This section provides overview, applications, and principles of switching regulators. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 switching regulator manufacturers and their company rankings.
A switching regulator is a DC/DC converter conversion method used as a power supply IC in electronic circuits. It is mainly used in electronic circuits to step up or step down DC voltage, or even to reverse it to a negative voltage.
Two types of conversion methods are used in DC/DC converters: switching regulators and linear regulators. Compared to linear regulators, switching regulators have the advantage of higher conversion efficiency and lower power consumption, resulting in less heat generation problems. However, they have the disadvantage of requiring more external elements, which makes design more difficult.
Switching regulators are used to boost, step-down, or reverse the DC voltage supplied to electronic circuits to a negative voltage and stably supply the voltage to devices. Most semiconductor components used in electronic circuits operate at DC voltages.
Regulators are indispensable because AC voltage supplied from a 100 VAC power source, such as a household power supply, must be converted to DC voltage and then stepped down to a voltage (24 V or 3.3 V) within the operating range of semiconductor components, etc. To increase the conversion efficiency of DC/DC converters and reduce power consumption as much as possible, switching regulators are used. Switching regulator methods are often used to increase the conversion efficiency of DC/DC converters and to reduce power consumption as much as possible.
As the name suggests, switching regulator is a conversion method that uses switch elements to convert voltage by controlling the output ON/OFF. Typical components of a switching regulator are power MOSFETs and Schottky barrier diodes as switching elements.
An inductor (L) and capacitor (C) are used as a smoothing rectifier circuit, and LC is also used for noise filtering applications. Here, the principle of a 24 V input voltage being stepped down to 5 V and output is explained as an example.
First, the switch element is turned on when power is supplied and waits for the output voltage to rise from 0V to 5V. Then, when the output voltage rises to 5V, the switch element is turned off to suppress the output of a voltage greater than 5V. When the switch element is turned off, the voltage drops from 5 V. When the voltage drops below the specified value, the switch element is turned on again to allow the voltage to rise to 5 V.
This ON/OFF operation of the switch element is repeated at high speed, which is the principle of converting the 24V input voltage to 5V and outputting the stepped-down voltage. However, if the voltage converted by turning the switch element ON/OFF is output as it is as described above, the voltage will fluctuate around 5V and a slightly distorted voltage will be output.
To eliminate this distortion, the voltage obtained by the ON/OFF operation is passed through the LC rectifier circuit described above. This allows a stable DC voltage with less distortion to be output.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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