February 2019 - What is a Switching Regulator?
Published on: 07/02/2019
Discover the reasons why you should use a switching regulator and the benefits of using them
A switching regulator is designed to take small levels of energy from the input voltage source and move them to the output, this is achieved by the regulation of energy transferred to the output helped by an electrical switch and controller. They regulate energy transfer to maintain a constant output voltage within the current limits.
A switching regulator offers several advantages compared to linear regulators, including a high conversion efficiency of up to 95% and the fact they do not require external capacitors. They can easily power heavy loads from a high voltage source and can save engineers from splurging on an additional battery pack.
Switching regulators are used for single cell or multi cell battery powered applications and portable electronic devices such as phones, video game platforms, robots, digital cameras and computers. Switching current regulators are popular amongst engineers because they are used in complex circuit designs, helping to prevent short circuits and ensure over voltage and under voltage protection.
It is recommended for engineers to use switching regulators if your linear regulator is wasting significant watts of power. It is also worth considering using switching regulators over linear regulators if you are working on a large project, such as building an advanced robot or aeroplane, this is because a switching regulator on average adds 15% to your project cost but will provide on average 35% more battery life.