What is Voltage Regulator? Circuit, Types, Applications


Hi, in this article we are going to learn about voltage regulation and voltage regulators. In both electrical and electronic power systems, circuits, equipment, devices, voltage regulation is required. Voltage is the electrical pressure or potential difference that causes to flow of the electric current in a closed circuit. So, any fluctuation in the voltage can affect the flow of current. So the concept of voltage regulation came from the process of stabling or make constant the voltage. Here, we also see the voltage regulator circuits, Applications, and their working principle.

What is Voltage Regulator and Voltage Regulation?


The voltage regulation is the system or process that always maintains a constant voltage in its output while its input voltage or connected load is varying. And the circuit or device or component that does the voltage regulation process is called Voltage Regulator. So, the main objective or function of a voltage regulator is to regulate the voltage from a fluctuating voltage to a constant voltage. Voltage regulators use voltage step down, voltage step-up, current limiting, the current bypassing principles for their operations.


How does a Voltage Regulator Works? Working Principle


There are different types of voltage regulators are available and all of them work in different ways. But the function of all the voltage regulators is the same which means they all work to maintain a constant output voltage while input voltage and loads are varying.

Some voltage regulators work on the principle that they continuously compare the input voltage and output voltage with a precise reference voltage. When the input voltage increase it steps down the voltage. When the input voltage is decreased, it adds some extra voltage to the circuit from a reference voltage source and maintains a constant output voltage.

Some voltage regulators are working on the principle that they bypass the excess current when the input voltage increased from the output voltage. So the voltage across the load resistance always be constant. But remember, these voltage regulators are helpful when voltage is increased. If voltage is decreased under a certain level it cannot maintain the constant voltage at the output.




A simple Voltage Regulator Circuit


Here, you can see a basic circuit diagram of voltage regulator using Zener Diode.


Voltage Regulator Circuit Diagram, Circuit Diagram of Voltage regulator


This circuit will help you to understand easily how a voltage regulator works. This is a very simple circuit. Here, you can see a Zener diode rated of 6V is connected in parallel with opposite polarity to the circuit. Here, the main function of the Zener diode is when the reverse bias voltage goes above 6V it will start to conduct current. So when the input voltage of the circuit goes above 6V the Zener diode will start to bypass the excess current. Due to that a voltage drop will occur in the series resistance so the output voltage will remain constant at 6V.




Types of Voltage Regulators


There are mainly two types of voltage regulators such as,
  1. Linear Voltage Regulators
  2. Switching Voltage Regulators

Linear voltage regulators are further divided into two types-
  1. Series Voltage Regulators
  2. Shunt Voltage Regulators




Linear Voltage  Regulator


Linear Voltage regulators are those which work on the principle of voltage dividing, Current Limiting, or current bypassing. These regulator does not on or off the power supply, they working with continuous current flow. 

Series linear voltage regulators are working on the principle of voltage drop and current limiting. The variable component of the circuit is connected in series with the load and power supply. This series element provides variable resistance voltage drop to maintain the constant output voltage.

Shunt linear voltage regulators are those which work on the principle of current bypassing. Here, the variable component of the circuit is connected in parallel with the load and power supply. So when the voltage increases above the limit, it bypasses the extra current, so at the load side voltage and current remain constant.


Linear Voltage Regulators Advantages


1. The main advantage of Linear Voltage Regulators is no interruption in load current.

2. Simple Circuit Design.

3. Less Noise and Ripples.


Linear Voltage Regulator Disadvantages


The main disadvantage of the linear voltage regulator is power loss. Yes, as it works with resistance, so much power loss happens. Other disadvantages are low efficiency, voltage boosting, or voltage step-up not possible.




Switching Voltage Regulator


Switching voltage regulators are working on the principle of high-frequency switching. They have ultra-fast semiconductor switches such as MOSFET, IGBT, and feedback control circuits. The output voltage depends upon the speed of switching. So the feedback circuit continues to monitor the output voltage and control the speed of switching to maintain the constant output voltage.


Switching Voltage Regulator Advantages


The main advantages of switching voltage regulators are high efficiency and voltage boosting or voltage step up.


Switching Voltage Regulator Disadvantages


The main disadvantage of switching voltage regulators is high noise, complexity, and expense.


Voltage Regulator Applications


1. Voltage regulation system is used in electrical power transmission and distribution systems.

2. Electronic voltage regulators are used in computers and other sensitive electronic devices.

3. Voltage regulators are also used in motor controller circuits, driver circuits, etc.


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What is Voltage Regulator? Circuit, Types, Applications What is Voltage Regulator? Circuit, Types, Applications Reviewed by Author on 8/28/2021 Rating: 5
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