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Equivalent series resistance (ESR) of output capacitor has a significant effect on the control performance of constant on-time (COT) controlled switching dc-dc converters. In this paper, a discrete-time model of COT-controlled buck converter, with variable sampling frequency, is established. Based upon which, the dynamical effects of the ESR of output capacitor on COT-controlled buck converter are revealed and analyzed. The time-domain numerical simulations of the exact switched state equations, the bifurcation diagrams, and maximal Lyapunov exponents of the discrete-time model are obtained. These results verified by experimental circuit indicate that the ESR of output capacitor is a critical factor for COT-controlled buck converter, which can eliminate the unique pulse bursting phenomenon and shift operation mode from discontinuous conduction mode to continuous conduction mode, as well as control stability.