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Sparkos Labs has created a family of discrete voltage regulators designed to replace 78xx / 79xx / 1117xx and adjustable style regulators. They are available in a TO-220 compatible package and come in 3 industry standard pin-outs. These discrete devices have a fixed output voltage range from +/-3.3V to +/-24V with over 1 Amp of available output current. They can be used to replace the inferior monolithic voltage regulators in audio systems to improve power supply performance.
- 125dB Input Rejection
- 3uV RMS Noise @5Vo, 5.8uVRMS Noise @ 15Vo (20Hz – 20KHz)
- Excellent Transient Response
- < 2V Dropout Voltage
- Stable With Ceramic And Low ESR Output Capacitors
- 1 Amp Output Current (Internally Limited And Protected)
- Fully Discrete Design – Right Down To The Error Amplifier
- On – Board 10uF Tantalum Polymer Output Capacitor
- Precision Thin Film 0.1% Tolerance Resistors
- +/- 1.5% Output voltage accuracy
- Available With Positive Or Negative Fixed Output Voltage Of 3.3V – 24V
- Available In 3 Industry Standard Pin Outs
Why Discrete Regulators? These discrete voltage
regulators will outperform all monolithic voltage
regulators in a TO-220 package in input rejection,
output noise, transient response, and line and load
regulation. The table below details the vastly superior performance of the Sparkos Labs devices to a wide array of monolithic voltage regulators.
The discrete design of these devices allows for
numerous internal capacitors which are impossible
to fabricate in a Monolithic IC. There is an onboard
output decoupling capacitor which eliminates
the need to add one externally. The error amplifier
of the device is also fully discrete and is based on
the SS3601 discrete op amp slightly modified for
this application. The internal reference voltage is a
precision shunt reference with post RC filtering for
extremely low noise performance.
These discrete devices are a series pass design with a fully discrete error amplifier that compares a feedback voltage to a reference voltage, and in turn controls the pass device.
Mechanical Fit: These discrete devices are the smallest on the market and have the best mechanical fit in the industry. At only 450 mils [11.4MM] wide, these devices are only a mere 50 mils [1.3MM] wider than a standard TO220 package, allowing them to fit in the narrowest of heat sinks. They are short enough to fit the existing heat sink mounting hole in your existing equipment. The tab is fully exposed, and not covered by the PCB. That means no more fishing the screw through a small hole on the PCB or cutting out holes in the top lid of your gear. The pins on the device come out in the same spot as the pins of a standard TO220 device when mounted to a heat sink, and since they’re available in 3 different pinouts, you wont have to swizzel or cross the pins around to get them to go where they need to.
Drop In Replacement Guide: In order to
replace a monolithic regulator with these discrete
devices, one must know the polarity, pin-out, and
output voltage of the device that they wish to
replace. A Digikey search of the part being
replaced will usually provide the relative
information. If one is replacing an adjustable type
regulator, the output voltage that it is set to must be
known so an appropriate discrete regulator can be
chosen and installed. This assumes that any
adjustable type regulator is set to a fixed output
voltage within the circuit. It should be noted, that in Transient Response
order to replace an adjustable regulator, the
resistors that set the output voltage must be shorted
out (the resistor to ground) and removed (resistor from Vout to ADJ)
Attempting to make these discrete
devices dynamically adjust their output voltage by
using POTs or voltage dividers on the ground pin is
not recommended in order to achieve the specified performance.
If a device being replaced is mounted to a heat sink,
that same heat sink should be used with the discrete
replacement device. One does not need a larger
heat sink when replacing an existing voltage
regulator with one of these discrete devices. The
existing heat sink will suffice.
The input and output bypass capacitors within the
existing circuit should also be adequate and do not
require any modifications for normal operation. If
the output capacitor closest to the regulator is of
ceramic or film type, better transient response might
be obtained by removing it from the circuit since
ceramic and film capacitors will degrade the phase
margin of the device. In these instances where the
output capacitor is removed from the circuit, the
internal 10uF tantalum polymer capacitor
will be sufficient as an output capacitor, and the
device will operate with a higher phase margin and
less transient response ringing.
The best transient response can be obtained by using
a Panasonic EEU – FR1H101B electrolytic
capacitor (100μF 50V 65mΩ ESR) As the output capacitor.
This capacitor can be used to replace the existing output capacitor
or it can be added in parallel with it. It should be
noted that the correct polarity must be observed
during the installation of these electrolytic
The Panasonic EEU – FR1H101B capacitor can also
be used for an input capacitor, and it can be added
in parallel with the existing input capacitor, or be
used to replace it. Using this capacitor as an input
capacitor will likely hold up the input voltage better
during load transients.
Using a socket with these discrete devices is not
recommended in order to achieve the specified
performance. It can be done, but the input rejection
and transient response (load regulation) will suffer
by about 10dB and 4mV respectively. The best
performance is always obtained by soldering the
device into place.