A convenient way to control a linear regulator using a microcontroller.
VREG click is a Voltage regulator based on the LM317 circuit. LM317 is a very popular and common chip for this particular application, but what’s special about VReg click is that you can control the regulator digitally, through SPI.
LM317 is a reliable and robust chip that has been in production since 1976. It includes internal short-circuit current limiting, thermal overload protection and output safe-area compensation for protecting itself. It is not, however, fool-proof.
The chip is designed to dissipate any excess power — arising from the difference between the input and output voltage – as heat. The internal protection mechanisms will protect the chip itself, but in most cases you will want to regulate its operation before it becomes that hot.
Because of that you will want to quantify the excess wattage and make sure that it’s under 2W, unless you are enhancing your design with heat sinks and coolers. Luckily, this is easy to do using the most fundamental electricity equation you know.
There is also a programmable MOSFET chip that functions as a switch to turn off the current loop at a moment’s notice.