I would like to understand how to size the input and output capacitor of an LDO.
What I think to know:
- About the input capacitor:
The input capacitor is used for filtering high frequency input components.
Nevertheless in a perfect LDO, the drop voltage across the P-channel mosfet is adjusted so as to maintain the output voltage constant whatever the input signal as long as the input voltage is higher than the voltage drop across the P-channel mosfet plus the output voltage. So if the output voltage is constant, it means that the LDO filters all the AC components of the input signal. So why do we need to add an input capacitor? I think that the bandwidth of the LDO is not sufficiently large to filter all the AC component, especially the high AC components, so an input capacitor is added to filter what the LDO could not filter. Where I can find this information into the datasheet?
- About the output capacitor:
Suppose the load constant at the output of the LDO. The output voltage of an LDO is constant. So the output current is constant. Suppose the LDO is taking no current from the source. So the current taken from the source is equal to the output current and is CONSTANT over the time. So why do we need an output capacitor?
The reasons: During load transient, the output voltage will vary during a time depending on the bandwidth of the LDO. So an output capacitor can be used for helping the regulation. The other reason is for stability concerns.
Nevertheless, I have already seen 100 uF output capacitor on an LDO and a load around 500 mA under an output voltage equal to 5V. What I do not understand is that the output capacitance seems to be a function of the load, something that I do not understand. Does the stability problem imply to increase the output capacitor at this value and is function of the load? I could fairly understand that the overshoot or undershoot during load transient is dependant on the load, but what transient load need to have a 100 µF capacitor?
Here is the LDO.