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This article was originally published (in a slightly modified form) in the QST magazine, December 1998 and January 1999, and in the Radio Amateur’s Handbook, 1999. Visit the American Radio Relay League for information on these publications, and a world of ham radio related things!

Design decisions
There are several different topologies for switchers in common use, and the first decision a designer must take is which of them to consider. Among the factors affecting the decision are the power level, the number of outputs needed, the range of input voltage to be accepted, the desired tradeoff between complexity, quality and cost, and many more. For this power supply I decided to use the half bridge forward converter design. This topology connects the power transformer to a bridge formed by two power transistors and two capacitors. It is reasonably simple, puts relatively low stress on the power transistors, and makes efficient use of the transformer’s magnetic capabilities.The second basic decision is which switching frequency to use. The present trend is to use ever higher frequencies. But by doing so it becomes more difficult to filter out the RF noise inevitably generated by the switching. So I decided to stay at a low switching frequency of only 25 kHz for the full cycle, which due to the frequency doubling effect of the rectifiers results in 50 kHz on the output filter.

For the main switching elements, bipolar transistors or MOSFETs can be used. Bipolars have lower conduction losses, while MOSFETs switch faster. As in this design I wanted to keep the RF noise at an absolute minimum, very fast switching was not desired, so I used bipolar transistors. But these tend to become too slow if the driving is heavier than necessary. So, if the transistors have to switch at varying current levels, the drive to them must also be varied. This is called proportional driving, and is used in this project.

The half bridge converter is best controlled by pulse width modulation. There are several ICs available for this exact purpose. I chose the 3524, which is very simple to use and easy to find. Any 3524 will do the job. It can be an LM3524, SG3524, etc.

This basically ends the big decisions. From now on, designing the circuit is a matter of calculating proper values for everything.

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