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Where and why are isolated DC/DC converters used?
Where and why are isolated DC/DC converters used?

Did you know that optocouplers are not required for isolated DC/DC? Now you can simplify your design and reduce the size of your solution without requiring an optoelectronic solution.

Isolated DC/DC solutions are sometimes required for safety reasons or to ensure proper operation in complex systems. Traditional isolation solutions either use optocouplers and additional circuitry, or use complex transformer designs that form a feedback loop across the isolation barrier to regulate the output voltage. The extra components make the design complex and bulky.

Optocouplers degrade over time, reducing system reliability. In addition, end-equipment form factors are shrinking, leaving limited space for power supplies and increasing thermal management challenges. System engineers must overcome all of these challenges when starting a new isolated DC/DC design. System engineers need a solution that is small, low cost, highly reliable and easy to design.

Where and why are isolated DC/DC converters used?

Many power systems in factory automation, building automation, e-mobility, automotive, avionics, medical, commercial, and other industries use isolated DC/DC converters for one or more of three reasons:

Safety: Prevents current surges from damaging equipment and protects humans from mains power. Figure 1 shows a power system where the primary source is isolated from the secondary side, where the operator has physical contact with it. Without proper safety isolation, lightning strikes can send very high voltage surges through equipment to operators and ground. This is mostly fatal. The isolation barrier here routes dangerous surge energy back to the main ground, preventing it from passing through the operator.

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