A Switched Capacitor Boost Converter from Discrete Components

While looking around the web for something completely unrelated, I stumbled across this awesome discrete switch-cap booster circuit by Ivan Sergeev. Now, technically, I suppose this isn’t actually a boost converter, since it doesn’t use inductive flyback — rather it’s a charge-pump stacker, but the nomenclature is secondary. It’s a cool hack, and I really like the way he’s laid the whole process out, from theory & concept through simulation and finally implementation.

A switched capacitor / charge pump boost converter works by repeatedly charging a flying capacitor to an input voltage source and then stacking it on top of the input voltage source. This is achieved in the ideal schematic above by closing alternate switch pairs SW1/SW4 and SW3/SW2. When SW1/SW4 are closed, C1 is charged to voltage source V1. When SW3/SW2 are closed, C1 is stacked on top of voltage source V1. After some start up time, the big hold-up capacitor C2 is charged to 2*V1, and the load R sees roughly 2*V1 provided that it does not pull the charge out of C2 faster than it is replenished.

My 5V regulated switched capacitor boost converter consists of two boost stages, a 74×14 based oscillator, and a simple cycle skipping regulation scheme. I implemented the top two switches (SW1/SW2) of each boost stage with Schottky diodes for their relatively low voltage drop, and the bottom two switches (SW3/SW4) with PMOS and NMOS FETs. The diodes work in their switch roles because D1/SW1 will be reverse biased in the discharge/stack phase, and D2/SW2 will generally be reverse biased in the charge phase (unless it is charging the second stage). Since the first and second stages are being operated in phase, the total boosted output is theoretically 3*Vin. The FETs are driven by the 74×244 buffer which has roughly 12mA source / 12mA sink to ensure relatively fast turn on time.

While charge pump circuits are readily available in integrated packages (the many variations of the ICL7660 spring to mind), there are good reasons for building one out of discrete components. Namely, the challenge and what you learn from it. Lucky for us, he wrote it all down so we could learn from it too. His idea of using diodes for the high side is also neat, even though it results in lower efficiency than using CMOS switches. Technology has a way of leapfrogging itself, though. Perhaps someday we’ll have integrated nano-rectifiers which are more efficient than the best FET profile, and such a design would become preferable.

He’s provided a complete schematic and BOM, along with the LTSpice sim file — check it out!

Great work, Ivan!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Join 35,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Follow Adafruit on Instagram for top secret new products, behinds the scenes and more https://www.instagram.com/adafruit/

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — Chip inventories rise as demand falls

Wearables — How to attach a battery to your next wearables project

Electronics — Check out this shorthand shortcut

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: 400 CircuitPython Libraries, 3m Thanks and much more! #CircuitPython #Python @ThePSF @micropython @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — 2022 in Recap!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Products 1/25/2023 Featuring Adafruit ESP32-S2 Reverse TFT Feather! (Video)

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.