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I'm working on a project where non-trivial currents (theoretical peak ~6A) are needed at several different voltages. Since this is battery-powered, I initially started looking at finding an appropriate switching voltage regulator. After looking into a couple different ICs, I found that the prices (including all of the additional components) were coming out around $15 to $20.

I then stumbled on BECs, which are widely used in the R/C market and seem to effectively be pre-packaged voltage regulators (i.e. including all of the additional components). Here's an example.

Although I'm not clear on what the name means (it stands for "battery elimination circuit"), it seems that a BEC would serve my purposes at a slightly lower cost and with a lot less work than creating the circuitry from scratch.

Is there any reason why a BEC wouldn't be a viable option for voltage regulation in a non-R/C application?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "[our BEC] is an advanced switching DC-DC regulator..." It's just a switching regulator. If the specs indicate it is compatible with your application, it will work. I wouldn't expect great regulation or low ripple out of a cheap, high current DC/DC like this, but perhaps you don't require it. \$\endgroup\$ – HikeOnPast Nov 16 '12 at 16:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ What does BEC stand for? \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Carlton Nov 16 '12 at 17:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Battery elimination circuit \$\endgroup\$ – Computerish Nov 16 '12 at 19:09
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A BEC would work for high-current voltage regulation, with perhaps one caveat: Some cheaper BECs seem to have non-exemplary voltage regulation under load.

This isn't just about current or inductive spikes, those actually get handled well because BECs are designed to run motors. The issue is more around sustained currents - the thermal protection kicks in quite harshly once things get warm.

This may be a good thing, since the BEC survives the heat easily... or it may not, if a combination of voltage sag and thermal current throttling under sustained load would kill your application.

For the price of a BEC, it would be a worthwhile experiment.

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