Linear voltage regulation is a technique used to maintain a constant voltage across a load, regardless of changes in the supply voltage or load current. It involves the use of a pass element, such as a bipolar or field effect transistor, connected in series with the load. The pass element is controlled by specific circuits that drive it to regulate the output voltage.
In linear voltage regulation, the pass element adjusts its conductivity to ensure a stable output voltage. It acts as a variable resistor, dissipating excess voltage as heat. By varying its resistance, the pass element compensates for changes in the input voltage or load current, keeping the output voltage constant.
Products within the linear voltage regulator family are designed to provide the necessary control function for use with an external pass element. These products are distinct from integrated linear regulators, which combine the pass element and control circuits in a single device package. In the case of linear voltage regulators, the control circuits are separate from the pass element, allowing for flexibility in choosing the appropriate pass element based on the specific application requirements.
By using external pass elements, linear voltage regulators offer advantages such as higher power handling capabilities, customization options, and improved thermal management. This flexibility allows designers to select pass elements with desired characteristics, such as low on-resistance, high current handling capabilities, or specific voltage ratings.
Linear voltage regulators find applications in various electronic systems where stable and precise voltage regulation is essential. They are commonly used in power supplies, battery charging circuits, audio amplifiers, and other sensitive electronic devices. Linear voltage regulation provides reliable and accurate voltage control, ensuring proper functioning and protection of components within the system.
In summary, linear voltage regulation involves the use of a pass element and control circuits to maintain a constant voltage across a load. Products within this family provide the control function for use with an external pass element, offering flexibility and customization options. Linear voltage regulators are widely used in electronic systems to ensure stable and precise voltage regulation, enhancing the performance and reliability of the overall system.