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Buck Regulator: Virtuabotix Buckboard 1.1 Pinout & Usage Guide

Virtuabotix Buck Regulator Buckboard 5V 3A Voltage Regulator on blackI am happy to announce that with the resounding success of the Virtuabotix Buckboard 1.0, we have upgraded the Buck Regulator board to the Virtuabotix Buckboard 1.1. The board has already found a home in loads of your projects, and I hope that this pin-out guide will help others integrate this awesome Buck Regulator into their own circuit designs and electronic projects.

The Virtuabotix Buckboard provides super high efficiency, and high accuracy voltage regulation down to 5.0 Volts with the ability to deliver up to 3 amperes of power to your projects.  The board was designed to serve as an alternative power source for the Versalino Uno and for the Bareduino/Bareduino Plus, but it’s design allows for use in any system compatible with it’s TO220 pin-out.

We felt that this Buck Regulator board would be more useful with the standard regulator pin-out, and so far most everyone who has had an opportunity to use them has agreed. The ability to use this board on a Solderless breadboard just as easily as it can be integrated into a production level circuit gives it some serious advantages over the alternatives on the market. 

Buck Regulator Schematic (main circuit):

The Virtuabotix Buck Board was designed around the recommended fixed output voltage circuit provided by TI for use with the LM2576 chip as shown below. The TO220 compatible headers, and the external power jack were added to the circuit below to result in the single package that is the Virtuabotix Buckboard itself.

 

Buck Regulator circuit used on Virtuabotix Buckboard

 

Note: The Virtuabotix Buckboard 1.1 uses the standard LM2576 chip that works up to 40 Volts, if you would like use to make a version of the Virtuabotix Buckboard with the LM2576HV (high Voltage) version of the Buck Regulator chip just mention it in the comments section below and we will be more than happy to create a high voltage model.

The way the circuit works is to first regulate the input line with 100 micro-farads of capacitance, and then to use a feedback loop through an inductor and diode to produce +5 volts of regulated power on the output. The 1000 micro-farad capacitor on the output makes for a very long lasting charge on power loss, and is what provides significant brown-out protection to your circuits.

Buck Regulator Pinout/Procedure:

Virtuabotix Buck Regulator Buckboard 5V 3A Voltage Regulator bottom of version 1.1

 

The Virtuabotix Buckboard has a fairly simple user interface, and can be used in several different ways, but the primary ways of wiring the Buck Regulator into your project are detailed below.

Buck Regulator Power:

It is possible to connect the external power port to a power supply and use the output of the TO220 compatible pins to power your project without having to externally wire a supply. This method is ideal for projects the need a high efficiency Buck Regulator, but do not already have access to an external power source capable of driving between 6v and 40v across the existing TO220 pins. In these cases you can use the Virtuabotix Buckboard Voltage Regulator as your main power distribution point for most small projects saving the need for extra wires; while still giving access to the raw input power through the VIN pin of the TO220 compatible headers.

Virtuabotix Buck Regulator Buckboard 5V 3A Voltage Regulator powering an led on a breadboard

 

The image above illustrates the use of the Virtuabotix Buckboard on a breadboard powering an LED using it’s external power port. Note that the input on the external power port or the TO220 compatible VIN pin must remain between 6 and 40.0 volts to ensure that the Buck Regulator on the Virtuabotix Buckboard is able to properly regulate the voltage to 5.0 volts on the output (VOUT) pin of the TO220 compatible connector.

 

This method works well for projects like the Bareduino kit, or making your own custom Versalino Uno build since the pin-out is drop in compatible with existing designs based on the 7805 5V regulator, and in addition in the case of the Bareduino/Bareduino Plus it provides an easy way to wire in power and manage power regulation. If you use this method with the Bareduino Plus you can eliminate the VIN wire and simply plug your project into the wall with the Versalino AC adapter, or use one of our other Versalino power adapters.

 

Buck Regulator powered through TO220 compatible pins:

Connect the TO220 compatible pins to an existing circuit, or otherwise wire the board to receive VIN from an external wire or source. This is basically the same as the first way, but power and ground come from the TO220 pins instead of the power plug port that is built onto the Virtuabotix Buckboard voltage regulator circuit board.

Virtuabotix Buck Regulator Buckboard 5V 3A Voltage Regulator wiring picture

The illustration above shows the different wires used for method two of this section (connecting the Buck Regulator through the TO220 interface, and not using external power on the included power port). In order to apply power to this circuit you would run between 5.7 Volts and 40 Volts across the Orange and Green wires; the Orange wire is positive (VIN = +5.7v to +40.0v); the Green is ground (GND = 0.0v); the  Yellow wire is the regulated 5.0 volt output, and is the wire that should power your regulated circuit.

As always make sure you have a common ground, which means connecting the Green ground pin to the ground of the rest of your circuit.

Virtuabotix Buckboard Buck Regulator Project ideas:

We have already talked about a few examples of where you can use the Virtuabotix Buckboard to introduce a high quality Voltage Regulator and tiny power management system into your next project, like the use on the Versalino Uno board, or with your Bareduino Plus. In fact this design was inspired by requests related to power management for advanced applications on the Versalino Uno, and other customer projects.

The key things to remember is that the use of this board will help to prevent Brown Outs which can destroy a projects functionality, and can great improve the efficiency and therefore the longevity of your projects. This is because a more efficient Buck Regulator produces less noise, and less heat. Less heat means that over time this board will outperform most standard Voltage Regulators by avoiding thermal damage and part fatigue.

So if you need to be sure that your circuit can stand the test of time, and keep your project running long into the future then look no further than the Virtuabotix Buckboard 1.1, it is exactly what you were looking for!

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