Since I often find myself on the road with my battery drained out and because I intend to use my Eee Pc together with a GPS module as a navigation system I thought it would be a good idea to make myself a car charger. The charger would have to output 9,5 V 2.5A, and it would have to be able to maintain the output voltage constant over variations of the input voltage. Of-course there are lots of voltage regulators these days that would fit my circuit, but I chose to use the LM2576 because such a charger has already been build and tested here (also featured on Youritronics here).
Here is the schematic of the charger:
After ordering the needed parts I noticed that the inductor is slightly bigger than I expected it to be, so fitting the board into a small box became a bit of a problem. But I managed to designed the board so that it fits into the chosen box. I also fitted a medium sized TO-220 radiator so the circuit would dissipate the heat even in continuous use of the charger. The pcb was made using the photo etching technique and I tried spraying it with a mix of colophonium and alcohol that would act as a soldermask. The result is not pretty but I hope it will protect my board from corrosion.
After the soldermask dried it was only a matter of minutes until I assembled and tested it. The charger works great, the output voltage remains constant over continuous variations of the input voltage. Now all I have to do is close the box, solder a cigar lighter connector and pack it into my arm rest compartment.