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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Switching Voltage Regulator

The Analog Devices ACP3610 is a voltage doubler that works with a switched-capacitor converter, using the push-pull principle. The switching frequency at the output is approximately 550 kHz. The term ‘push-pull’ refers to the two charge pumps, which work in parallel but in opposite directions in order to deliver the output voltage and current. Whenever one capacitor is supplying current to the output, the other one is being charged. This technique minimizes voltages losses and output ripple. The converter works with input voltages between 3 and 3.6 V. It provides an output voltage of around 6V at a maximum current of 320mA, if 2.2µF switched capacitors with low ESR (equivalent series resistance) are used.
A shut-down input is provided to allow the voltage doubler to be enabled or disabled by a logic-level signal. The IC is enclosed in a special package, which can dissipate up to 980mW at room temperature. The schematic diagram shows a typical application for the ADP3610. Here it works as a non-regulated voltage doubler. In theory, a voltage doubler can provide exactly twice the input voltage at its output, but in practice the combination of internal losses in the electronic switches and the internal resistances of the capacitors always causes the output voltage to be somewhat lower. The output voltage drops from a no-load value of 6 V to 5.4 V with a 320mA load, with a nearly linear characteristic.

A small capacitor is connected across the two supply pins at the input of the IC. It suppresses noise, brief voltage fluctuations, and current peaks when the ADP3610 switches. This capacitor (CIN) must have a low internal resistance (ESR). A larger capacitance value is necessary if long supply leads to the ADP3610 are present. The 1µF output capacitor (CO) is alternately charged by the two capacitors of the charge pump, CP1 and CP2. The internal resistance is an important factor here as well. It largely determines the amount that the voltage drops under load, and the amount of ripple in the output voltage. Ceramic or tantalum capacitors are recommended. The ESR can also be reduced by connecting several smaller-value capacitors in parallel. With small loads, the value of CO may be reduced.

DC/DC Converter From +1.5V To +34V

An interesting DC/DC converter IC is available from Linear Technology. The LT1615 step-up switching voltage regulator can generate an output voltage of up to +34V from a +1.2 to +15V supply, using only a few external components. The tiny 5-pin SOT23 package makes for very compact construction. This IC can for example be used to generate the high voltage needed for an LCD screen, the tuning voltage for a varicap diode and so on. The internal circuit diagram of the LT1615 is shown in Figure 1. It contains a monostable with a pulse time of 400 ns, which determines the off time of the transistor switch.If the voltage sampled at the feedback input drops below the reference threshold level of 1.23 V, the transistor switches on and the current in the coil starts to increase. This builds up energy in the magnetic field of the coil. When the current through the coil reaches 350 mA, the monostable is triggered and switches the transistor off for the following 400 ns. Since the energy stored in the coil must go somewhere, current continues to flow through the coil, but it decreases linearly. This current charges the output capacitor via the Schottky diode (SS24, 40V/2A). As long as the voltage at FB remains higher than 1.23V, nothing else happens.
As soon as it drops below this level, however, the whole cycle is repeated. The hysteresis at the FB input is 8mV. The output voltage can be calculated using the formula Vout = 1.23V (R1+R2) / R2 The value of R1 can be selected in the megohm range, since the current into the FB input is only a few tens of nano-amperes. When the supply voltage is switched on, or if the output is short-circuited, the IC enters the power-up mode. As long as the voltage at FB is less than 0.6V, the LT1615 output current is limited to 250mA instead of 350mA, and the monostable time is increased to 1.5µs.These measures reduce the power dissipation in the coil and diode while the output voltage is rising. In order to minimize the noise voltages produced when the coil is switched, the IC must be properly decoupled by capacitors at the input and output. The series resistance of these capacitors should be as low as possible, so that they can short noise voltages to earth. They should be located as close to the IC as possible, and connected directly to the earth plane. The area of the track at the switch output (SW) should be as small as possible. Connecting a 4.7-µF capacitor across the upper feedback capacitor helps to reduce the level of the output ripple voltage.

Low Power FM Transmitter


This article should satisfy those who might want to build a low power FM transmitter. It is designed to use an input from another sound source (such as a guitar or microphone), and transmits on the commercial FM band - it is actually quite powerful, so make sure that you don't use it to transmit anything sensitive - it could easily be picked up from several hundred metres away. The FM band is 88 to 108MHz, and although it is getting fairly crowded nearly everywhere, you should still be able to find a blank spot on the dial.
NOTE: A few people have had trouble with this circuit. The biggest problem is not knowing if it is even oscillating, since the frequency is outside the range of most simple oscilloscopes. See Project 74 for a simple RF probe that will (or should) tell you that you have a useful signal at the antenna. If so, then you know it oscillates, and just have to find out at what frequency. This may require the use of an RF frequency counter if you just cannot locate the FM band.
The circuit of the transmitter is shown in Figure 1, and as you can see it is quite simple. The first stage is the oscillator, and is tuned with the variable capacitor. Select an unused frequency, and carefully adjust C3 until the background noise stops (you have to disable the FM receiver's mute circuit to hear this).

One Transistor Radio

                                                              Here is a simple circuit for a one transistor Audion type radio powered by a 1.5 V battery. It employs a set of standard low-impedance headphones with the headphone socket wired so that the two sides are connected in series thus giving an impedance of 64 Ω. The supply to the circuit also passes through the headphones so that unplugging the headphones turns off the supply. Using an Audion configuration means that the single transistor performs both demodulation and amplification of the signal.The sensitivity of this receiver is such that a 2 m length of wire is all that is needed as an antenna. The tap on the antenna coil is at 1/5th of the total winding on the ferrite rod. For details of the antenna coil see the article Diode Radio for Low Impedance Headphones. This circuit is suitable for reception of all AM