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Buck Converter Analysis

Rhae Elyxis D. Estanislao#1, Jan Rafael B. Eusebio#2

School of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering, Mapa Institute of Technology
Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila 1002 Philippines
1

lyxis.estanislao@gmail.com

janrafael.eusebio@hotmail.com

Abstract This paper focuses on analysing the basic buck converter

circuit by determining the steady state waveform and looking at how
variations in different properties and components affect steady-state
conditions. The effects of the input voltage, duty cycle, connected load,
and inductance were among those analysed in order to get a better
understanding at how buck converters function.

BC107
Q1
47

Buck converters are useful whenever electrical isolation is not a

requirement between the switching circuit and the output of a
SMPS, but when the input is from a rectified AC source, isolation
may be provided via an isolating transformer. Basically, the buck
converter is a type of DC-DC converter able to take an input
directly from a DC source, or a derived DC voltage from an AC
mains line using a capacitor circuit.
II. BUCK CONVERTER OPERATION
This section focuses on the basic operation of buck converters
and how each component contributes in stepping down the input
voltage to the desired value. The operation of buck converters is
first explained in theory, and then demonstrated using SIMetrix via
circuit analysis.

100u

12
V1

Vo

L1
50m
R3

R1
V2
mbr6045wt
D1

Keywords buck converter, steady-state, input voltage, duty cycle,

I. INTRODUCTION
Often used in switch-mode power supplies (SMPS), a buck
converter is a circuit that steps down or reduces the voltage,
while stepping up, or increasing the current. Usually, the simplest
way to reduce the voltage is to use a linear regulator (such as the
78XX IC series), however, linear regulators tend to waste too much
energy as they dissipate excess power as heat, yielding to very low
efficiency (less than 50%). On the other hand, buck converters can
be highly efficient, especially those in integrated circuits, which
may reach an efficiency of 95% or higher a significant
improvement over linear regulators. This tends to make them the
choice for tasks where the DC output voltage needs to be lower
than the DC input voltage, such as the conversion of the main
voltage of a computer (12-24V) to the voltage needed by internal
components such as the processor (approx. 1V).

VD

C1
200u

6
RL

Fig. 1. Basic Buck Converter Circuit

A Theory
As shown in Fig. 1, the buck converter circuit consists of a
switching transistor (Q1), and a flywheel circuit (comprised of the
diode D1, the inductor L1, and the capacitor C1). Resistors R1 and
R3 are to limit the current, as to not overload the components.
Transistor Q1 has two states: on, and off. While the transistor is on,
current is flowing through the load via inductor L1. Therefore, the
load is being supplied with current. Initially, current flow is
restricted as energy is also being stored in the inductor, and the
charge on C1 builds up gradually during the on period. Because
of this, there will be a large positive voltage on D1s cathode, thus
reverse-biasing the diode and essentially leaving it open-circuited.
When the transistor switches off, the energy stored in L1 is
released back into the circuit. The voltage across the inductor is
then reversed, causing the current to flow around the circuit
through the load and the now forward-biased diode. When the
energy in L1 starts to deplete and the voltage begins to fall, the
charge in C1 becomes the main source of current, keeping the
current flowing through the entire period until the transistor is
turned on once again.
Overall, it has an effect of creating only a ripple waveform, such
as a small amplitude, high frequency triangular wave with a DC
level equal to the input voltage multiplied by the duty cycle,
instead of a large square waveform.

B Software Analysis

The circuit shown in Fig. 1 is simulated in using the SIMetrix

program. V2 is a PWM pulse generator having an amplitude of
15V, with an offset of 7.5V. The switching frequency is 50 kHz and
the duty cycle is 50%. A transient-type analysis is run on the given
circuit in order to simulate steady-state conditions. Fig. 2 below
shows the transistor, diode, inductor, capacitor, and load resistor
voltages, while Fig. 3 illustrates the current waveforms.

Figures 2 and 3 show that when the transistor is on or when

the collector and emitter terminals are shorted, VQ is at its
minimum while Iq is maximum. During the transistors on state,
the inductor begins charging, thus having a maximum voltage (VL)
and an increasing current (IL). In addition, the diode is reversebiased, as implied in its maximum (open) voltage VD, with a
minimum current ID. Furthermore, the capacitor begins charging as
well, with a current increasing the same way as the inductor.
On the other hand, during the next half (50% duty cycle) of the
period, the transistor turns off, or becomes open, thus having a
maximum voltage of around 12V, while having minimum current.
In this case, the inductors magnetic field collapses and the voltage
is reversed. The inductor current starts to decrease as it begins to
supply energy to the circuit, flowing to the diode and the load. The
diode then becomes forward-biased, or shorted, and its voltage
becomes zero, while achieving maximum current of around 1.3mA.
In addition, the capacitor also begins to supply current the same
way as the inductor, thus having almost identical-looking graphs,
albeit with different values.
This process is repeated for each time period at steady state,
and produces the waveforms shown in the previous two figures,
with an output voltage rippling from about 5.42V to 5.45V, and a
current ranging from 903mA to 907mA, changing values at a rapid
rate, due to the high switching frequency.

Fig. 2. Voltages across the Load, Inductor, Diode, Capacitor, and Transistor

III. PROPERTY AND COMPONENT VARIATIONS

This section analyses the steady state response of the given buck
converter circuit, and determine the effects of the variations in
different properties and components in the circuit, such as the input
voltage, duty cycle, load, and inductance.
A. Input Voltage Variation
First analysed was the effect of changing the input voltage
of the circuit, and determining the corresponding duty cycle
when the output is maintained at 6V. The results in Table 1
show that when the input voltage is increased, the
corresponding duty cycle needed to maintain the output at 6V
decreases, and approaches 50%. The opposite occurs vice versa.
TABLE I
INPUT VOLTAGE VS DUTY CYCLE MEASUREMENTS OF FIG. 1 AT 6V OUTPUT

Input Voltage
12
10
15
18
20
24

Fig. 3. Current through the Load, Inductor, Diode, Capacitor, and Transistor

56%
67%
52%
51%
51%
51%

In this sub-section, the effect of adjusting the duty cycle

was determined in terms of the average voltage and the
ripple voltage. This was done by varying the duty cycle from
10% to 80% in steps of 10% while measuring the average
and ripple voltages across the output. Table 3 shows that as
the duty cycle is increased, the average voltage steadily
increases, from a minimum of 974mV to 8.3V.

Fig. 4.
Current
and
Voltage
through
the 20

On the other hand, the ripple voltage increases from a

duty cycle of 10%, peaking at 50%, and then beginning to
decrease as the duty cycle is further increased. Ideally, the
values of the average voltage should be equal to the input
voltage (12V) multiplied by the duty cycle. Therefore, ideal
values would have been 1.2, 2.4,
Resistance
Average
3.6, 4.8, 6, 7.2, 8.4, 9.6V for duty
Value
Voltage
cycles of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70,
and 80%, respectively.
6
6.0761397V
TABLE 2
VARYING DUTY CYCLES VS AVERAGE AND
RIPPLE VOLTAGES

Duty Cycle
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80

Average Voltage
974.64888mV
2.1113284V
3.2422111V
4.3479052V
5.4281116V
6.45751413V
7.4459507V
8.3033884V

7
6.2415318V
8
6.3687152V
9
6.4600929V
Ripple
10 Voltage
6.531479V
11.1896mV
11
6.592812V
19.165mV
12
6.6447847V
24.76211mV
13
6.68643V
27.7644mV
14
6.7212608V
28.42814mV
15
6.7517397V
26.8527mV
16
6.7799717V
23.0876mV
17
6.8065963V
16.6677mV
18
6.8325153V
19
6.8692027V
20
6.946169V

To further analyse the circuit in Fig. 1, the effect of various
load resistance of 6 and increasing it in steps of 1 until the
current reaches boundary conduction. Table 3 shows the results
of this analysis.
As seen in the table, both the average and ripple voltages
continue to increase as the resistance value increases going
from 6.08V to 6.95V for the average voltage and 31.51mV to
35.89mV for the ripple voltage. On the other hand, the average
current steadily goes down, from 1.01A to 347.88mA. At 20,
the current waveforms minimum point begins to touch the 0A
level, where it can then be considered to be in boundary
conduction mode (BCM), as shown in Fig. 4; any lower and it
slides down to discontinuous conduction mode (DCM).

TABLE
3
EFFECT
OF

LOAD RESISTANCE ON THE AVERAGE VOLTAGE AND CURRENT

Ripple
Voltage
31.51003mV
32.42020mV
33.17325mV
33.29709mV
33.82761mV
34.09746mV
34.30722mV
34.33075mV
34.54493mV
34.81372mV
34.94540mV
35.06130mV
35.26460mV
35.41190mV
35.89030mV

Average L
Current
1.0126689A
891.70821mA
796.3947mA
717.85326mA
653.21461mA
599.41377mA
553.79923mA
514.40989mA
480.18242mA
450.18504mA
423.81732mA
400.45804mA
379.75719mA
361.60788mA
347,87702mA

D. Inductance Variation

Finally, the effect

of
varying
the
inductor
in
the
flywheel circuit is
analysed. The value
was changed until,
like the previous
section, the current
reaches
boundary
conduction.
The
results are shown in
Table
4.
The
inductance
was
reduced from an
initial
value
of
100uH,
and
its
effects on the average and ripple voltages, and the average
inductor current was determined. Data show that the average
voltage decreases slightly with the inductance value, from
6.08V to 5.96V, while the ripple voltage drastically increases in
comparison, from 31.51mV, and more than tripling to 96.33mV.
The average inductor current also slightly decreases, ranging
from 1.01A to 993.46mA.
At about 33uH, the current (green) begins to dip to 0A at its
lowest point, thereby constituting to the boundary conduction mode
of operation for the circuit, as shown in Fig. 5.

Fig.
5.

34uH
33uH

5.9503291V
5.9569435V

93.12047mV
96.32944mV

991.90108mA
993.45572mA

Current and Voltage through the Load at 33uH

TABLE 4
VARYING INDUCTANCE AGAINST CIRCUIT VOLTAGE AND CURRENT
Inductance
Value

Average
Voltage

Ripple Voltage

Average L
Current

100uH
90uH
80uH
70uH
60uH
50uH
40uH
39uH
38uH
37uH
36uH
35uH

6.0761397V
6.0724585
6.0658438
6.0569557
6.0464353V
6.0206711V
5.9810266V
5.9768166V
5.971203V
5.9638049V
5.9594824V
5.9543005

31.51003mV
34.49953mV
39.60040mV
45.27097mV
52.43284mV
63.41661mV
79.5550mV
81.22147mV
83.33817mV
85.60111mV
86.68126mV
90.01082mV

1.0126689A
1.0121379A
1.0110303A
1.0095791A
1.0079528A
1.0035724A
997.82275mA
996.2963mA
995.36678mA
994.13604mA
993.42493mA
992.55715mA

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
We wish to acknowledge Engr. J.M. Martinez and
other contributors for useful discussions on the
successful analysis of the circuits involved. We also
would like to thank the reviewers of our paper for
their time and valuable feedback.
REFERENCES
 Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buck_converter