Education Technology

3 Cool Ways to Use a Buck Converter

Buck Converter

Buck Converter

The buck converter is a DC-DC converter that is used in the efficient conversion of high voltages to low voltages, helping to reduce heat, extend battery life and enable the building of smaller gadgets. Buck converters are able to reduce a DC voltage from input to output. Also, they can also be of use in situations where electrical isolation is not a requirement between the output and the switching circuit.

There are a number of cool ways in which a buck converter can be used.

1 POL Converter for Laptops and PCs

A POL (Point of Load converter) is the name given to a non-isolated buck converter that is able to drive power in a very efficient manner to high current loads. This is something that can be of particular useful in regards to the motherboards of both PCs and laptop computers. Very low voltage, usually 1.8V, is used to run the great majority of modern microprocessors and a synchronous buck, occasionally known as multiphase, can be utilised for this purpose.

The POL is frequently referred to as a Voltage Regulator Module (VRM) within the specs of the motherboard.

2 Quadcopters

Buck converters are made use of in quadcopters, which are frequently powered via a multi-cell lithium battery pack. Standard pack configurations range from two to six cells in a series and produce a voltage that ranges between 6V-25V. The buck converter is able to reduce the voltage down to either 5V or 3.3V for the quadcopter’s brain, the flight controller, to be able to utilise.

BEC is the name given to buck converters by the quadcopter industry, which stands for battery elimination circuit. They are also sometimes referred to as UBEC, which stands for universal battery elimination circuit. They can be both frequently found on electronic speed controllers that are responsible for driving a quadcopter’s brushless motors, and on power distribution boards that route the battery power to wherever it is required.

3 Solar Chargers

The raison d’être of a buck converter is to convert a higher voltage to a lower one in as efficient a manner as possible. There are a number of different products that have been designed to be able to use a solar panel that has a higher voltage to charge up a battery.

A solar charger is most often a buck converter that comes with a microcontroller control and another exclusive feature known as maximum power point tracking. Solar cells feature non-linear current-voltage curves. The microcontroller is there to instruct the buck converter to extract the maximum power amount available by varying the load current in order to charge up the battery as quickly as possible.

There are a number of buck converters that come with built-in lithium battery charger smarts and maximum power point tracking.

Buck converters can also be used in a wide variety of other cool ways, including USB “On The Go”, battery chargers, power audio amplifiers and both brushed and brushless motor controllers. For a full range of useful buck convertors check out this quality range, or a variety of other online retailers.