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Series Voltage Regulators

Series Voltage Regulators

When it comes to electrical works, a linear regulator is crucial as it is a system used to maintain the constant amount of voltage being generated. This regulating device is responsible for functioning as a ‘variable resistor’ that manages the voltage divider to maintain a constant voltage output while constantly disintegrating the input and regulated voltage. However, take note that there are many different types of voltage regulators to fit the type of your electrical needs. One of these is the linear regulators that come into two basic forms, they are shunt regulators and series regulators. 

In today’s article, we will discuss what a series regulator is and its difference from the other type.

What is Voltage Regulator?

Series regulator or series pass voltage regulator is the more common form of a linear regulator. Compared to the shunt regulator, this one is more efficient since it can drop the voltage difference between the input and the required stabilized voltage while the shunt draws the current that is not needed by the load to maintain its voltage. Also, a series voltage regulator usually only sources the (supply) current, unlike shunt regulators.

The advantage of the series voltage regulator is that the amount of current drawn is effective than used by the load, although some will be consumed by any circuitry associated with the regulator. Unlike the shunt voltage regulator, the series regulator does not draw the full current even when the load does not require any current. As a result, the series voltage regulator is considerably more efficient.

How do Series Regulators work?

Generally, the series regulators work by setting a path from the supply voltage to the load through a variable resistor.  Usually, a series pass transistor is used. It is located in the top half of the voltage divider, whereas the bottom half is the load. The series regulator uses a variable element placed in the series together with the load. Once the resistance of the series element changes, the voltage drop across it can be varied to make sure that the voltage across the load stays constant.

Usually, for more efficiency and to reduce stress on the pass transistor, manufacturers minimize its voltage drop. However, not all circuits regulate well once the input voltage meets the required output voltage halfway. Those that can do it are termed, Low Dropout regulators. 

Series Voltage Regulator Cost

With a $20 budget on hand, you can start purchasing the cheapest but reasonably basic voltage regulators. The regulators ranging to this price typically require a manual setup in a DC setup, making it time-consuming to install. Whereas, the average cost of many linear voltage regulators ranges from $30 to $50. They are usually very basic, but you may find them either in AC or DC setups. If you look for higher prices, you will find some really expensive products. Usually, these regulators are equipped with advanced technology, making them more durable, easy to set up, and have precise regulators.

Conclusion: Is it Worth it to Purchase Series Voltage Regulators?

Series voltage regulators have the advantages of simplicity and convenience. Not to mention that their output does not cause switching spikes that you can usually see on some switch mode supplies. However, these regulators have relatively lower efficiency levels than the switch-mode power supply. Good thing, manufacturers keep on improving their performance and functionality.