I've been studying the specification of input capacitance for switching converters. I have a related question here that provides more background.
In my research into the topic I came across TI Application Note SLTA055 - Feb 2006 and an EE Times contributed article that both describe a similar approach to designing input capacitance for buck converters.
The gist is this:
- You need two types of capacitors, input capacitors (large value MLCC) and bulk capacitors (AL-ELEC in most cases).
- The input capacitors provide (much of the) current during each "on/conducting" period, reducing the input voltage ripple to roughly 75mV p-p. The bulk capacitors main role is to supply current during a load current step (until the supply inductance allows the supply current to catch up).
- The reduction of input ripple voltage is important because otherwise the ripple current in the bulk capacitors is too high, and they heat up because of their higher ESR.
Now the capacitance in the MLCCs we're talking about here is not trivial, 84µF (implemented as 4x22µF) in the example they walked through.
This sounds like an awesome approach to me, and the math and everything seems to add up, but I find precious few high-value MLCCs in my scrap bin because it appears none of the designers of my choice e-Scrap follow this logic.
So my question is: "When would I need (or perhaps want) to use high-value MLCCs for separate input capacitance in an SMPS design?"
Responses to a related question I found on-site seem to indicate "Yeah it's a great idea but no one does it because it costs an extra buck". Or perhaps it was true in 2006 when these articles were written but electrolytic capacitor technology has improved since then? Another idea I had was that most of my power scrap is off-line, and maybe it's not needed or wouldn't work when the switched voltage is close to 200V? The one place I did find some high-value MLCCs is in an old Cisco router that seemed to have some point-of-load (POL) supply circuitry on it.