Planet Analog ‘Ask the Experts’ Chat for April: The Linear Regulator

On April 23, 2014, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, we will have a fundamentals chat regarding the linear regulator. Our two experts will be Bob Dobkin, co-founder and CTO for Linear Technology, and Greg Waterfall, business development and marketing manager at Texas Instruments.

Now that we have discussed the transistor last month, we will show how the use of the transistor creates a linear regulator. Please bring all your questions and comments for these experts.

The Experts

Dobkin autographing his book for students and young engineers at Design West 2013

Dobkin autographing his book for students and young engineers at Design West 2013

Bob Dobkin, Co-Founder and CTO, Linear Technology
Bob Dobkin is a true analog guru. In the short time that I have come to know him, I have seen his excitement for mentoring younger engineers. He developed the first three-terminal adjustable voltage regulator, the LM317. He also developed the first bipolar LDO, and his design modification boosted the speed of early op-amps. Before founding Linear Technology, Dobkin was director of advanced circuit development at National, where he worked with Bob Pease. His career began with Philbrick-Nexus right out of MIT.

Greg Waterfall, Marketing and Business Development Manager, Linear Power Business Unit, Texas Instruments
I also know Greg Waterfall very well from my years at Burr-Brown. Greg is another mentor and I learned a great deal from him over the years. Waterfall’s role is to drive growth in regional markets, such as the US, Europe, China, and Japan for Linear Power products. He previously has held various positions in the Power Management business at Texas Instruments, including advanced product definition and development as well as product line manager where he was responsible for product definition and product development for products that served a diverse set of electronic equipment. He joined TI in 2000 when the company acquired Tucson-based Burr-Brown Corp., which he'd joined in 1986. Waterfall held several roles at Burr-Brown from test engineer to director of power management products. He earned a BSEE from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management.

A learning experience you won’t want to miss
Entry-level questions as well as advanced regulator questions are welcome. Strengthen your knowledge of analog with these two mentors in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Planet Analog’s Ask the Experts.

Be sure to watch Planet Analog over the coming weeks for a series of brief tech tutorials:

  • Linear Regulator — April 23, 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • References — May 21, 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Op Amps — June 18, 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Switching Regulator — July 23, 1:00 p.m. EDT

18 comments on “Planet Analog ‘Ask the Experts’ Chat for April: The Linear Regulator

  1. RedDerek
    April 11, 2014

    I will be at a vendor's site that day and will miss the great chat session. I will read the logs afterwards to catch up. Nice opportunity here on PlanetAnalog.

  2. Steve Taranovich
    April 11, 2014

    Hi RedDerek—I will be posting the Questions and answers on Planet Analog to view at your leisure

  3. fasmicro
    April 13, 2014

    Very star-studded. Cannot wait….

  4. etnapowers
    April 14, 2014

    thank you for this Steve.

    “In the short time that I have come to know him, I have seen his excitement for mentoring younger engineers”

    It' really a great opportunity for young engineer to have the mentoring of such an expert of analogue,  for a fast growing in this job.


  5. Steve Taranovich
    April 14, 2014

    @etnapowers—Yes, there are not so many analog mentors in companies anymore like there were when I was a young EE out of school. Many engineers need somewhere to get this training in the field—-hence “Ask the experts” was created to bring mentoring through a different channel—the internet. 

  6. Davidled
    April 14, 2014

    Figure shows Dobkin's book. It looks like this book is Semi-Encyclopedia containing all his experience. I would like to access this book. Book is other sources if mentor is not presented, whenever the students need him or her.

  7. samicksha
    April 16, 2014

    I would love solve my dilemma, which is in fixed voltage regulators the reference pin is tied to ground, whereas in variable regulators the reference pin is connected to the centre point of a fixed or variable voltage divider fed by the regulator's output. Whats the basic fact behind this theory.

  8. etnapowers
    April 16, 2014

    The basic fact behind this theory is that the reference voltage regulates the thresholds of the device, so by regulating this voltage it is possible to modify the thresholds logical values.   

  9. Steve Taranovich
    April 16, 2014

    Excellent question samicksha—ask Bob Dobkin in the chat session next week or you can post the question right now. Bob Dobkin invented the variable voltage regulator with the resistor divider feedback with the LM317

  10. Sachin
    April 16, 2014

    @Steve, it is indeed true that mentors in the EE field today are hard to find. As a young engineer I have to grapple with that particular problem everyday and hopefully this will present a unique opportunity for other young engineers like me to learn at the feet of the masters. It is unfortunate that I will not be able to attend the session but am counting on you, as always, to keep us posted on the proceedings all the way! As my teacher used to say, you can't beat experience.

  11. Sachin
    April 16, 2014

    The EE world has undergone many changes and an extensive evolution over the past few decades and, in my experience, the result has been a rift between engineers from the old days who refuse to embrace modern technology such as computer simulations in place of napkin sessions and those who have kept up with and adopted modern technology over the years. This has greatly contributed to the shortage of useful mentors in our field and I would really love to see what these two masters will be bringing to the table in the session.

  12. Steve Taranovich
    April 16, 2014

    @Sachin—I am so happy that you will take advantage of these series of “Ask the experts” sessions, even though you cannot attend the live session. As usual. I will post the questions and answers in their entirety after the session for you and all our readers to read at your leisure or download it. I am sorry that the Transistor is not yet published, but it will be soon.

  13. samicksha
    April 17, 2014

    Thank's @etnapowers for quick answer, what we understand from threshold is limit of the device or object can we keep that static without regulating.

  14. etnapowers
    April 18, 2014

    @Steve, maybe you could write a blog with all the question and answers on this point, it could help very much the young engineers.

  15. chirshadblog
    April 21, 2014

    @etnapowers: Indeed since the issues do come from time to time while experimenting new things. So if there are resources available like this will help in a great way. 

  16. etnapowers
    May 7, 2014

    @SachinEE: I agree with you, the experience is something that you cannot learn by books but only from experts. That's the reason for why the mentoring at work is so important.

  17. etnapowers
    June 6, 2014

    @samicksha: a tunable threshold value might be really useful in all the application requiring a wide range of input voltage, provided the effectiveness of the voltage dividing.

  18. etnapowers
    June 6, 2014

    @chirshadblog: the resources like this topic are very useful to share common practises to solve the issues that , coming from new technologies, might be difficult to solve, because of a lack of experience.

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