position.Typically the boost converter switch is controlled by a pulse width modulator. Boost converter operation The operation of the boost converter is relatively straightforward.
It can be seen from the waveform diagrams that the input current to the boost converter is higher than the output current. and a boost converter. then the input current must be higher than the output current. i. .e. To provide voltages over the complete range a circuit known as a buck-boost converter is required. Vin ⋅ Iin = Vout ⋅ Iout. the power out must equal the power in. only voltages higher than the input. Assuming a perfectly efficient. lossless. boost converter. Buck-Boost Converter or DC-DC Regulator Summary or tutorial about the circuit and operation of a buck-boost converter. A simple buck converter can only produce voltages lower than the input voltage. i. There are many applications where voltages higher and lower than the input are required.e. In reality no boost converter will be lossless. a dc-dc converter able to provide voltages lower or higher than the input voltage. In these situations a buck-boost converter is required. From this it can be seen if the output voltage is higher than the input voltage. but efficiency levels of around 85% and more are achievable in most supplies.
+Vin. There are several formats that can be used for buck-boost converters: +Vin. When the switch in closed. current builds up through the inductor. it as expected it extra components may be required to provide the level of functionality needed. In this circuit. both are closed or open. When the switch is opened the inductor supplies current through the diode to the load. While this may be required or can be accommodated for a limited number of applications. The circuit for this buck boost converter is shown below.Buck-Boost Converter basics The buck-boost DC-DC converter offers a greater level of capability than the buck converter of boost converter individually. -Vout: This configuration of a buck-boost converter circuit uses the same number of components as the simple buck or boost converters. +Vout: The second buck-boost converter circuit allows both input and output to be the same polarity. However this buck-boost regulator or DC-DC converter produces a negative output for a positive input. When the switches . more components are required. However to achieve this. Obviously the polarities (including the diode) within the buck-boost converter can be reversed to provide a positive output voltage from a negative input voltage.e. both switches act together. i. it is not normally the most convenient format.
http://www. D1 and D2. At a suitable point.radio-electronics. The inductor then supplies current to the load through a path incorporating both diodes.php .com/info/power-management/index. the inductor current builds.are open. the switches are opened.
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