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Frequently Asked Questions About DC-DC Converters
DumTux 27 January 2023

Frequently Asked Questions About DC-DC Converters

What is a DC-DC converter?

A DC-DC converter is a device that converts direct current (DC) from one voltage level to another. It is used to adjust the voltage level of a power source to match the voltage level required by a load. DC-DC converters are commonly used in a wide range of applications, including in automobiles, portable electronics, and renewable energy systems. They can also be used to isolate or galvanically separate different sections of an electrical system.

Can I use only one output of dual-out DC-DC converter?

It depends on the specific DC-DC converter you are using. Some dual-output DC-DC converters are designed to be used with both outputs connected and active at all times, while others are designed to allow one of the outputs to be used independently of the other.

For example, if a dual-output DC-DC converter is designed as a “tracking” converter, it will have both outputs connected and active at all times, and the outputs will be closely regulated to track each other. In this case, it’s not recommended to use only one output.

On the other hand, if a dual-output DC-DC converter is designed as a “split” converter, it’s typically possible to use only one output independently of the other, with the other output left open or connected to a suitable load.

It’s important to check the datasheet of the specific DC-DC converter you are using for more information on how it is designed and how it can be used. It’s also recommended to check the load requirements and voltage levels of the device you want to use it with, and make sure that the DC-DC converter you’re using can supply the appropriate voltage and current for the load.

What type of DC-DC converter is emitting less noise?

There are several types of DC-DC converters that can be designed to minimize or reduce noise emissions, including:

  • Switching regulators: These types of DC-DC converters use high-frequency switching to convert DC power, and are generally considered to be more efficient than linear regulators. Switching regulators can also be designed with advanced noise-reduction techniques, such as spread-spectrum modulation, to reduce the amount of electromagnetic interference (EMI) they generate.
  • Linear regulators: Linear regulators use a series pass element to control the output voltage, these types of regulators are not as efficient as switching regulators but they tend to emit less noise than switching regulators.
  • LDO (Low Drop-Out) regulators: These types of linear regulators have a low input-output voltage difference, they can be designed to minimize noise emissions and they are commonly used in applications that require low voltage and low noise.
  • PLL (Phase-Locked Loop) converters: These types of DC-DC converters use a feedback loop to lock the phase of the output signal to the phase of the input signal, which can reduce the amount of noise generated by the converter.

It’s worth noting that in addition to the type of DC-DC converter, the design and layout of the converter circuit, the quality of the components used, and the operating environment can all have an impact on the amount of noise that a converter generates.

What are some best manufacturers for DC-DC modules?

There are many manufacturers of DC-DC converters, and the best one for a particular application will depend on a variety of factors such as the specific requirements of the application, the operating environment, and the price point. Some well-known manufacturers of DC-DC converters include:

  • Texas Instruments
  • Vicor
  • Murata
  • SynQor
  • Cincon
  • TDK-Lambda
  • Bel Power Solutions
  • XP Power
  • Mean Well
  • CUI Inc

It’s worth noting that these companies offer a variety of options for different power needs and industries. Some of them are specialized in higher power options and some in more compact or low power options. It’s also recommended to check their certifications and quality standards that they comply with, to ensure they meet specific safety, performance and environmental requirements.

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