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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Variable Voltage Regulator Circuit

This is a design for voltage regulator that can adjust from 1.25 to 37 volts. This circuit is a simple design. The voltage regulator is control by op amp LM317. The device also has built in current limiting and thermal shutdown which makes it essentially blow-out proof. This is the figure of the circuit.


Output voltage is set by two resistors R1 and R2 connected as shown below. The voltage across R1 is a constant 1.25 volts and the adjustment terminal current is less than 100uA. The output voltage can be closely approximated from Vout=1.25 * (1+(R2/R1)) which ignores the adjustment terminal current ``but will be close if the current through R1 and R2 is many times greater. A minimum load of about 10mA is required, so the value for R1 can be selected to drop 1.25 volts at 10mA or 120 ohms. Something less than 120 ohms can be used to insure the minimum current is greater than 10mA. The example below shows a LM317 used as 13.6 volt regulator. The 988 ohm resistor for R2 can be obtained with a standard 910 and 75 ohm in series. When power is shut off to the regulator the output voltage should fall faster than the input.

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