Buck-Boost Converter IC - 2014 market analysis and overview.

1. Manufacturer

2. Output current

3. Input voltage

4. Switching frequency and inductor size

5. Special feature Automotive AEC-Q100

6. Special feature LBI/LBO

7. Special feature dynamic voltage scaling (DVS)

8. Summary


Optional: Start page for DC/DC Converters with information, details and start choices to search for Boost (step-up), Buck (step-down) or Buck-Boost (step-up-down) Converter. Or, jump directly into the DC/DC Buck-Boost Converter IC parametric search with internal switches.


Introduction to DC/DC Buck-Boost Converter market analysis

Market overview on available DC/DC buck-boost converter IC. Detailed look into features, parameters, manufacturer and statistics. Currently 97 buck-boost converter IC are listed and available for search. All products feature internal switch (MOSFET) and have a dedicated buck-boost topology.

The term buck-boost regulator (or step-up-down regulator) is also quite common and more used in the North America region, most other regions and countries use converter. Looking into the Google index, the term buck-boost converter is about 10 times more searched then buck-boost regulator.

The DC/DC buck-boost converter segment is the smallest from all available Selectors at our parametric search. The majority of converters are optimized for single Li-Ion battery applications. Internal high-side and low-side switch, low external component count, internal diode and single inductor operation result in a compact circuit and very small total solution size.


1. Manufacturer Buck-Boost Converter analysis

Overview on number of manufacturer and products by each manufacturer. Currently 10 IC manufacturer are listed and most of them are typical representatives from the power management domain. The product count ranges from a single product to 30. Details are available in the next chart and in the manufacturer matrix.


2 groups can be identified.

  1. Manufacturer with more than 10 products which are: Analog Devices, Intersil, Linear Technology and Texas Instruments.
  2. Manufacturer with a few products.

Group A with the top 4 manufacturer for buck-boost converter IC clearly dominates with a total product share of ~84%. The remaining 6 manufacturer sum up with 16%.




2. Output current Buck-Boost Converter analysis

Looking over all 97 products their is only a small range of output current capabilities available, ranging from 0.2A to 3A. Usually the power limitation is the input source - a single Li-Ion or any other battery type. Most buck-boost converter deliver in the range of 0.6A to 1.2A output current. Those products usually work excellent during light load conditions when only a few mW power or few mA current are needed or during system standby. 92% of all converters have the diode integrated which eliminates another power loss source.

Lately products for higher power and output current with up to 2.5A and 3A become available. Those 'high power' buck-boost converters are used as primary stage DC/DC converter followed by seconday buck only or boost only converters or for Power Amplifier (PA). For most common inductor sizes like 2.2uH or 4.7uH thoses power levels are no problem.

There are major architecture and therefore efficiency differences during input voltage = output voltage condition. Each buck-boost converter manufacturer uses their own technology to switch current and power during this operating point and efficiency differences can be easily 10% or more. 




3. Input voltage Buck-Boost Converter analysis

Similar to the output current rating, there is a very narrow range of input voltage segments - basically just one. 86% of all products are designed for 5.5V input voltage and therefore targeted to a battery power supply. The 5.5V operating input voltage usually gives a 6.0V or 6.5V maximum input voltage which is defined by the typical low voltage process. A few products are working up to 15V input voltage and the remaining 6 products up to 40V input voltage.

Taking a side look into DC/DC buck-boost Controller IC with external switch (MOSFET), it looks very different and way more divers on voltage, current and power levels.



4. Switching frequency and inductor size Buck-Boost Converter analysis

The vast majority of products (88) feature a fixed switching frequency. Converters with fixed switching frequency can be as low as 80kHz or as high as 2.7MHz. There is one product from Spansion MB39C326 which switches with 5.7MHz. Optional, most of those converters can be synchronized to an external clock. This feature is available for 65 products.

Currently only 8 products feature adjustable switching frequency and those are from Linear Technology, Vishay and Rohm.

In relation to the switching frequency is the oppositional inductor size. Regulators with switching frequencies of 2MHz and more feature tiny inductor sizes from 0.5uH to 1.5uH. More common are standard inductor sizes from 2.2uH to 4.7uH which can be used by almost all buck-boost regulators.



5. Special Feature Buck-Boost Converter analysis - Automotive AEC-Q100

Currently there is only 1 manufacturer which qualifies buck-boost converter IC for Automotive and AEC-Q100, Texas Instruments. There is a total of 4 products available in the buck-boost parametric search and AEC-Q100 qualified. A complete list of all Buck-Boost Converter IC with AEC-Q100 qualification can be found under the AEC-Q100 menu point.



6. Special Feature Buck-Boost Converter analysis - LBI/LBO

Currently there are 3 manufacturer which offer products with the LBI/LBO feature, AMS, Maxim and Intersil. There is a total of 17 products available in the parametric search.



7. Special Feature Buck-Boost Converter analysis - dynamic voltage scaling (DVS)

DVS is mainly used for power amplifier (PA) or processor/microcontroller power supply adjustments during operation. Currently there are 4 manufacturer which offer products with the dynamic voltage scaling (DVS) feature: Intersil, Linear Technology, Spansion and Texas Instruments.

To adjust the output voltage during operation there are some options available. Changing the reference voltage via Vref pin, via a 1-pin interface to select two or more given options of an output voltage or via I2C interface for very precise output voltage regulation and narrow step width.

There are a total of 14 products available in the parametric search.



8. Summary Buck-Boost Converter analysis

The buck-boost converter IC segment is tiny compared to others. 4 major manufacturer dominate this market segment. We released this summary in summer 2014 and plan to updates it once every year.

A few words before finish. Statistics are only as good as data quality, plus there is a lot of room for interpretation. Please take the numbers and charts as general guideline and rough overview. If there are mistakes please send a short email so we can look into it and update if needed. Same applies if we missed any products or manufacturer. Please send us a short email feedback@dcdcselector.com

On manufacturers webpages new products get released, older ones removed or made obsolete. We try to catch all updates but your help and hints are always appreciated.





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