Designing the converter board

Hi. I’m Quinten van Wingerden and together with Ciarán Lichtenberg we are responsible of the converterboard. Every PCB in the car needs to be powered. But not every PCB uses the same voltages. How is this problem solved? With a converterboard.

Let’s start at the beginning. PCBs are powered by a battery. This battery delivers a nominal voltage of 24 Volts. You can imagine something like an ECU or a sensornode not using 24 Volts. Therefore, the voltage has to be converted to appropriate ones. This is done using DC-DC converters. These are ICs made by big companies, and usually are easy to implement. Texas Instruments and Linear Technologies are good examples.

There are tons of different DC-DC converters available on the market. But how does one select a good converter? There are multiple things to look at. For example: input voltage, output voltage and output current.

You want the input voltage to match with the voltage of the battery. Battery voltage is not constant so that should not be forgotten. The output voltage needs to match with the needs of the PCB.

The output current of the converter has to be checked with the PCB to ensure the converter will not fail. If the PCB wants to draw more current than the converter can handle the risk of failure increases massively.

In short: picking a good converter will ensure your system and PCBs are powered correctly.

Kind Regards,

Quinten van Wingerden