I'm just getting somewhat familiar with voltage regulators and am trying to make sure I'm understanding a bunch of parameters correctly.
I have a project that spends 1/3 of its time drawing 20uA, 1/3 drawing 40mA and 1/3 drawing 150mA. The project is powered by a 3 cell LiPo battery, meaning input voltages ranging between 9 and 12.4V. I'm trying to decide whether I should power the whole thing off a single LDO, a single switcher, or try to separate out the parts that push consumption to 150mA, and use an LDO for the low power part and the switcher as necessary for the high power.
I'm looking at an LDO with the following quiescent current (listed as ground current in the datasheet)
1mA @ 150mA output current 400uA @ 50mA output current 100uA @ 1mA output current
I'm also looking at a switching regulator with the following efficiency:
90% @ 150mA 90% @ 50mA 85% @ 1mA 60% @ 100uA
If I'm understanding the comparison correctly, then the LDO will pass along
(output current + the ground current) * output voltage and waste
(output current + the ground current) * voltage difference, which reduces to just
input voltage * (output current + ground current), meaning:
11.1V * (100uA + 20uA) = 13.2mW in the first state, and so on (the 11.1 is the nominal voltage of the battery, so it'll spend a fair bit of time there)
For the switcher, the total power consumption as I understand it is
Vout * Iout / Eff, so at that first state it would be
3.3V * 20uA / .6 = 1.1mW. My understanding was that for switchers, the quiescent current is factored into the efficiency graph you're given in the data sheet, hence steep fall-off at the start.
Is this right?