DC-DC Converters – It’s Not Your Father’s Input Voltage Anymore!


Advances in multi levels of technology to gather and use new voltage sources are now in the mainstream of design; for example, solar, wind turbines, and AC inputs of the hi power industrial use also include 480 VAC that can be converted to approximately 680 VDC. Also, the great technical leaps in our battery industry, specifically power and reliability, are seeing more and more opportunities in our newest designs.  Utilizing these new input voltages often requires challenging design criteria, such as selecting proper components to handle these higher voltages safely while maintaining a small form factor.  These new discrete modules regulate the normally wide input voltages to a stable input range that can then be used to reduce it to the regulated working output voltages your circuit needs.  These challenges are being addressed in the new DC-DC designs.


Pico is addressing these new requirements with three new offerings, with input voltage ranges up to 900 VDC.  These three new series of modules come in quarter, half, and full brick mechanical packages and offer output power up to 300 watts. They are great for use as a discrete component or for use as a board level rail source that offers lower fixed voltages for your boards to use.

The HiQP series, with an input range of 125 VDC up to 475 VDC, is available with output voltage regulation and isolated output voltages from 5 VDC up to 200 VDC with a maximum power rating of 50 watts, in a quarter brick design. 

Joining the HiQP is the DC1, with an input range of 120-370 VDC in a full brick package with power up to 300 watts and regulated isolated output voltages from 5 VDC up to 300 VDC.  The 16 standard and regulated output voltages are current limited, have built in over temperature shutdown, and operate at a fixed frequency of 100 Khz.

Complementing these products is the 50-watt half brick package, Pico’s DC3 series.  With an input voltage range of 300-900 VDC, regulated, isolated outputs from 3.3 VDC to 300 VDC, and short circuit protection, the DC3 series combines the best of all worlds plus, the best wide input voltage range and output voltages from 3.3 to 300 VDC.

All three series are available with optional expanded operating temperature, -55 to +85 C, and selected Mil Standard 883 environmental screening.  Pico will also

review the specifications or requirements with which you might have to comply.  All these modules are fully encapsulated for use in those rugged, critical applications where reliability and size constraints are required to optimize your designs.

These new types of DC voltage sources continue to evolve and improve, and the new battery technologies are pushing the envelope for sustainability and power density.  Solar use in the industrial world and beyond is an everyday occurrence, wind turbine fields fill the landscape and also our oceans.  They will penetrate further into our daily design requirements and the DC-DC converter industry will continue to make advancements in reducing physical size and improving reliability to meet these new design challenges.


It should also be noted that this new criteria is not just limited to the input voltage requirements, More and more, higher output voltages are being required in all fields of endeavor – commercial, industrial, COTS and military – creating need for small, reliable modules.  Designs required by photomultipliers, piezo devices, spectroscopy, capacitor charging, aerospace and military applications are now requiring output voltages up to 10,000 VDC and higher.

The reliability aspect is crucial as the internal stresses required to meet these large voltage increases from low voltage sources that are not just dependent on voltage multipliers.  The transformer design is also crucial and is the core of the long-term reliability that was lacking for many years in the high voltage industry.  Pico’s transformers are manufactured by our own transformer division that is Mil PRF 27 qualified, and have been used extensively in the military, aerospace and hi reliability applications since 1969. 

With ever changing input voltage requirements, output voltage needs, miniaturization, power density, and higher efficiency, the US power supply industry is not just following, but joining you in optimizing your designs for a better tomorrow.


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