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I'm about to start my second PIC based project using a PIC16F688, and I have an old cell phone charger (Pantech 5V output). Should I use a regulator (or verify if the adapter is regulated)?

NOTE: I'm not sure what scenarios warrant the use of a regulator, and which scenarios do not. I'm using the microcontroller to interface with an LCD - so I'm also not sure how sensitive I should expect it to be to 'dirty' power.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Put a decent sized electrolytic across it and measure the voltage. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 30 '14 at 15:48
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Measure the no-load voltage with a meter and then measure it with full load. If the two voltages are both about 5V +/- 0.5 volts you may get away without a regulator (and that's if you need a 5V supply to your PIC). You might also need to add extra decoupling capacitors to avoid too much ripple or switching noise from the internal regulator it may use.

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