computer hardware, consumer electronics, electronic components  

Voltage regulator

A voltage regulator is a switching power supply that supplies a steady, typically low, voltage to a load. Power management control systems including voltage regulators are incorporated within electronic devices to generate a stable output voltage from a varying input voltage supply. A voltage regulator regulates the external power supplied to the internal circuitry such that the current usage or quiescent power is efficient. Typical voltage regulator circuits regulate an output voltage responsive to an input reference voltage. The voltage regulator circuit feeds back the regulated output voltage to a comparator through a resistor circuit. The resistor circuit varies its resistance such that a voltage regulator circuit provides various required voltage levels for operating a semiconductor memory device. Linear voltage regulators are widely used to supply power to electronic devices, such as to a load on a motherboard of a computer. Such linear voltage regulators are available in a wide variety of configurations for many different applications. A typical linear voltage regulator includes a resistive voltage divider, a three-terminal adjustable shunt regulator, and a regulating transistor. The resistive voltage divider receives an output voltage, and provides a voltage reference to the three-terminal adjustable shunt regulator. The three-terminal adjustable shunt regulator receives the voltage reference, and provides a controlling voltage to the regulating transistor. The regulating transistor receives a system voltage, and provides the output voltage to a load. Line voltage regulators are used to control the voltage applied to a load. A phase angle control technique can be used to adjust the effective voltage applied across the load by phase shifting the gate pulses of switching devices used in the voltage adjusting circuit. Low dropout voltage regulators may be utilized in a variety of electronic devices including laptop computers, portable phones, personal digital assistants, and the like, to provide a regulated output voltage to a load. LDO voltage regulators enable power management systems to efficiently supply additional voltage levels that are smaller than the main supply voltage. Low dropout voltage regulators are widely used building blocks in almost any electronic application. They adapt an external power supply to the needs of the supplied circuit. In portable applications as in mobile phones a main requirement for the voltage regulator is a low dropout voltage and a good stability over a large range of capacitive loads.

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