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Linear DC-DC

Today’s light vehicles can have upwards of a hundred-plus modules to support the growing number of electronic functions. Each one of these modules has specific power requirements. Automotive low-dropout (LDO) voltage regulators offer advantages over standard DC-DC regulators including; the absence of switching noise, smaller device size, and greater design simplicity. When you need a voltage regulator for your circuit and do not have much voltage head room, the best option may be to use an LDO regulator. Normal regulators need voltage headroom of roughly 3 V to allow good regulation, but LDO regulators can do with a lot less – on the order of a few 100 millivolts. In applications, LDO regulators primarily isolate a sensitive load from a noisy power source. The pass transistor or the MOSFET regulating and maintaining the output voltage is always on and dissipates continuous power. This is different from switching regulators, which work as on-off switches. That makes LDO regulators less efficient, and designers must handle the related thermal issues. System power requirements primarily drive the use of LDO regulators as voltage regulators. Since they are linear devices, they are also used for noise reduction and for fixing problems related to EMI and PCB routing.
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