Switch Mode Power Supplies (SMPS) is now widely used in modern electronic equipment due to its compact design and high efficiency of about 80% or more. The switch-mode regulator circuit presented here has an efficiency of around 85%.
The circuit is quite simple thanks to the use of MAX638CPA 5V CMOS Step Down Adjustable Switching Regulator IC. With this IC input voltage of 12 to 16 Vdc converted into direct voltage 5VDC. You can see here is only using 9 additional external components to complete the circuit.
Resistors R1 and R2 are used to indicate when the battery voltage becomes low: as soon as the voltage on pin 3 becomes lower than 1.3 V, D1 lights. With values as shown for the potential divider, this corresponds to the supply voltage getting lower than about 6.5 V. The output of the IC is shunted by a simple LC filter formed by LI, C3 and D2.
The oscillator on board the IC generates a clock frequency of around 65 kHz and drives the output transistor via two NOR gates. The built-in error detector, the “battery low” indicator or the voltage comparator can block the clock frequency, which causes the transistor to switch off.
The MAX638CPA IC compares the output voltage of 5 V with a built-in reference (FET). Depending on the load, the FET will be switched on for longer or shorter periods. The maximum current through the FET is 375 mA, which corresponds with a maximum output current of 80 mA.