Voltage regulator vs DC to DC converter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC-to-DC_converter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltage_regulator#Shunt_regulators http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_conversion

So I've been digging around all these articles, and I'm a bit confused. Is a common 5V "shunt" regulator a type of DC to DC converter? Or does the term DC to DC converter mean something more specific? I'm thinking maybe a DC to DC converter provides isolation, but I could be wrong about that.

DC-to-DC converter would be just a broad term, and voltage regulator’s are a specific type(linear, I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC-to-DC_converter#Linear). It’s like there are animals, and birds are a type of animal.

jfenwick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC-to-DC_converter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voltage_regulator#Shunt_regulators http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_power_conversion

So I've been digging around all these articles, and I'm a bit confused. Is a common 5V "shunt" regulator a type of DC to DC converter? Or does the term DC to DC converter mean something more specific? I'm thinking maybe a DC to DC converter provides isolation, but I could be wrong about that.

A DC to DC converter just transforms an input voltage range to an output voltage range. It may or may not have a 'regulated' (fixed) output voltage value. A given DC to DC converter may be isolated or non-isolated. Isolated is more complex and expensive. DC to DC converter is a pretty general term and tells you little about any one specific DC to DC converter.

A shunt voltage regulator is one form of linear voltage regulator that takes a higher and possibly variable input voltage and converts it to a lower fixed output voltage. Shunt regulators are very inefficient and are normally only used where only a small output current capacity is required. The series voltage regulator such as the classic 7805 is much more commonly used as standard voltage regulators.

Lefty

Sounds plausible, thanks!