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When it comes to voltage regulation or wattage control there are many different devices and gadgets that play their part in keeping a constant level of wattage flowing in a power circuit. Normally these devices are referred to as voltage regulators. Here we will be only referring to the voltage regulators used in consumer digital electronics like a alarm clock or any simply day to day electronic device you may use and how the regulator inside them actually works.

You will normally find the regulator here attach to the power supply just inside the item or device in question. It will be a small device with three pins in it also connected to the power supply. there are two common types of regulators used here one for DC current and one for AC current.

They look similar both having three pins in them. The DC voltage regulators are called IC’s and have a number code associated with it. For instance a 5 volt regulator for DC current would be called 7805IC and a 12 volt would be called 7812IC. The AC ones are called TRIAC this is short for triode AC switch. Here we are focusing on The DC voltage regulators.

First the purpose of the regulator is to control or limit the amount of voltage that goes through it. For instance if the item in question is connected to a nine volt battery but only need 5 volts to run then the voltage regulator will only send 5 volts and the other 4 volts will be discarded as heat.

For the three pin voltage regulator the first pin is voltage in from the power supply, the second pin in the ground, and the third pin is volt out to the device. So in an electrical circuit using an 7809IC regulator and a 12 volt battery you would connect the positive of the battery to pin number one sending 9 volts to the regulator. Next you would connect the negative of the battery to the number two pin the ground. Lastly the number three pin wound be connected the device where the nine volts is sent.

A two things to remember when working with IC regulators. First the power input source needs to be two or more volts higher than the required output volts. For instance you cant use a nine volt battery on a twelve volt regulator it will not be able to make more volts. Next it is important that you know that the discarded volts are discarded as heat. So if you use a nine volt battery on a five volt regulator you will be OK. But not if you use a twelve volt battery on a five volt regulator there is a chance all the extra heat will melt the regulator. Not to worry some regulators have the option of attaching a heat sink.

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