The LM317L is a popular adjustable three-terminal positive-voltage regulator capable of supplying 100 mA over an output-voltage range of 1.2 V to 32 V. It is exceptionally easy to use and requires only two external resistors to set the output voltage.
In addition to higher performance than fixed regulators, this regulator offers full overload protection, available only in integrated circuits. Included on the chip are current-limiting and thermal-overload protection. All overload-protection circuitry remains fully functional even when ADJUSTMENT is disconnected. Normally, no capacitors are needed unless the device is situated far from the input filter capacitors, in which case an input bypass is needed. An optional output capacitor can be added to improve transient response. ADJUSTMENT can be bypassed to achieve very high ripple rejection, which is difficult to achieve with standard three-terminal regulators.
In addition to replacing fixed regulators, the LM317L regulator is useful in a wide variety of other applications. Since the regulator is floating and sees only the input-to-output differential voltage, supplies of several hundred volts can be regulated as long as the maximum input-to-output differential is not exceeded. Its primary application is that of a programmable output regulator, but by connecting a fixed resistor between ADJUSTMENT and OUTPUT, this device can be used as a precision current regulator. Supplies with electronic shutdown can be achieved by clamping ADJUSTMENT to ground, programming the output to 1.2 V, where most loads draw little current.