I am designing a circuit that uses an LDO to produce 3.3v from a 10 to 18v input. I sometimes will need 1.2 amps from this regulator and at other times I only need microamps. When I need even less I can shut down the regulator but there will be times when I need regulation and my circuit will only draw possibly .5 or 1 milliamp. My circuit contains a microcontroller.
My datasheet says my LDO requires 5ma minimum load. It's a Micrel/Microchip MIC29150.
So my question is, other than putting a resistor on one of the GPIO pins of my micrcontroller and burning off electricity at around 5ma when I want to, are there any other techniques I can use that are better?
One of my thoughts were to put a zener in series with a resistor so that if the voltage goes over 3.5 or so that it burned off some milliamps but that seems dangerous to me.