Pieces of Pi Issue Two

Pieces of Pi is a new article series that explores the unique aspects of Reliability, Maintainability and Quality of certain forms of design. It is the author’s opinion that reliability and design practices are closely related. The inherent reliability of a product, however it is evaluated, will be governed and limited by the decisions made regarding its design.

Pushing the Limits of DC to DC Converter Duty Cycles

This latest issue of Pieces of Pi is titled “Pushing the Limits of DC to DC Converter Duty Cycles.”

If we look at the past thirty years and the co-evolution of switching DC to DC Converters, batteries, microprocessors and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), this evolution has the intended consequence of creating smaller, more powerful mobile computing devices with longer battery life. The unintended consequence is that many switching power supply topologies are pushed to the edges of their duty cycle limits, away from the more balanced duty cycles near 0.50 and nearer to the limits of operation at zero and one.

This second Pieces of Pi issue will explore this evolution, and will also take an in-depth look at how it has affected common duty cycles that would be encountered by a couple selected DC to DC converter topologies. The discussion will continue with some data sheet constraints for DC to DC Converter controllers and components that should be considered when operating at duty cycles near zero or near one. While only a couple of topologies will be considered, the concept of accounting for duty cycle limits can be generalized to create reliable switching converters in any topology.

This page concerns the second issue. Read the first issue of Pieces of Pi.

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