DC-DC Converters Aim for Efficiency

With the growing importance of power consumption in today's devices, dc-dc converters primarily strive for efficiency, with new technologies playing a role to achieve that goal.

Efficiency is an important dc-dc converter characteristic, particularly for virtually every battery-based or embedded system. It impacts the thermal and electrical losses in the system, as well as the cooling required. Also, it affects the physical package sizes of both the power supply and the entire system. Plus, it has a direct effect on the system's operating temperatures and reliability. These factors contribute to the total system cost, both in hardware and field support.


Battery-based dc-dc converter efficiency determines battery life and run time. These converters must be small and lightweight as well as efficient, so they usually employ analog techniques. This will probably continue because of size and cost limitations. Most handheld battery-based systems have a built-in dc-dc converter integrated with other circuits .


The Texas Instruments TPS8267x is a complete dc-dc converter for low-power applications. Housed in a compact, low-profile ball-grid array (BGA) package, it suits automated assembly. Its IC-like package includes the switching regulator, inductor, and I/O capacitors, so it doesn't require any additional components.

The TPS8267x is a synchronous, step-down converter that works with a 2.3- to 4.8-V input. Operating at 5.5 MHz, it can provide up to 600-mA output and has good load and line-transient response. Its ~17-μA quiescent current helps maintain high efficiency at light load while preserving a fast transient response for applications that require tight output regulation. . . .