My Favorite Product: The Voltage Regulator Module

As it is Thursday, today I decided to throw it back to one of my favorite products from my student days. When I was an intern working on the many projects for the shows we go to, there was one little board I couldn’t seem to go without; the VRM (Voltage Regulator Module).

The voltage regulator module

No matter how hard I tried, I seemed to always need something that would take my beloved 12V Lipo batteries, down to 5V AND supply enough current. I explored my options on the internet of course. I looked at combining multiple switching regulators to achieve up to 6A, and I looked at non-switching regulators, but those just wouldn’t cut it. It also seemed like a lot of unnecessary work. There had to be one module out there that could do what I wanted.

A photo of the claw game not doing what I want…

Luckily, James happened to have just the thing: the VRM. Capable of dropping 12V down to 3.3V or 5V and supplying up to 6A, this was just the item I needed. On the Zybot the servos alone peaked at 2A, and on top of that there was the Zybo, the camera, the motors, the WiFi dongle.

The voltage regulator on the FPGA ARM robot
The VRM on the Zybot. It is hooked up to the 2 12V motors, 2 5V servos, webcam, wifi dongle, and Zybo board.

Then of course there was the claw game. With 4 stepper motors, a servo, the Basys 3, and the joystick to power, this left a lot to be desired (a lot of current anyways).

The voltage regulator module in the claw game
The VRM is used in the claw game to power the 3 stepper motor drivers and the Basys 3 board.

The VRM was always there to keep my projects amped up. Even today, I always have a few VRMs on my desk, and keep one in the demo fix it kit.

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