Regulated Power Supply

INTRODUCTION

Almost all basic household electronic circuits need an unregulated AC to be converted to constant DC, in order to operate the electronic device. All devices will have a certain power supply limit and the electronic circuits inside these devices must be able to supply a constant DC voltage within this limit. That is, all the active and passive electronic devices will have a certain DC operating point (Q-point or Quiescent point), and this point must be achieved by the source of DC power. The DC power supply is practically converted to each and every stage in an electronic system. Thus a common requirement for all this phases will be the DC power supply. All low power system can be run with a battery. But, for long time operating devices, batteries could prove to be costly and complicated. The best method used is in the form of an unregulated power supply –a combination of a transformer, rectifier and a filter. The diagram is shown below.

Unregulated Power Supply - Diagram
Unregulated Power Supply – Diagram

As shown in the figure above, a small step down transformer is used to reduce the voltage level to the devices needs. In India, a 1 Ø supply is available at 230 volts. The output of the transformer is a pulsating sinusoidal AC voltage, which is converted to pulsating DC with the help of a rectifier. This output is given to a filter circuit which reduces the AC ripples, and passes the DC components. But here are certain disadvantages in using an unregulated power supply.

1. Poor Regulation - When the load varies, the output does not appear constant. The output voltage changes by a great value due to the huge change in current drawn from the supply. This is mainly due to the high internal resistance of the power supply (>30 Ohms).

2. AC Supply Main Variations - The maximum variations in AC supply mains is give or take 6% of its rated value . But this value may go higher in some countries (180-280 volts). When the value is higher it’s DC voltage output will differ largely.

3. Temperature Variation - The use of semiconductor devices in electronic devices may cause variation in temperature.

These variations in dc output voltage may cause inaccurate or erratic operation or even malfunctioning of many electronic circuits. For instance, in oscillators the frequency will shift, in transmitters output will get distorted, and in amplifiers the operating point will shift causing bias instability.

All the above listed problems are overcome with the help of a  voltage regulator which is employed in conjunction with an unregulated power supply. Thus, the ripple voltage is largely reduced. Thus, the supply becomes a regulated power supply.

The internal circuitry of a regulated power supply also contains certain current limiting circuits which helps the supply circuit from getting fried from inadvertent circuits. Nowadays, all the power supplies use IC’s to reduce ripples, enhance voltage regulation and for widened control options. Programmable power supplies are also available to allow remote operation that is useful in many settings.

REGULATED POWER SUPPLY

Regulated power supply is an electronic circuit that is designed to provide a constant dc voltage of predetermined value across load terminals irrespective of ac mains fluctuations or load variations.

As shown in the figure, the two main parts of a regulated power supply are a simple power supply and a voltage regulating device. The power supply output is given as input to the voltage regulating device that provides the final output. The voltage output of the power supply remains constant irrespective of large variations in the input AC voltage or output load current.

Given below is a circuit diagram of a regulated power supply circuit using a transistor series regulator as a regulating device. The input AC voltage (230 Voltas Vrms), is supplied to a transformer. The output will be a stepped down ac output appropriate for the desired dc output. This ac voltage is then given to a bridge rectifier to produce a full-wave rectified output. This is then given to a pi-filter circuit to produce a dc voltage. The filter output may have some ac voltage variations and ripples. This is further filtered using a regulating circuit whose output will be a constant dc voltage. This regulated dc voltage is then given to a voltage divider, which supplies the different dc voltages that may be needed for different electronic circuits.

The potential divider is a single tapped resistor connected across the output terminals of the supply. The tapped resistor may consist of two or three resistors connected in series across the supply. A bleeder resistor may also be employed as a potential divider.

Power Supply Characteristics

The quality of the power supply is determined by various characteristics like load voltage, load current, voltage regulation, source regulation, output impedance, ripple rejection, and so on. Some of the characteristics are briefly explained below:

1. Load Regulation - The load regulation or load effect is the change in regulated output voltage when the load current changes from minimum to maximum value.

Load regulation = Vno-load – Vfull-load

 Vno-load – Load Voltage at no load

Vfull-load – Load voltage at full load.

From the above equation we can understand that when Vno-load occurs the load resistance is infinite, that is, the out terminals are open circuited. Vfull-load occurs when the load resistance is of the minimum value where voltage regulation is lost.

% Load Regulation = [(Vno-load - Vfull-load)/Vfull-load] * 100

2. Minimum Load Resistance - The load resistance at which a power supply delivers its full-load rated current at rated voltage is referred to as minimum load resistance.

Minimum Load Resistance = Vfull-load/Ifull-load

The value of Ifull-load, full load current should never increase than that mentioned in the data sheet of the power supply.

3. Source/Line Regulation - In the block diagram, the input line voltage has a nominal value of 230 Volts but in practice, there are considerable variations in ac supply mains voltage. Since this ac supply mains voltage is the input to the ordinary power supply, the filtered output of the bridge rectifier is almost directly proportional to the ac mains voltage.

The source regulation is defined as the change in regulated output voltage for a specified rage of line voltage.

4. Output Impedance - A regulated power supply is a very stiff dc voltage source. This means that the output resistance is very small. Even though the external load resistance is varied, almost no change is seen in the load voltage. An ideal voltage source has an output impedance of zero.

5. Ripple Rejection - Voltage regulators stabilize the output voltage against variations in input voltage. Ripple is equivalent to a periodic variation in the input voltage. Thus, a voltage regulator attenuates the ripple that comes in with the unregulated input voltage. Since a voltage regulator uses negative feedback, the distortion is reduced by the same factor as the gain.

REGULATED POWER SUPPLY

Regulated power supply is an electronic circuit that is designed to provide a constant dc voltage of predetermined value across load terminals irrespective of ac mains fluctuations or load variations.

Regulated Power Supply - Block Diagram
Regulated Power Supply – Block Diagram

A regulated power supply essentially con­sists of an ordinary power supply and a volt­age regulating device, as illustrated in the figure. The output from an ordinary power supply is fed to the voltage regulating device that provides the final output. The output voltage remains constant irrespective of variations in the ac input voltage or variations in output (or load) current.

Figure given below shows the complete circuit of a regulated power supply with a transistor series regulator as a regulating device. The ac voltage, typically 230 Vrms is connected to a transformer which transforms that ac voltage to the level for the desired dc output. A bridge rectifier then provides a full-wave rectified voltage that is initially filtered by a ∏ (or C-L-C) filter to produce a dc voltage. The resulting dc voltage usually has some ripple or ac voltage variation. A regulating circuit use this dc input to provide a dc voltage that not only has much less ripple voltage but also remains constant even if the input dc voltage varies somewhat or the load connected to the output dc voltage changes. The regulated dc supply is available across a voltage divider.

Regulated Power Supply - Diagram
Regulated Power Supply – Diagram

Often more than one dc voltage is required for the operation of electronic circuits. A single power supply can provide as many as voltages as are required by using a voltage (or potential) divider, as illustrated in the figure. As illustrated in the figure, a potential divider is a single tapped resistor connected across the output terminals of the supply. The tapped resistor may consist of two or three resistors connected in series across the supply. In fact, bleeder resistor may also be employed as a potential divider.

Power Supply Characteristics

 There are various factors that determine the quality of the power supply like the load voltage, load current, voltage regulation, source regulation, output impedance, ripple rejection, and so on. Some of the characteristics are briefly explained below:

1. Load Regulation – The load regulation or load effect is the change in regulated output voltage when the load current changes from minimum to maximum value.

Load regulation = Vno-load – Vfull-load

 Vno-load – Load Voltage at no load

Vfull-load – Load voltage at full load.

From the above equation we can understand that when Vno-load occurs the load resistance is infinite, that is, the out terminals are open circuited. Vfull-load occurs when the load resistance is of the minimum value where voltage regulation is lost.

% Load Regulation = [(Vno-load - Vfull-load)/Vfull-load] * 100

2. Minimum Load Resistance – The load resistance at which a power supply delivers its full-load rated current at rated voltage is referred to as minimum load resistance. 

Minimum Load Resistance = Vfull-load/Ifull-load

The value of Ifull-load, full load current should never increase than that mentioned in the data sheet of the power supply.

3. Source/Line Regulation – In the block diagram, the input line voltage has a nominal value of 230 Volts but in practice, here are considerable variations in ac supply mains voltage. Since this ac supply mains voltage is the input to the ordinary power supply, the filtered output of the bridge rectifier is almost directly proportional to the ac mains voltage. 

The source regulation is defined as the change in regulated output voltage for a specified rage of lie voltage.

4. Output Impedance – A regulated power supply is a very stiff dc voltage source. This means that the output resistance is very small. Even though the external load resistance is varied, almost no change is seen in the load voltage. An ideal voltage source has an output impedance of zero.

5. Ripple Rejection – Voltage regulators stabilize the output voltage against variations in input voltage. Ripple is equivalent to a periodic variation in the input voltage. Thus,a voltage regulator attenuates the ripple that comes in with the unregulated input voltage. Since a voltage regulator uses negative feedback, the distortion is reduced by the same factor as the gain. 

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9 Responses to “Regulated Power Supply”

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  • shubham nagulwar says:

    what are the different components that can be used in a voltage regulator like IC transistor etc what all things are required

  • Bayo says:

    I want to design an AC voltage regulator which requires a 28v input as its maximum, what is the necessary transformer and or what circuit should I adopt?
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