Regulator Loss Cutter Circuit

Posted on Mar 19, 2013

Large input-to-output voltage differentials, caused by wide input voltage variations, reduce a linear regulator`s efficiency and increase its power dissipation. A switching preregulator can reduce this power dissipation by minimizing the voltage drop across an adjustable linear regulator to a constant 1.5-V value. The circuit operates the LT1084 at slightly above its dropout voltage. To minimize power dissipation, a low-dropout linear regulator was chosen. The LT1084 functions as a conventional adjustable linear regulator with an output voltage that can be varied from 1.25 to 30 V.

Regulator Loss Cutter Circuit
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Without the preregulator (for a 40-V input and a 5-V output at 5 A), it would be virtually impossible to find a heatsink large enough to dissipate enough energy to keep the linear-regulator junction temperature below its maximum value. With the preregulator technique, however, the linear regulator will dissipate only 7.5 W under worst-case loading conditions for the entire input- voltage range of 15 to 40 V. Even under a short-circuit fault condition, the 1.5-V drop across the LT1084 is maintained.

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