Wanna recharge your portable music player through its USB power interface, during a winter trip? Or like to energise a microcontroller based circuit using a single penlight cell? Here is an interesting circuit to generate stable and secure 5V DC (at 200mA max) from an ordinary 1.5V AA sized cell. At the heart of this circuit is IC1 MAX756 from Maxim, which is a CMOS step-up DC-DC switching regulator for small, low input voltage or battery-powered systems.
MAX756 accepts a positive input voltage down to 0.7V and converts it to a higher pin selectable output voltage of 5V (or 3.3V). Typical full-load efficiency for the this IC is greater than 87%. Max756 combine a switch-mode regulator with an N-channel MOSFET, precision voltage reference, and power-fail detector in a single monolithic device. The MOSFET is a “sense-FET” type for best efficiency, and has a very low gate threshold voltage to ensure start-up under low-battery voltage conditions (1.1V typ).
The circuit can be easily wired on a very small rectangular common PCB.All connections should be kept as short as possible. If available,try to add a good quality 8 pin DIP socket for IC1. Note that the power inductor’s (L1) DC resistance significantly affects efficiency. For highest efficiency, limit L1’s DC resistance to 0.03 Ohm or less. A thru-hole type standard power inductor can be used. Similarly, the ESR of all capacitors (bypass and filter) affects circuit efficiency. Best performance is obtained by using specialized low-ESR capacitors.