Simplify DC-DC Converter Characterization
Given the increased pressure to develop products that consume less power, design engineers are looking for ways to increase power conversion efficiencies. Thus, numerous measurements are required to characterize the electrical parameters of DC-DC converters. Tests include:
- line regulation,
- load regulation,
- input and output voltage accuracy,
- quiescent current,
- turn-on time,
- ripple, and
- transient response.
Some of these tests require DC test instruments for sourcing input voltage or current and measuring output voltage and current. You also often need an oscilloscope as well. Figure 1 illustrates a typical DC-DC converter test configuration using an SMU (source-measure unit) and an oscilloscope.
The DC-DC Converter
DC-DC converters can product output voltage that are either higher or lower than their inputs voltages. A step-down (buck) converter produces an output voltage lower than the input voltage while a step-up (boost) converter produces an output voltage higher than the input. Ideally, this conversion should be performed with high efficiency to avoid wasting energy.
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