Switch-Mode Voltage Regulator

Posted on Aug 1, 2012

Switch-mode power supplies offer the benefit of a much greater efficiency than obtainable with a traditional

Switch-Mode Voltage Regulator
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power supply. The switch-mode regulator presented here has an efficiency of around 85%. An input voltage of 12 to 16 Vdc is converted into a direct voltage of exactly 5 V. The use of a MAX638CPA enables the design and construction of the regulator to be kept fairly simple: only nine additional components are needed to complete the circuit. Resistors RI and R2 are used to indicate when the battery voltage becomes low: as soon as the voltage on pin 3 becomes lower than 1.3 V, D1 lights. With values as shown for the potential divider, this corresponds to the supply voltage getting lower than about 6.5 V. The output of the IC is shunted by a simple LC filter formed by LI, C3 and D2. The oscillator on board the IC generates a clock frequency of around 65 kHz and drives the output transistor via two NOR gates. The built-in error detector, the "battery low" indicator or the voltage comparator can block the clock frequency, which causes the transistor to switch off. The IC compares the output voltage of 5 V with a built-in reference (FET). Depending on the load, the FET will be switched on for longer or shorter periods. The maximum current through the FET is 375 mA, which corresponds with a maximum output current of 80 mA.

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