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. 825-6810
Mfr. Part No.TPS54160DGQR
MYR11.848
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
500mA 58 V - 0.8 V 3.5 V 60 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 10 MSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 698-9081
Mfr. Part No.TPS54160DGQ
MYR13.81
Each
units
1.5A - Buck Controller - 3.5 V 60 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 10 MSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 533-5216
Mfr. Part No.LM2678S-12/NOPB
MYR23.67
Each
units
5A - Buck Controller - 8 V 40 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 7 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS Stock No. 660-6086
Mfr. Part No.LM22676MR-ADJ/NOPB
MYR20.46
Each
units
3A - Buck Controller 1.258 V 4.5 V 42 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 PSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 177-3614
Mfr. Part No.L4962/A
MYR14.33
Each
units
- 40 V Buck Controller 5.1 V 9 V 46 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 16 PDIP Yes 50 mV
RS Stock No. 121-6363
Mfr. Part No.LM2576D2T-ADJG
MYR7.98
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller 1.23 V - 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK Yes -
RS Stock No. 121-8688
Mfr. Part No.LM2678S-12/NOPB
MYR22.522
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
5A - Buck Controller - 8 V 40 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 7 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS Stock No. 545-7108
Mfr. Part No.LTC1435ACS#PBF
MYR42.15
Each
units
- - - - - - - Surface Mount - - 16 SOIC - -
RS Stock No. 146-5633
Mfr. Part No.LNK305PN
MYR3.67
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
280mA 700 V Boost, Buck, Flyback -0.3 V 85 V ac 265 V ac Fixed Through Hole - 1 7 DIPB - -
RS Stock No. 168-5905
Mfr. Part No.L4960
MYR12.669
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
- 40 V Buck Controller 5.1 V 9 V 46 V Adjustable Through Hole - 1 7 HEPTAWATT V Yes 50 mV
RS Stock No. 533-5288
Mfr. Part No.LM2678T-5.0/NOPB
MYR23.80
Each
units
5A - Buck Controller - 8 V 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 7 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 686-8464
Mfr. Part No.VIPER16LN
MYR3.752
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
- - - - - - - Through Hole - - 7 PDIP - -
RS Stock No. 823-9293
Mfr. Part No.LM46002PWPT
MYR20.29
Each (In a Pack of 2)
units
2A 28 V Step Down 1 V 3.5 V 60 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 16 HTSSOP Yes -
RS Stock No. 506-0394
Mfr. Part No.LT1765ES8#PBF
MYR46.75
Each
units
3A - Buck Controller - 3 V 25 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 SOIC Yes -
RS Stock No. 920-3504
Mfr. Part No.LM2576HVT-5.0/NOPB
MYR21.314
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
3A - Buck Controller, Inverting - 4 V 60 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS Stock No. 100-3944
Mfr. Part No.LM2678S-5.0/NOPB
MYR21.47
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
5A - Buck Controller - 8 V 40 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 7 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS Stock No. 163-0438
Mfr. Part No.LM2576D2T-005G
MYR8.06
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 5.25 V Buck Controller 4.75 V 8 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK Yes -
RS Stock No. 533-5244
Mfr. Part No.LM2678S-5.0/NOPB
MYR25.62
Each
units
5A - Buck Controller - 8 V 40 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 7 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS Stock No. 533-8013
Mfr. Part No.LM2574N-5.0/NOPB
MYR10.75
Each
units
500mA - Buck Controller, Inverting - 4 V 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 8 MDIP Yes -
RS Stock No. 751-2929
Mfr. Part No.AP1509-33SG-13
MYR5.882
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
2A 3.3 V Buck Controller - 4.5 V 22 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 8 SOP Yes -