What is a DC/DC converter?

As its name implies, a DC/DC converter converts one DC voltage to another.

The operating voltage of different electronic devices such as ICs can vary over a wide range, making it necessary to provide a voltage for each device.

A Buck Converter outputs a lower voltage than the original voltage, while a Boost Converter supplies a higher voltage.

Linear or Switching Regulators

DC/DC converters are also referred to as linear or switching regulators, depending on the method used for conversion.

Method and Device Comparison
Device for converting to a lower voltage
Buck or Step-Down converter
Device for converting to a higher voltage
Boost or Step-Up Converter
Device capable of converting to a higher or lower voltage
Boost-Buck Converter
Device for supplying a negative voltage
Negative Voltage or Inverting Converter

AC vs. DC

What is AC?

Short for Alternating Current, AC refers to current that changes in magnitude and polarity (orientation) with time.

It is often expressed in Hertz (Hz), the SI unit of frequency, which is the number of oscillations per second.

What is AC?

What is DC?

DC, which stands for Direct Current, is characterized by current that does not change in polarity over time.

What is DC? 1

However, there are small changes in magnitude that are also DC, called ripple current.

What is DC? 2

Electrical appliances that plug into an outlet require an AC/DC converter to convert from AC to DC.

This is because most semiconductor devices can operate only using DC.

ICs and other components mounted on substrates used in sets feature specific operating voltage ranges that require different voltage accuracies.

Unstable or improper voltage supplies can lead to characteristics degradation and even malfunction.

To prevent this, a DC/DC converter is needed to convert and stabilize the voltage.

Reasons for needing a DC/DC converter

A device that stabilizes the voltage using a DC/DC converter is referred to as a voltage regulator.