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Voltage Regulator

Definition - What does Voltage Regulator mean?

A voltage regulator is an electricity regulation device designed to automatically convert voltage into a lower, usually direct current (DC), constant voltage.

The term may refer to a voltage regulator integrated circuit (IC), which is often found in computers and other electronic devices that are plugged directly into an alternating current (AC) wall outlet but require only a small DC voltage.

The term can also refer to voltage regulation or power module devices, such as cell phone and laptop chargers. Some regulators do not increase or decrease a device's voltage, but merely ensure constant output value.

Techopedia explains Voltage Regulator

Voltage regulators are usually used to regulate voltage down to a lower value and to provide this value constantly over time. Such a device could be as simple as a feed-forward design or it could be more complex and include negative feedback loops.

There are two kinds of voltage regulators:

  • Electronic: These use pure electronic components such as diodes, resistors and capacitors and usually come as integrated circuits already rated for specific voltages and current output.
  • Electromechanical: These make use of moving mechanical parts to regulate voltage. The mechanical part is usually a solenoid that moves according to the size of the incoming current and voltage, and moves accordingly to cut off the input when there is a surge. A capacitor then provides the regulated output.
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