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Efficient 12 Volt Power from Higher Voltages:

A Simple Buck Regulator

© 1993 Chris Greacen

Chris Greacen

© 1993 Chris Greacen

Hey, you folks with 24 Volt (or higher) systems out there! Do you ever want to run small 12 Volt appliances off your battery bank?

It used to be you had three choices: (1) tap into 12 Volts of your battery bank, (2) use a Vanner Voltmaster battery equalizer (24 Volt systems only), or (3) use a linear regulator. The first choice leads to an unbalanced battery. The second choice keeps the battery balanced, but costs — a ten Ampere Voltmaster retails for $216. The third choice wastes energy by "burning off" excess voltage as heat.

Buck Regulator on a Chip

Now you've got a fourth choice. National Semiconductor's LM2576-XX series are "buck regulators on a chip". You provide an inductor, a Schottky diode, and a couple of capacitors, and you've got an efficient buck converter. Put in anywhere from 14

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