The thermal limit circuit can sink all of the current from the error amplifier output, and keep the regulator output voltage/current as low as needed to maintain the junction temperature at 160°C. As shown, the thermal limiter can "override" the voltage control loop when needed to prevent damage to the IC.
In series regulation the control element is placed between the unregulated voltage source and the load and the current through the element is controlled so that the voltage across the load is held constant. A feedback control system is used where the difference between the output voltage and a reference voltage is applied to a high gain amplifier that drives the current control element such as to maintain the setpoint output voltage. The majority of voltage regulators are of the series type.
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