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. 786-2394
Mfr. Part No.LM2596DSADJG
R 49.024
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller 1.23 V 4.5 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK Yes -
RS stock no. 121-6368
Mfr. Part No.LM2596DSADJG
R 42.494
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller 1.23 V 4.5 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK Yes -
RS stock no. 786-2381
Mfr. Part No.LM2576TV-5G
R 32.666
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
3A 5 V Buck Controller - - 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS stock no. 121-6365
Mfr. Part No.LM2576TV-5G
R 27.971
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 5 V Buck Controller - - 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS stock no. 922-8301
Mfr. Part No.AP5100WG-7
R 7.177
Each (On a Reel of 3000)
units
1.2A 15 V Buck Controller 0.81 V 4.75 V 24 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 3 SOT-26 - -
RS stock no. 751-3005
Mfr. Part No.AP5100WG-7
R 10.91
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
1.2A 15 V Buck Controller 0.81 V 4.75 V 24 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 3 SOT-26 - -
RS stock no. 922-8282
Mfr. Part No.AP1509-50SG-13
R 9.27
Each (On a Reel of 2500)
units
2A 5 V Buck Controller - 4.5 V 22 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 8 SOP Yes -
RS stock no. 751-2923
Mfr. Part No.AP1509-50SG-13
R 21.896
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
2A 5 V Buck Controller - 4.5 V 22 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 8 SOP Yes -
RS stock no. 146-5626
Mfr. Part No.LNK304PN
R 13.00
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
170mA 700 V Boost, Buck, Flyback -0.3 V 85 V ac 265 V ac Fixed Through Hole - 1 7 DIPB - -
RS stock no. 398-495
Mfr. Part No.TS2596CM5 RNG
R 19.998
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller 1.23 V - 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 6 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS stock no. 169-8938
Mfr. Part No.TS2596CM5 RNG
R 18.492
Each (On a Reel of 800)
units
3A 37 V Buck Controller 1.23 V - 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 6 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS stock no. 102-3574
Mfr. Part No.L5973D
R 26.785
Each (In a Tube of 100)
units
2A 35 V Buck Controller 1.235 V 4 V 36 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 HSOP Yes 10 mV
RS stock no. 380-034
Mfr. Part No.L5973D
R 58.416
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
2A 35 V Buck Controller 1.235 V 4 V 36 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 8 HSOP Yes 10 mV
RS stock no. 805-1321
Mfr. Part No.LM2576T-15G
R 27.794
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
3A 37 V Step Down 1.23 V - 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS stock no. 162-8882
Mfr. Part No.LM2576T-15G
R 30.495
Each (In a Tube of 50)
units
3A 37 V Step Down 1.23 V - 40 V Fixed Through Hole - 1 5 TO-220 Yes -
RS stock no. 460-487
Mfr. Part No.LM2576HVS-ADJ/NOPB
R 179.99
Each
units
3A 57 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 60 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS stock no. 923-2534
Mfr. Part No.LM2576HVS-ADJ/NOPB
R 94.719
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
3A 57 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 60 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS stock no. 533-3692
Mfr. Part No.LM2596S-5.0/NOPB
R 142.79
Each
units
3A - Buck Controller, Inverting - 4.5 V 40 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS stock no. 920-3586
Mfr. Part No.LM2596S-5.0/NOPB
R 81.773
Each (In a Tube of 45)
units
3A - Buck Controller, Inverting - 4.5 V 40 V Fixed Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -
RS stock no. 460-506
Mfr. Part No.LM2575S-ADJ/NOPB
R 58.676
Each (In a Pack of 5)
units
1A 37 V Buck Controller, Inverting 1.23 V 4 V 40 V Adjustable Surface Mount - 1 5 D2PAK (TO-263) Yes -