The output resistance (also known as source resistance) of a voltage regulator is a close cousin of its load regulation. Figure 1 illustrates how the output voltage of a regulator typically changes as a function of load current. Initially, the slope is quite linear but once the load current becomes higher than the design then the voltage will often drop rapidly with an increase in current. We measure the output resistance only on the linear portion of the plot in the normal operating region. It is meaningless to use a point in the overload area as that will result in an artificially high output resistance.
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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