Control an LM317T with a PWM signal
Aruna Rubasinghe -February 03, 2011
The LM317T from National Semiconductor is a popular adjustable-voltage regulator that provides output voltages of 1.25 to 37V with maximum 1.5A current. You can adjust the output voltage with a potentiometer. The circuit in Figure 1 replaces the potentiometer with an analog voltage that you can control from a PWM (pulse-width-modulation) signal. You control this signal with a microcontroller or any other digital circuit. You can use the same microcontroller to dynamically monitor the output and adjust the LM317T.
Using an RC lowpass filter and an op amp, you can convert the PWM signal to a dc level that can adjust the LM317T’s voltage output. Varying the pulse width of the input signal lets you generate an analog voltage of 0 to 5V at the output of the lowpass filter. The op amp multiplies the voltage to achieve the desired voltage range.
You can improve the circuit by replacing the RC lowpass filter with an active filter and then feeding a feedback signal from the circuit’s output into the microcontroller for dynamic adjustments.