Buck Converters

A Buck Converter, also known as a Step-Down Converter, is a DC-to-DC power converter which steps down the voltage from its input to its output. A buck converter integrates the core components and circuitry needed into a single device.

Buck converters are found in countless electronic applications, where their power regulation properties are a vital component.

How does a Buck Converter work?

A Buck Converter is a type of switch-mode power supply, a class of device that incorporates a switch (e.g. typically a MOSFET) to rapidly turn the circuit on and off. This rapid switching creates a square wave. If the duty cycle of the switch is set to 50%, i.e. the switch is on 50% of the time, the average voltage will be 50% of the input.

The square wave needs to be smoothed to provide useful power, typically an inductor and capacitor are used in series to fulfil this function. This combination is called an LC low pass filter. The properties of an inductor smooth the current flow, while the capacitor resists sudden changes in voltage. The combined effect produces a relatively smooth voltage output with low ripple. For example, if the input voltage is 10V and the switch employs a duty cycle of 50%, the output voltage will be 5V.

A further necessary component of a Buck Converter is to incorporate a diode or other switch in parallel with the inductor. This is to compensate for the property of an inductor, in that the current in an inductor cannot instantly change, protecting the switching transistor from being overloaded and destroyed.

Buck Converters also incorporate additional circuitry to ensure a stable output voltage. The converter uses a closed-loop control scheme with negative feedback to monitor the voltage output and dynamically adjusts the duty cycle of the switch to regulate the output voltage.

Design considerations

  • Buck Converters are very efficient, with some devices offering efficiencies of above 95%
  • Buck Converters can be more cost-effective than linear regulators at higher power levels, the cost of removing the heat generated by a linear regulator may be less than employing a Buck Converter
  • The output of a Buck Converter will feature a noise, meaning the more stable output of a linear voltage regulator is better suited for application requiring low output noise
  • Linear regulators can respond faster to input and output changes versus a buck converter

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Description Price Maximum Output Current Maximum Output Voltage Regulator Function Minimum Output Voltage Minimum Input Voltage Maximum Input Voltage Output Type Mounting Type Series Number of Outputs Pin Count Package Type Switching Regulator Line Regulation
RS Stock No. 146-5618
Mfr. Part No.LNK302PN
MYR2.77
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
80mA 700 V Boost, Buck, Flyback -0.3 V 85 V ac 265 V ac Fixed Through Hole - 1 7 DIPB - -
RS Stock No. 911-3108
Mfr. Part No.LM2575-5.0WT
BrandMicrochip
MYR7.876
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
1A 5.25 V Step Down 4.75 V 4 V 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 162-5052
Mfr. Part No.LM22676MRE-ADJ/NOPB
MYR14.157
Each (On a Reel of 250)
units
3A - Buck Controller 1.258 V 4.5 V 42 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 PSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 533-3759
Mfr. Part No.LM2596T-ADJ/NOPB
MYR20.08
Each
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.2 V 4.5 V 40 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 146-0324
Mfr. Part No.MIC4576WT
BrandMicrochip
MYR10.771
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 33 V Buck Regulator 1.23 V 4 V 36 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 101-8273
Mfr. Part No.LM2576T-005G
MYR6.887
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 5.25 V Buck Controller, Inverting 4.75 V 7 V 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 162-8803
Mfr. Part No.TPS62110RSAR
MYR6.95
Each (On a Reel of 3000)
units
1.5A 16 V Buck 1.2 V 3.1 V 17 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 16 QFN - -
RS Stock No. 463-458
Mfr. Part No.LM2576T-005G
MYR9.16
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
3A 5.25 V Buck Controller, Inverting 4.75 V 7 V 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 533-3232
Mfr. Part No.LM2576S-ADJ/NOPB
MYR13.59
Each
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 6 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS Stock No. 127-0660
Mfr. Part No.L296P
MYR28.17
Each
units
4A 40 V Buck Controller 5.1 V 9 V 46 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 15 MULTIWATT V Yes 50 mV
RS Stock No. 121-6369
Mfr. Part No.LM2596DSADJR4G
MYR5.013
Each (On a Reel of 800)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller 1.23 V 4.5 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK Yes -
RS Stock No. 288-998
Mfr. Part No.LM5575MH/NOPB
MYR24.95
Each
units
1.5A - Buck Controller, Inverting - 6 V 75 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 16 TSSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 660-6099
Mfr. Part No.LM22676MRE-ADJ/NOPB
MYR19.71
Each
units
3A - Buck Controller 1.258 V 4.5 V 42 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 PSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 460-487
Mfr. Part No.LM2576HVS-ADJ/NOPB
MYR26.81
Each
units
3A 57 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 60 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS Stock No. 920-3508
Mfr. Part No.LM2576HVT-ADJ/NOPB
MYR23.93
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
3A 57 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 60 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 533-3181
Mfr. Part No.LM2576HVT-ADJ/NOPB
MYR26.92
Each
units
3A 57 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 60 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 825-6882
Mfr. Part No.TPS62110RSAR
MYR9.53
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
1.5A 16 V Buck 1.2 V 3.1 V 17 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 16 QFN - -
RS Stock No. 911-3010
Mfr. Part No.MIC4576WT
BrandMicrochip
MYR13.35
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
3A 33 V Buck Regulator 1.23 V 4 V 36 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 651-5182
Mfr. Part No.LM2597M-ADJ/NOPB
MYR19.51
Each
units
500mA 37 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.2 V 4.5 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 SOIC Yes -
RS Stock No. 920-3514
Mfr. Part No.LM2576S-ADJ/NOPB
MYR11.54
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -