I'm a low power guy. And a low voltage one too. I don't have a power supply that delivers more than 33 V.

On the other hand, I'm interested in DC to DC conversion. I think this is an area in electronics where you can get a deep understanding of the electronics basics, for active and passive components.

If you fully understand a switching converter, you know voltage, current, inductors, capacitors, resistors, diodes and transistors (and varying wave forms).

That's about half of the "Art of Electronics" handbook.

GaN Motherboard

The subject is un-hip in few people's minds. And that's OK. In my mind, it isn't. That's why I'm happy that I managed to lay my hands on a DC converter test motherboard.

I bet this test bed will help me to step up from low voltage DC conversion skills to high voltage conversion solutions.

 

High voltage is several 100 volts DC. And with several hundreds,  I mean so many volts that I had to buy another DMM to be able to do the measurements

 

Prologue

 

I'm following the Coursera "Power Electronics" course. For the fourth time now.

There's nothing wrong that that course. I think it's one of the best out there on the web. Grab it if you can.

But unlike other online university courses, I've never managed to pass that one. And I know why.

 

I like to blame my professional agenda. I have an unpredictable job. I go on business trips on short notice.

They always interfere with the course agenda.

But why did I pass the Coursera "Linear Circuits" course then?

That wasn't easy either. And I had my work interfering with that one too.

 

My personal analysis is: because the Power Electronics one requires good math skills,

and because the switching power converter designs require a more-than-in-depth understanding of electronics, beyond the ones we use in many other areas.

 

You can happily build a microcontroller based design if you know the basic electronics rules

and if you know that you need snubber diodes when powering a relais or motor.

That's about all the inductive knowledge you need.

 

Not so with DC to DC converters. And that's one of the reasons why I value them.

Power electronics is often looked down to as the stepchild of the business.

But the experts in that sector may be among the ones that have (and need) the best understanding of electronics - active and passive.

 

The Series

 

I'm inviting you to follow me in my investigation into high voltage switch-mode circuits.

 

 

 

I'm going to put the latest high voltage GaN FETs to the test. My story hook is that I'll validate this brand new technology.

In reality, it's an excuse for @self to get real with that "Power Electronics" course, and finally pass the exams.

 

Hooray for the  Power Electronics discipline

 

Part 1: Several 100 Volts
Part 2: Test Setup with LMG3410 Half-Bridge
Part 3: Probing the LMG3410 Half-Bridge