The Importance of DC-to-DC Power Conversion for the Military

Conflict has always been a driver of innovation—necessity is the mother of invention and where solutions are needed they will be found. But sometimes the innovation needed to turn the tides for the armed forces begins its life with a civilian application, and must be adapted for the battlefield. This is the case for power converters.


What is DC-to-DC Power Conversion?

Some of you reading might be mystified as to why it would be necessary to create a technology that apparently turns a thing into itself. The fact of the matter is that electronic devices do not simply run on electricity—they run on a specific voltage of electricity. Too much voltage can lead to spikes and surges, which can damage equipment and even create danger for the users. Too little, meanwhile, can be just as disastrous; equipment will damage itself trying to draw enough power to carry out its functions.

A DC-to-DC converter, then, is a component that can change the voltage of a current. In earlier times converters would change the Direct Current of electricity into an Alternating Current, but these solutions were fairly expensive and relatively inefficient. Current DC-to-DC conversion technology was developed to fill this need and is employed everywhere from in laptops to solar panels and wind farms, where they are used to maximize energy output. And of course, they are employed by the military, too.


What Does the Military Need DC-to-DC-Conversion for?

For all the reasons mentioned above, power conversion is a concern for anyone designing or using technology, and in the modern era no army can function without the vast array of machines that have been developed to support them.

One major and obvious example would be their iconic vehicles. While the need for power conversion is just as great in these vehicles, they also present other engineering challenges—after all, they can expect to experience rougher treatment than the average laptop or mobile phone. These challenges are what led to the development of the MCA200, a converter in use in modern military vehicles, custom designed by contracted experts to tackle just those problems. Using a base design specifically adapted to cope with temperamental power sources prone to power surges, and voltage spikes and ripples, the unit incorporates multiple stages of conversion to keep as steady a flow of power as possible even while the vehicle is shocked and jolted by its own weapon fire and external dangers.

Conflict necessitates new developments, and these can come from any direction, and be repurposed for peaceful purposes as well.

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