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## PS Voltage Regulation

Ideally, the output of most power supplies should be a constant voltage. Unfortunately, this is difficult to achieve. There are two factors that can cause the output voltage to change. First, the ac line voltage is not constant. The so-called 115 volts ac can vary from about 105 volts ac to 125 volts ac. This means that the peak ac voltage to which the rectifier responds can vary from about 148 volts to 177 volts. The ac line voltage alone can be responsible for nearly a 20 percent change in the dc output voltage.

The second factor that can change the dc output voltage is a change in the load resistance. In complex electronic equipment, the load can change as circuits are switched in and out. In a television receiver, the load on a particular power supply may depend on the brightness of the screen, the control settings, or even the channel selected.

These variations in load resistance tend to change the applied dc voltage because the power supply has a fixed internal resistance. If the load resistance decreases, the internal resistance of the power supply drops more voltage. This causes a decrease in the voltage across the load.

Many circuits are designed to operate with a particular supply voltage. When the supply voltage changes, the operation of the circuit may be adversely affected. Consequently, some types of equipment must have power supplies that produce the same output voltage regardless of changes in the load resistance or changes in the ac line voltage. This constant supply of power may be achieved by adding a circuit called the VOLTAGE REGULATOR at the output of the filter.

A commonly used FIGURE OF MERIT for a power supply is its PERCENT OF REGULATION. The figure of merit gives us an indication of how much the output voltage changes over a range of load resistance values. The percent of regulation aids us in determining of the type of load regulation needed. Percent of regulation is determined by the equation:

This equation compares the change in output voltage at the two loading extremes to the voltage produced at full loading. For example, assume that a power supply produces 12 volts when the load current is zero. If the output voltage drops to 10 volts when full load current flows, then the percent of regulation is:

Ideally, the output voltage should not change over the full range of operation. That is, a 12-volt power supply should produce 12 volts at no load, at full load, and at all points in between. In this case, the percent of regulation would be:

Thus, zero-percent load regulation is the ideal situation. It means that the output voltage is constant under all load conditions. While you should strive for zero percent load regulation, in practical circuits you must settle for something less. Even so, by using a voltage regulator, you can hold the percent of regulation to a very low value.

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