Comparison between Linear and Switching voltage regulator
- The Key Difference between Linear and Switching voltage regulator are below the table.
|Linear voltage regulator||Switching voltage regulator|
|Power loss||The Series-Pass transistor operates in active region. Hence, there is high power loss.||Switching device operates in either cut-off or saturation region. So losses are less.|
|Efficiency||Due to high power loss efficiency is less||Due to high power loss efficiency is less|
|Power handling capability||Less or moderate||More compared to linear regulators.|
|Frequency, Size & Weight||Bulky components||Operates at high frequency. So, filtering components & transformer have very small size|
|Transient Response||Much better||Much better|
|Cost||At low power levels, linear regulators are cheaper||At power levels above a few watts, switching regulators are cheaper|
|RFI||Best when low output (and low RFI radiated noise) is required||High|
|Switching loss||No loss||Very high at high frequency|
Switching voltage regulator
- Switching Voltage regulator or Switch-mode power converter (SMPS) is a power electronic system, which converts one level of electrical energy to another level of electric energy at the load by switching action.
- Switching regulators rapidly switch a series device on and off.
- The duty cycle of the switch sets how much charge is transferred to the load.
- This is controlled by a similar feedback mechanism as in a linear regulator.
- Because the series element is either fully conducting, or switched off, it dissipates almost no power and because of this, its efficiency is high.
- Switching regulators are also able to generate output voltages that are higher than the input, or of opposite polarity — something not possible with a linear design.
- Like linear regulators, nearly complete switching regulators are also available as integrated circuits. Unlike linear regulators, these usually require an inductor that acts as the energy storage element