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# Linear power supply basics tutorial

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### Linear power supply basics tutorial

1. 1. Linear Power Supply Basics Tutorial - summary or tutorial about the basics of linear power supplies, their design, operation and advantages and disadvantages. In this section • Linear power supply basics • Shunt voltage regulator • Series voltage regulator Linear power supplies are widely used because of the advantages they offer in terms of overall performance. Linear power supplies are often used in exacting situations where the regulation and removal of noise is paramount. While linear power supplies may not be as efficient as other types of power supply technology, they offer the best performance and are therefore used in many applications where noise is of great importance. Often audio amplifiers and many other items of electronic equipment use linear power supplies to obtain the best performance. Linear power supply basics Linear power supplies gain their name from the fact that they use linear, i.e. non-switching techniques to regulate the voltage output from the power supply. The term linear power supply implies that the power supply is regulated to provide the correct voltage at the output. Sometimes the sensing of the voltage may be accomplished at the output terminals, or on some occasions it may be achieved directly at the load. In terms of the overall make-up of a linear power supply, it can be split into several blocks as detailed below. Block diagram of linear power supply architecture The main elements of the linear power supply are: • Input transformer: As many power supplies take their source power from an AC mains input, it is common for linear power supplies to have a step down or occasionally a step up transformer. This also serves to isolate the power supply from the mains input for safety. • Rectifier: As the input from an AC supply is alternating, this needs to be converted to a DC format. Various forms of rectifier circuit are available. Note on Diode Rectifiers: Diode rectifiers are an essential element within many circuits including power supplies and RF detectors. They convert the AC signal into DC. Various forms are available from single diode half wave rectifiers to multiple diode full-wave rectifiers. The type chose will depend upon the application and its requirements. Click for more information on Diode Rectifiers Even for DC powered regulators, a rectifier may be placed at the input to guard against inverse connection of the supply. • Smoothing: Once rectified from an AC signal, the DC needs to be smoothed to remove the varying voltage level. Large reservoir capacitors are used for this.