A buck converter is a step-down DC to DC converter. Its design is similar to the step-up boost converter, and like the boost converter it is a switched-mode power supply that uses two switches (a transistor and a diode), an inductor and a capacitor.
The simplest way to reduce the voltage of a DC supply is to use a linear regulator (such as a 7805), but linear regulators waste energy as they operate by dissipating excess power as heat. Buck converters, on the other hand, can be remarkably efficient (95% or higher for integrated circuits), making them useful for tasks such as converting the main voltage in a computer (12 V in a desktop, 12-24 V in a laptop) down to the 0.8-1.8 volts needed by the processor.
Famous quotes containing the word buck:
“How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers/The buck in the snow.”
—Edna St. Vincent Millay (18921950)