I was looking for some buck boost power management IC for my circuit i have noticed that in Texas instruments website the buck - boost is categorized into 2 category converter and controller googling them only show results for converter. I have also noticed that the buck boost controller has a higher output current rating.

What is the difference between the two and which applications work best of either of them ?


2 Answers 2


There are two parts to a DC to DC converter/controller. The control logic that contains the feedback loop and control logic, and the switch, inductor/transformer or capacitors, diodes and resistors that comprise the converter/controller.

The terms can be synonymous, but when marketing IC's or modules it ususually comes down to these terms:

A controller usually contains all the logic and feedback loop, usually an IC nowadays and the rest of the DC to DC converter will need to be designed and passives added.

A converter usually contains everything needed for the DC to DC converter, and comes in a module form (or some IC modules, like the LTM's from linear).

The difference can be in the cost and ease of use, buying a module is much easier to integrate into a design, but it might not do everything you want it to. With a converter the input and output voltages, currents and power are fixed, and can't be changed.

With a controller, the designer can determine the input and output power, voltage by selecting different components. The switches can also be located outside of the part. The efficiency and cost can be determined by the designer by selecting different passives and switches (mosfets usually).

I've used both, more often than not a module doesn't have the power that I need in my products, so I'll design a DC to DC converter with an off the shelf controller.

  • \$\begingroup\$ going by what you have said, why do they still make controller then ? since converters basically have most of the components built in. What is the factor that controller have over converters that it is still relevant? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jake quin
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Jakequin Power. The switch inside a converter (IC) may be capable of handling 1W or 10W or so - or more, if it's in a special package fitted to an external heatsink. The controller drives an external switch - makes little difference to the IC if that switch is rated for 10W or 1000W. \$\endgroup\$
    – user16324
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 21:41

Converter contains switching transistor within one package.
Controller needs external switching transistor.

Converter advantages:

  • no need for external transistor
  • simpler design
  • smaller footprint

Controller advantages:

  • external transistor is capable to switch higher currents than the internal one
  • \$\begingroup\$ what are the advantages of using one over the other sir? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jake quin
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 18:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Converters with their weak integrated transistors can't usually provide more than few amps of current, while controlles can provide tens of amps as long as it can have stronger external transistors. \$\endgroup\$
    – Justme
    Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 19:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jakequin I have just added advantages to my answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2019 at 19:04

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