This powerful step-up/step-down regulator efficiently produces a fixed 12 V output from input voltages between 3 V and 30 V while allowing a typical output current of up to 2 A when the input voltage is close to the output voltage and offering typical efficiencies of 80% to 90%. Its ability to convert both higher and lower input voltages makes it useful for applications where the power supply voltage can vary greatly, as with batteries that start above but discharge below the regulated voltage.
These step-up/step-down regulators take an input voltage from 3 V to 30 V and increase or decrease it as necessary to produce a fixed 5 V, 6 V, 9 V, 12 V, or 24 V output, depending on the version. They are switching regulators (also called switched-mode power supplies (SMPS) or DC-to-DC converters) with a single-ended primary-inductor converter (SEPIC) topology, and they have a typical efficiency between 80% and 90%. The available output current is a function of the input voltage, output voltage, and efficiency (see the Typical Efficiency and Output Current section below), but it will be around 2 A when the input voltage is close to the output voltage.
The flexibility in input voltage offered by these regulators is especially well-suited for battery-powered applications in which the battery voltage begins above the desired output voltage and drops below the target as the battery discharges. Without the typical restriction on the battery voltage staying above the required voltage throughout its life, new battery packs and form factors can be considered. For example:
- A 4-cell battery holder, which might have a 6 V output with fresh alkalines or a 4.0 V output with partially discharged NiMH cells, can be used with the 5V version of this regulator to power a 5 V circuit.
- A disposable 9 V battery powering a 5V circuit can be discharged to under 3 V instead of cutting out at 6 V, as with typical linear or step-down regulators.
- The 6V version of this regulator can be used to enable a wide range of power supply options for a hobby servo project.
The no-load quiescent current will typically be around 1 mA for most combinations of input and output voltages, though the combination of a very high output voltage and a very low input voltage (e.g. when boosting from 3 V in to 30 V out) can result in quiescent currents on the order of a few dozen milliamps.
The ENABLE pin can be used to put the board in a low-power state that reduces the quiescent current to between 10 and 20 µA per volt on VIN (e.g. approximately 30 µA with 3 V in and 500 µA with 30 V in).
This regulator has built-in reverse-voltage protection, over-current protection, thermal shutdown (which typically activates at 165°C), and an under-voltage lockout that causes the regulator to turn off when the input voltage is below 2.5 V (typical).
More detailed information at Pololu.