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What is the difference/practical consequence of using switched vs. linear charger controlling ICs and which one should I choose?

I understand that the switched regulators/chargers use a PWM while the linear ones use an adjustable voltage divider.

But how does that map on the practice? I need to charge a lead-acid (Yuasa 6V 1.2Ah) battery from the solar battery and I choose between TI's linear UC2906 and a switched UC2909.

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Linear regulators waste power because it is like using a variable resistor to control the charging current. Whatever current flows into the battery also flows thru the resistor and this generates heat.

A switcher wastes very little heat normally and could be more than 95% efficient. Very useful for limited power output from a solar cell.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What is the argument for using the linear ones then? \$\endgroup\$ – tml Dec 24 '13 at 9:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ Less EMI, simpler and can be tested with a simple meter springs to mind. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Dec 24 '13 at 10:30

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