Conversion technology gives power on demand

| Environmental Testing

DC-DC Converter can withstand the harsh environment of commercial vehicle applications

DC-DC converters for diesel-powered commercial vehicles can be used to power accessories such as antilock brakes and lighting

Power management company Eaton has introduced a family of 48-volt DC-DC converters for diesel-powered commercial vehicles that can be used to power accessories such as antilock brakes and lighting. Unlike other similar converters that are on the market, Eaton’s DC-DC converters are operational in ambient temperatures up to 85 degrees Celsius and boast 97% design efficiency.

Commercial vehicles are increasingly moving to 48-volt architectures for a number of reasons including the potential for the mild hybridisation of drive systems. Additionally, the higher power systems can be used to power electrified heaters to quickly heat a vehicle’s after-treatment catalyst to help reduce emissions.

According to Ben Karrer, director of Technology Development at Eaton’s eMobility business, DC-DC converters are an essential part of the company’s eMobility product portfolio and are used in a variety of vehicle applications. Many commercial vehicle manufacturers are transitioning to 48-volt architectures, so having the ability to efficiently convert power from high to low voltage is critical.

“We’re delighted to deliver power-conversion technology designed specifically to meet the demands of commercial vehicle electrical systems,” says Karrer.

Voltage Reduction

Eaton’s DC-DC converter takes power from a 48-volt system and reduces it to 24 volts. The bi-directional unit then further reduces the power to 12 volts for use in low-voltage systems and charges a 12-volt battery that stores power in case of a fault in the main power supply.

Eaton offers a family of DC-DC converters that adhere to Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) B functional requirements and can be optimised to work seamlessly with a manufacturer’s alternator specifications.

In recognition of the wide variety of diesel powered commercial vehicles operating on today’s roads, the converters can also be tuned so they can be adapted to be suitable specific duty cycles as a result of its advanced digital control architecture, enabling flexible control modes through firmware adaptation. In this way, the power converter can be used for light delivery vehicles, utility vehicles or heavier transport applications.

High Power Connectivity

The DC-DC power converter also features specialist high-power lock box (HPLB) power connectors. The HPLB connectors are designed by Royal Power Solutions, a manufacturer of high-precision electrical connectivity components that Eaton acquired earlier this year.

The DC-DC power converter’s HPLB terminals provide superior efficiency and reliability as well as protection against the elements, so the system is able to withstand the harsh environmental conditions encountered in commercial vehicle applications. Additionally, the HPLB terminals are waterproof up to one meter deep and strong enough to withstand high-pressure water spray.

Eaton’s DC-DC converter includes noise reduction and rejection technologies, so the unit is unaffected by and does not interfere with vehicle electronics. Additionally, unlike some similar technologies that are available, the design efficiency of Eaton’s air-cooled DC-DC converters reduces power loss over a wide operating range, while the innovative die-cast design features a fin pattern that delivers optimal thermal performance.

Karrer explains that the converter is rugged and robust, sealed against environmental factors such as salt spray and water and has high vibration resiliency.

“This unit is the ideal product for manufacturers that require a dependable method to manage the higher power loads found in modern commercial vehicles.”

Jonathan Newell
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