Step Up/Down Inverting Switching Regulator

DC to DC converter/regulator MC34063A. Has an input range of 3V to 40V, output switch current of up to 1.5 amp. Step up, step down and invert capability. This is the unit we used in the high voltage ringer circuit for the port-o-rotary phone!

Step Up/Down Inverting Switching Regulator Product Help and Resources

Resources and Going Further

According to Pete#41:Boost Regulators - MC34063A [ ]

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

2 Soldering

Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
See all skill levels

Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
See all skill levels


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Submariner pro / about 6 years ago / 1

    Is this able to act like the R78E 5v switching voltage regulator?

  • Member #858619 / about 7 years ago / 1

    Hi! I was wondering, is this part easy for a novice to use? Is there a comprehensive guide to show how to use it? Also, would I need to buy any additional parts in order to boost the voltage of 4 AA's to 12v?

  • MrAureliusR / about 8 years ago / 1

    I'd also agree with the skill levels being wrong... no programming required, and the prototyping skill level should be higher as there's some long math equations involved. Plus you could (potentially) be dealing with dangerous voltages and currents.

  • ryates / about 15 years ago / 10

    More helpful then the datasheet would be this document
    which explains the theory of operation, and also has the mathematical equations to calculate the necessary component values for any desired output voltage.

  • un1tz3r0 / about 15 years ago / 4

    What a great little chip. With ~5 external passive components, you can make a switched-mode power supply that will give you lower, higher or opposite polarity DC from DC input. You can also use an external power transistor to deliver way more than the ~500ma the chip alone will supply (I'm currently using it in this configuration to power a ~3a 5v load from a 20v rechargeable battery pack.)
    Not to mention that unlike a linear regulator, you can power loads over a hundred mA or so without burning yourself or having a completely ridiculous heatsink.
    Best design resource I found was it's a javascript calculator for the component values in the basic circuits presented in the datasheet given your application parameters (VIN, VOUT, IOUTmax, etc.)

    • Member #318248 / about 12 years ago / 1

      How did you configure the transistor to increase the current? Can you show me a picture or schematic?

    • Albermega / about 13 years ago / 1

      Best design resource I found was
      I'm pretty sure there is an error calculating Ct, it is off by a factor of 10. I could be wrong but it is best to double check yourselves. Try it, put in the example initial values found in the AN920-D reference sheet.
      I just sent a email to the author, looks like it was written a long time ago. In any case it is best to double check the values yourself.

  • Member #466449 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Ignore my last comment on this part. I've got a better idea.

    I'm going to make a switching power supply that plugs into the mains, but I need some help:

    • This IC can't be wired straight to the mains, because its maximum supply voltage is 40 volts. But what if I wire it up like this? Would that work?

      bridge rectifier -- resistor¹ -- 400V cap² -- zener diode -- 16V cap³ -- MC34063

    basically, a transformerless power supply, for low currents it should work

    ¹ To limit inrush current while the capacitor charges up. What would be a good value to use? 10 ohms? 22? 47? 100?

    ² In my country we have 220V mains, so I can't just use a 200V capacitor. Actually I think any capacitor rated for 330V or higher would be ok, but you never know, one of these days I could get a voltage spike and, after taking everything apart, a blast of blue smoke.

    ³ I will actually use a cap rated for at least twice the zener diode's voltage. So obviously I won't use a 16V cap and a 12V zener.

    • If I use an external MOSFET, can I connect it to the MC34063 and switch (already rectified and filtered) mains electricity? If so, can you recommend a part number for a MOSFET that can handle 400V?

    Sorry for the long comment. Please answer as soon as possible. I don't need this for next week or anything like that, but the sooner the better.

    Thank you.

    • MrAureliusR / about 8 years ago / 1

      Even at low currents, that zener is going to COOK. Just pick up a small transformer, they're cheap.

  • Chiel / about 10 years ago / 1

    This little guy is pretty epic. Im using a few of these to power Vintage Nixie tube projects from 12v. For those unfamiliar Nixie tubes are old Neon displays used before Leds and LCD where invented. To get one to light you need over 100-180v of power to "fire" and then feed them a few milliamps to keep them running. This little fella in step-up setup can deliver power up to the required voltages and supply my project with a few dozen milliamps making it a very cost-effective way to get a high-voltage supply.

    So don't dismiss these little regulators. they can do some pretty amazing things. Oh and if clueless about calculating the right values there are multiple calculators around on the internet to help. naturally i'd advise to use those as guidelines and to try and check their accuracy.

    Also anyone else noticing the wrong skill checklist? this clearly requires experienced prototyping and doesn't require any coding.

  • Member #466449 / about 10 years ago / 1

    Let's say I'm building a Mintyboost-like portable charger. As you probably know, the output on the original circuit is limited to 500mA. If I use this IC and the 6Ah pack you sell, how much current would I be able to draw? The IC is limited to 1.5 amps (1.8-2.6 amps from the battery, depending on its charge level, plus a bit more due to power losses) but I feel like the protection circuit on the battery will not let me draw that much...

  • AeroGuy_123 / about 10 years ago / 1

    I was looking into using this switching regulator for 5V --> 3.3V step-down for an XBee but was told by Digi that switching frequencies below 500kHz might interfere with the XBee. Does anyone know if that is true or not?

  • Matt66 / about 10 years ago / 1

    I can use it for Step up 1.2v to 5v?

  • Crono1124 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Hi everybody, I'm looking for some help using this IC as a step up switching regulator with the following specs:

    Vin = 3.60 V Vout = 5.00 V Iout = 300.00 A Vripple = 0.10 V Vin min = 3.24 V Ct = 165.00 pF Ipk = .60 A Rsc = 0.00 Ω Lmin = 0.01 µH (using 390UH) Co = 198,367.35 µF (using 2000UF) R1 = 1.00 kΩ R2 = ((Vout - 1.25) / 1.25) * R1 = 3.00 kΩ

    Under no load I get a perfect 5V on the output. However when under a .3A load the output voltage drops to 2.5~3.0 Volts.

    Anybody have any idea's what i'm doing wrong? I'm trying to use this chip to step up the voltage on a 3.6volt LIPOLY battery to 5 volts.

    Thanks for any help.

  • I'm choosing between this and lt1303 form digikey: which do you think would give more amps with the same configuration?

  • nickwest / about 12 years ago / 1

    Can anyone tell me maximum output voltage of this thing? Right now I'm using a TL499a to stepup 6v to about 26v at 10mA... would this chip be able to do the same job? I've looked thru the datasheet and the application note and I can't find this info anywhere, what am I missing?

  • raduigret / about 12 years ago * / 1

    I've used the online calculator available here:
    there is also a very comprehensive video tutorial about MC34063A. I've used this as a current mode power supply for 4 HB LEDs.

  • BikeLighting / about 12 years ago / 1

    Btw, for a guy relearnig his HS electronics after 30 years, what is Vripple and Fmin?
    thx again,

    • Kamiquasi / about 12 years ago / 1

      From the Datasheet:
      Vripple(pp) − Desired peak−to−peak output ripple voltage. In practice, the calculated capacitor value will need to be increased due to its equivalent series resistance and board layout. The ripple voltage should be kept to a low value since it will directly affect the line and load regulation.
      fmin − Minimum desired output switching frequency at the selected values of Vin and IO.

  • BikeLighting / about 12 years ago / 1

    Will this chip let me step up 5V input from a USB jack to 12.6V that I need to have to charge 3 LI cells in series? I know its not ideal but need to be able to show as proof of concept

    • Kamiquasi / about 12 years ago / 1
      1. This product WILL boost 5V to 12V
      2. You still do not want to charge multiple LI packs in series unless you are very certain that they have the same characteristics including their discharge. I.e. if one pack is discharged more than the other, you're going to run into problems. You might want to look at parallel charging instead. Hit Google :)
  • baum / about 12 years ago / 1

    Ideally, if I put in 10V at 1A max, can I get 5V at 500mA max, and vice versa?

  • joshie / about 13 years ago / 1

    Will this chip work at 2.4v input? I want to power an ATmega328 with 2 x 1.2v AA batteries.

  • Hmmm / about 13 years ago / 1

    SparkFun should sell switching regulator modules that are pin-for-pin replacements for 780x series linear regulators, like this, but cheaper:

    • godefroi / about 12 years ago / 1

      I just bought one of these, seems like that's the sort of thing you're looking for.

      • jbaker / about 12 years ago / 1

        That whole family on DK is great for that kind of thing, I've used a V7805 in the past when I had a normal 7805 running too hot for my tastes, worked like a charm.

  • Could I use this to power an ATTiny with 1.5V OR 9V?
    EDIT: Never you mind, I'm going to power it with a definite 3V (coin battery).
    EDIT: You may mind again... although I don't need an answer anymore.
    EDIT: Never mind again, this is not suitable for my purposes.

  • SVFeingold / about 13 years ago / 1

    So I just built a circuit using one of these to step up voltage from 3.3V to 5V (one of the sensors I am using is 5V while the Arduino Pro is 3.3).
    It is almost working, but when I supply power from the Arduino board the voltage (on the arduino line) fluctuates from 3.3 V to around 2.5 V, constantly, and the output voltage is not stable either. I'm not sure what I did wrong here...I used the javascript calculator posted above with the following values:
    Vin: 3.3
    Vout: 5
    Iout: 16.5
    Vripple: 0.25 mV
    Fmin: 43 kHz
    I was given the following values:
    Ct: 444 pF (used 2 220 pF in parallel)
    Rsc: 4.752 Ohm (used 2 10 Ohm in parallel)
    Lmin: 404 uH (used 400 uH)
    Co: 6593 uF (Believe this is a calculation error; used 1000 uF)
    R: 180 Ohm (used 180)
    R1: 1k
    R2: 3k
    I used a 1N5819 diode and a 180 uF input capacitor.
    Any ideas what could be wrong? Why is the supply voltage fluctuating so much?
    EDIT: Nevermind...check your circuits! I had one of the grounds connected to pin 3 rather than pin 4.

  • technofreak / about 13 years ago / 1

    Hey, i see in the Sparkfun eagle library there is a 34063 SMD part, but no PTH. Is this part an SMD?

    • SomeGuy123 / about 12 years ago * / 1

      As seen in the datasheet, there are SMT and DIP versions of the part.
      Also, Chill_Bill is incorrect.
      * DIP = Dual Inline Package
      * PTH = Plated Through Hole
      * DIPs go in PTHs.

    • No. This is a DIP package. If the legs go straight down, it's PTH.

  • RJR / about 14 years ago / 1

    Of the two I just got form Sparkfun, the markings say:
    ST CHN
    I assume these are the correct ICs - why was the MC34 -part left off?

    • dreamlayers / about 12 years ago / 1

      Yes, it's the correct IC. It's from ST instead of On. I guess they abbreviate the markings so they can fit in the other stuff. The On datasheet, documents markings, but the ST datasheet doesn't.

  • tt / about 14 years ago / 1

    Thanks for that link. That was really helpful for getting the components right. Far easier than dealing with the math myself. :) I did spot check it, but it worked fine. I built it, and my first switching regulator works great. 14V to 3.3V step down, now on to the XBee modules.. :)

    • MikeR / about 14 years ago / 1

      That is the exact power supply that I'm looking to build, for the same purpose of powering XBees. I'm a bit unsure what I should have for Vripple and Fmin. Can you tell me which components you used?

Customer Reviews

No reviews yet.