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Differentiate between linear regulator and switching regulator.

Subject: Liner Integrated Circuits

Topic: Special Purpose Integrated Circuits

Difficulty: Low

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# A DC/DC converter that stabilizes the voltage is often referred to as a voltage regulator.

## ## Comparing Linear and Switching regulator ##

| Linear Regulator | Switching regulator | | ------------- |-------------| | | | | A linear regulator is one where a linear component (such as a resistive load) is used to regulate the output.| A switching regulator is a voltage regulator that uses a switching element to transform the incoming power supply into a pulsed voltage, which is then smoothed using capacitors, inductors, and other elements.| |It is also called as a series regulator because the control elements are arranged in series between the input and output.|| |The regulatorâ€™s resistance varies according to the load and results in a constant output voltage.|Power is supplied from the input to the output by turning ON a switch (MOSFET) until the desired voltage is reached. Repeating this operation at high speeds makes it possible to supply voltage efficiently and with less heat generation.The switchâ€™s duty cycle sets the amount of charge transferred to the load. | | Linear regulators require an input voltage at least some minimum amount higher than the desired output voltage. That minimum amount is called the dropout voltage | They store the input energy temporarily and then releasing that energy to the output at a different voltage level.| | Only step-down (buck) operation is possible | Boost / buck / negative voltage operation is possible | | Linear regulators are normally inefficient because the difference between the input voltage and regulated output voltage is continually dissipated as heat.|Switching regulators are efficient because the series element is either fully conducting or switched off so it dissipates almost no power.| |It has simple circuit configuration with few external parts and hence low cost design| It requires more external parts and its design is a bit complicated and expensive | | Low noise operation | Switching operation makes it noisy | |Linear regulators are a great choice for powering very low powered devices or applications where the difference between the input voltage and output voltage is small | Switching regulators caters to today's applications which demand low power consumption under various load conditions, less space, high reliability, high efficiency and low quiescent current |

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