Exploring Buck and Boost Converters

Car Charger Schematic
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Intended Grade Level(s):
Learning Goal(s):

1. Students will use multimeters to measure voltage and current in circuits. 2. Students will use collected data and be able to make power calculations from this data. 3. Students will also be able to calculate efficiency from their power calculations. 4. Students will be able to compare efficiencies in order to identify the circuit that is most efficient. 5. Students will be able to make circuits from a diagram and vice versa.

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Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
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This lab uses a variety of voltage conversion devices to output 5 Volts, the requirements for a USB charger such as for a cell phone. Students will take data on these devices and calculate, graph and compare efficiencies of different devices. Devices used in this lab are buck converters, which lower the input voltage and Boost Converters, which raise it (the Minty Boost® and Boost 500® are boost converters from Adafruit). These devices are available on the Internet and can be hard-wired to groups of series AA batteries. These devices frequently accept a range of input voltages, and some offer a range of output voltages. Students will be familiar with data collection from previous Off the Grid Lessons 1 and Lesson 3

Science Kit Material(s) Used:
Other Material(s) Used:
Materials from Lesson 3, Adjustable buck and boost converters