16
\$\begingroup\$

This is the LDO regulator I am analyzing. While I was a referring to an existing design based on LP2951, it is noted there is an additional 1 Ω resistor at the output filter capacitor to ground.

Enter image description here

What is the purpose of adding a 1 Ω resistor? How is this value selected?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Some LDOs aren't stable with low ESR capacitors, so they generally recommend for example tantalum caps. Datasheets will sometimes have a graph showing ESRs which the regulator is stable with. You can look into that and add a series resistor to a ceramic cap for example to try to emulate that ESR. (The datasheet says that this LDO is stable with down to 0.01R, but I've been through situations where I make a PCB footprint compatible with multiple LDOs, so the resistor would be desirable) \$\endgroup\$ – Wesley Lee Jan 31 at 8:19
  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyLee: That's an answer. Would you like to post it as such? \$\endgroup\$ – JRE Jan 31 at 8:33
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I love tantalum. \$\endgroup\$ – PCARR Jan 31 at 20:18
34
\$\begingroup\$

The first easy to use 'one component' regulators to be produced, like the 7805, were NPN follower based. This meant they had a high(ish) dropout voltage. The low output impedance, and the unavailability of low ESR capacitors at the time, meant that they were stable into any pretty much any output capacitor.

To meet the demand for lower dropout voltage, PNP output stages were then used. These had a higher output impedance. When used with high ESR aluminium electrolytics these were usually stable for a range of values. The ESR of the capacitor allowed some non-phase-shifted (or fast) feedback to the control circuitry, which allowed them to remain stable.

Unfortunately, shortly after the introduction of LDOs, ceramic capacitors started getting big enough to be usable after regulators, at the same time as miniaturisation was demanding them. Designers started to use LDOs with very low ESR caps. This removed the fast feedback, and some early LDO designs became unstable as a result.

The series resistor in your diagram suggests that LP2951 is one of these older LDO designs, that requires a minimum ESR on the output capacitor to be stable. It's not needed for an electrolytic output cap, but will be needed for ceramic.

Newer LDOs have been designed to be stable with low ESR caps. These can be identified by explicit claims on the data sheet that they are stable with ceramic capacitors.

\$\endgroup\$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.