The top 10 linear voltage regulator

November 28, 2018faust

A linear voltage regulator is the basic building block of nearly every power supply used in electronics. It is so easy to use that it is virtually foolproof and so inexpensive that it is usually one of the cheapest components in an electronic assembly. The main purpose of it is to provide a stable output voltage and contains circuitry that continuously holds the output voltage at the design value regardless of changes in load current or input voltage.

Linear regulators come in many varieties. Some linear regulators have fixed outputs. Some have outputs programmable by a voltage divider with a resistor. Some regulate negative voltages. Low-dropout regulators, known as LDOs, have a small dropout voltage. Some linear regulators include battery charging smarts. Some are complex, programmable chips used in automated test equipment. It is common to linear regulators to have over-temperature shutdown.

Choosing for a linear voltage regulator has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some advantages are its simple design since it is not required a lot of external components for the operation of these regulators, low noise compared to switching regulators, it is also easy to implement in a PCB layout because it is not needed a time-consuming evaluation process due to its Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC).

In terms of efficiency, switching regulators take the lead since linear regulators have low efficiency due to its dissipation of energy in the form of heat so is important to pay attention to the expected heat dissipation and be sure to use adequate heat-sinking or a copper fill to manage the temperature rise.

The ripple rejection capability and the fast-transient response make possible for these regulators to be used in applications that noise cannot exist as communication, audio, video and medical devices.

Finally, another advantage is the price, these are almost always cheaper and reduce the bill of materials for your project.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of a linear voltage regulator, the designer should also consider the parameters in choosing what kind of linear voltage regulator to be used in his design. These are: knowing the maximum input voltage, the input-output voltage differential or what we call Vdropout, the current rating, and temperature rating.

When power efficiency isn’t a concern, or when the input voltage is only slightly higher than the output voltage, the best choice is usually a linear regulator. On the other hand, if power efficiency is a key concern, or the input voltage is much higher than the desired output voltage, then a buck switching converter is the better choice.

As with all aspects of engineering, there are always trade-offs between various solutions.  Many times the best solution is a switching regulator followed by a linear regulator.  This way you get the best of both worlds: efficiency and a super clean output voltage. Popular manufacturers for Linear voltage regulators on SnapEDA include Microchip, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Fairchild Semiconductor.

Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Linear Voltage Regulators on SnapEDA!

#10 – LM3940IMP-3.3 by Texas Instruments

Image of LM3940IMP-3.3 by Texas InstrumentsThis low dropout regulator has 5.5V Maximum input voltage, 3.3V output voltage, 1A output current, 0.5V Dropout voltage and -40°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: $1.49

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#9 – LP2985-33DBVR by Texas Instruments

Image of LP2985-33DBVR by Texas Instruments

This low dropout regulator has 16V maximum input voltage, 3.3V output voltage, 150mA output current, 0.58V dropout voltage and -40°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: $1.72

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#8 – L78M05CDT by STMicroelectronics

Image of L78M05CDT by STMicroelectronics

This positive regulator has 35V maximum input voltage, 5V output voltage, 500mA output current, 2V dropout voltage and 0°C to 150°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: N/A

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#7 – LM2576-5.0WU by Microchip

Image of MIC29302WU by Microchip

This buck switching regulator has 40V maximum input voltage, 5V output voltage, 3A output current and -40°C to 85°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: $2.13

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#6 – LD1117S33CTR by STMicroelectronics

Image of LD1117S33CTR by STMicroelectronics

This low drop voltage regulator has, 15V maximum input voltage 15V, 3.3V output voltage, 800mA output current, 1.3V maximum dropout voltage and -40°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: $0.23

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#5 – L7805CV by STMicroelectronics

Image of L7805CV by STMicroelectronics

This positive regulator has 35V maximum input voltage, 5V output voltage, 1.5A maximum output current, 2V dropout voltage and 0°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: $0.41

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#4 – AP2112K-3.3TRG1 by Diodes Inc.

AP2112K-3.3TRG1 Diodes Incorporated | AP2112K-3.3TRG1DICT-ND DigiKey Electronics

This positive regulator has 6V maximum input voltage, 3.3V output voltage, 600mA maximum output current, 0.4V Dropout voltage and -40°C to 85°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: $0.24

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#3 – LM1117MP-3.3 by Texas Instruments

Image of LM1117MP-3.3 by Texas Instruments

This low dropout regulator has 15V maximum input voltage, 3.3V output voltage, 800mA maximum output current, 1.2 dropout voltage and 0°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: N/A

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#2 – MIC29302WU by Microchip

Image of MIC29302WU by Microchip

This low dropout regulator has 26V maximum input voltage, 3.3V output voltage, 3A output current, 0.6V maximum dropout voltage and  -40°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: N/A

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And the Top Linear Voltage Regulator on SnapEDA is…

 

 

#1- LM7805 by Fairchild Semiconductor

LM7805CT ON Semiconductor | LM7805CT-ND DigiKey Electronics

This positive regulator has 35V maximum input voltage, 5V output voltage, 1A maximum output current, 2V maximum dropout voltage and -40°C to 125°C junction temperature range.

The average price across distributors: N/A

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* This data was collected via SnapEDA’s analytics by looking at downloads from its part model library (symbols, footprints, and 3D models). Millions of parts are evaluated on SnapEDA annually, however, if a part isn’t in our database it will not show up on this list. We’re continually increasing coverage and will update this list periodically!

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