What Are DC/DC Converters For Railways?

DC/DC converters are commonly used in railway environments to convert DC battery voltages to a lower voltage which can be used for the control of energy circuits across the entire railway. Railway rolling stock traditionally uses the DC power distribution system so that batteries can be used across trains to maintain electrical power in the event of an emergency. Even if a generator completely fails, DC power can still be delivered to the train through the power distribution system. Converters need to be constructed according to EN 50155 standards to ensure that the system can remain safe even when impacted by a series of environmental conditions. The main operation applications for DC/DC converters often occur in railway rolling stock, onboard via trackside operation, in industrial applications, in high-voltage battery powered applications as well as over distributed power supply architectures.

There are also a series of factors across the railway that can change the operation of these DC/DC power solutions. Based off of mechanical impact, vibration, heat, or frost there can be serious damage and a toll that it is taken on electronic devices. A DC/DC converter needs to be properly tested in tough conditions and continue to work reliably for maintenance over the entire system.

According to the defined requirements for information systems on electronic components, these converters need to applied under extreme tests for vibration, shock heat and cold. Minimum requirements for the min and max temperature, humidity controls and shock and vibration are all delivered for expected useful lifespan.

DC/DC converters also need to have an operational lifespan of around 20 years for environmental testing to be considered a pass. Components are built to last and intensive tests are carried out to make sure that all materials and monitoring systems can last for a projected lifespan in excess of two decades.

As well as providing power regulation solutions on locomotives, these DC/DC converters are built to last.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Swartz Engineering. For nearly a half a century, Swartz Engineering has been at the forefront of industry safety. They are a family-owned company specializing in power distribution for the electrical industry. They are the leading manufacturer of DC 82 relay. DC 82 relay is designed to be used on light and heavy rail systems.