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Power components

Evaluating a DC to DC converter in the lab

March 09, 2012 | Frederik Dostal | 222904246
Frederik Dostal, Power Business Technical Manager for Europe at Analog Devices outlines some of the most important procedures required when evaluating a switch mode power supply circuit in the lab.
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Switch mode power supplies are used in most electronic systems. Especially in applications where linear voltage regulators were used, switching power supplies offer the advantage of higher power efficiency. Evaluating a switch mode power supply circuit in the lab requires some special knowledge. Though measuring output ripple voltage, conversion efficiency, inductor current and loop stability seem straight forward, not applying the correct procedures will yield useless measurement results. In this article some of the most important procedures are introduced.

A good setup

The most important part of the evaluation is a decent test setup. Figure 1 shows a poor setup and Figure 2 shows an optimized setup. The difference is the length and the geometry of the cables. In Figure 3 we see the device under test in the middle and on the left some power source, usually a lab power supply and on the right we see the load. This load can be a passive resistive load, a reactive load such as a capacitor or Inductor or it can be an electronic load.

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