The linear regulator is the basic building block of nearly every power supply used in electronics. The IC linear regulator is so easy to use that it is virtually foolproof, and so inexpensive that it is usually one of the cheapest components in an electronic assembly.
The function of current limiting circuitry is to prevent damage to the IC when an overload is placed on the output of the regulator (the load impedance is too low). Without current limiting, the regulator would source excessive load current and destroy the pass transistor inside the part.
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