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High Voltage, High Current DC Regulator Circuit

High Voltage, High Current DC Regulator Circuit

We all are pretty familiar with the 78XX voltage regulator ICs or the adjustable types such as LM317, LM338 etc. Though these regulators are outstanding with their specified functioning and reliability, these regulators have one big disadvantage.... they won't control anything above 35V.

Circuit Operation

The circuit presented in the following article introduces a DC regulator design which effectively counters the above issue and is able handle voltages as high as 100V.

I am a great admirer of the above mentioned types of ICs simply because they are easy to understand  easy to configure and require bare minimum number of components, and are also relatively cheap to build.

However in areas where input voltages can be higher than 35 or 40 volts, things become difficult with these ICs.

While designing a solar controller for panels which produces in excess of 40 volts, I searched a lot over the net for some circuit that would control the 40+ volts from the panel to the desired output levels, say to 14V, but was quite disappointed as I couldn't find a single circuit which could fulfill the required  specifications.

All I could find was a 2N3055 regulator circuit which couldn't supply even 1 amp current.

Failing to find a suitable match I had to advise the customer to go for a panel that would not generate anything above 30 volts...that's the compromise the customer had to make using a LM338 charger regulator.

However after some thinking I could finally come up with a design which is able to tackle high input voltages (DC) and is a lot better than the LM338/LM317 counterparts.

Let's try to understand my design in details with the following points:

Referring to the circuit diagram, the IC 741 becomes the heart of the entire regulator circuit.

Basically it has been set up as a comparator.

Pin#2 is provided with t a fixed reference voltage, decided by the value of the zener diode.

Pin#3 is clamped with a potential divider network which is appropriately calculated for sensing the voltages exceeding the specified output limit of the circuit.

Initially when the power is switched ON, R1 triggers the mosfet which tries to transfer the voltage at its source (input voltage) across the other side of its drain pin.

The moment voltage hits the Rb/Rc network, it senses the rising voltage conditions and within a fraction of a second the situation triggers the IC whose output instantaneously goes high, switching off the mosfet.

This instantly tends to switch OFF the voltage at the output reducing the voltage across Rb/Rc, prompting the IC output to go low again, turning ON the mosfet so that the cycle locks in and repeats, initiating an output level that's just exactly equal to the desired value set by the user.

Circuit Diagram

The values of the unspecified components in the circuit may be calculated by the following formulas and the desired output voltages may be fixed and set up:

Ra = 0.2 * Rb (k Ohms)

Rb = (Output V -  Z2 voltage) * 1k Ohm

Rc = Z2 voltage * 1k Ohm.

The mosfet is a P-channel, should be suitably selected which can handle  the required high voltage, high current in order to regulate and convert the input source to desired levels.

The maximum output voltage should not be set above 20 volts if a 741 IC is used. With 1/4 IC 324, the maximum output voltage can be exceeded up to 30 volts.


About the Author

I am an electronic engineer (dipIETE ), hobbyist, inventor, schematic/PCB designer, manufacturer. I am also the founder of the website: https://www.homemade-circuits.com/, where I love sharing my innovative circuit ideas and tutorials. If you have any circuit related query, you may interact through comments, I'll be most happy to help!

18 thoughts on “High Voltage, High Current DC Regulator Circuit”

  1. Dear Mr.Swagatam I have a stereo power amp 400 watts 100-volt power supply, one channel is already burned, I want to replace it with a 300-watt board but it’s working voltage only 60 volt maximum, how to reduce the supply. Thank you

    • Dear Mamad,

      the ideal option would be to use single 60V power supply and feed both the channels, or modify the existing 100V power supply to produce 60V.

      Reducing would requires a buck converter circuit

  2. hi bro, i wanted to modify my old motorcycle horn (non battery type vehicle) since it had a classsic ”krrrr….krrrr” sound. i built a specific tone generator circuit using 555 and a mosfet to drive horn( may be diaphragm type). i also built a bridge using 3A diode for getting dc (2A/20v max) to my circuit from bike.Now everything is good but mosfet irf 840 (8A/500v) is getting excessively hot(without heatsink) and also same with 2n3055.
    can u tell me how to how to prevent the mosfet from getting excessively hot? also which one u prefer for driving, mosfet or bjt?

    • bro, the heating cannot be prevented, and you will have attach to a heatsink to control it…for mosfet try IRF540, it will work better than IRF 840

  3. I might be missing something, but after searching the internet for how a p-channel mosfet works I can't see how this circuit could work except when the input voltage is very close to the output voltage (like within 1-3 volts). A p-channel mosfet needs gate to to raise up to the source to shut it off and this design holds it too low to ever stop it from conducting. The op-amp is driven from a much lower source voltage than the mosfet source so it can't shut it off – this design will just uncontrollably leak power from the input to the output. Also the Source/drain assignment compared to the chip drawing is backwards for a P-channel mosfet. Has anyone got this to work?

  4. I was looking for a motorbike regulator design and came across this. Has anyone got this circuit to work because I can't see how the op-amp can drive the mosfet gate voltage high enough to the source to turn it off so it would just seem to constantly conduct/pass. A p-channel enhanced mode mosfet typically has a source gate threshold of a 2-4 volts so if the op-amp can't drive the gate to nearly the input voltage, it cant shut it off and the op-amp is powered from a much smaller voltage so it can't get there. There needs to be a pull up resistor to pull the gate to the source voltage and the op-amp needs to drag that down which gives circuit start up issues so it'll never start-up.

    I might have got this wrong but reading about a p-channel mosfet characteristic's on the internet I can't see how this can work at anything other than when the input voltage is very close to the desired output voltage – otherwise it will runaway and always pass the input voltage out to the output

  5. Hi I would like to build voltage amplifier as well as regulator using lm741. The input would be 50 mv to 50 volt. The input pulses per min would be 1-30000. The output pulse should be regulated 5 volt at all frequencies and voltage inputs. There would be only +12 volt source for powering the op-amp & not the -12v. i.e the pin #4 will be grounded. the output from pin#6 would go to the micro-controller as it requires 5 volt. Plz if you could build the schematics for me.

  6. Tx for the reply., but the issue is the battery bank is only of 12V not 48v. The input would be from 25 to 35v but the battery bank is only 12v. Hope to get a viable one.

  7. Sir,

    I need a good and stable ckt which can take input of 42V @ 20amps to charge a battery bank of 12V 400ah. Plz help me in this regards,


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