Deciding on the best DC Power Supply for your Application

The DC Power Supply is a rather basic electronic device, however there are hundreds of DC Power Supply products on the market from number of of manufacturers. Narrowing down the greatest product for your application and spending budget can be a daunting task. This article addresses DC Power Supply differentiators, functions as well as the applications they are best suited for. The article’s focus is DC Power Supplies used by engineers, manufacturers, quality professionals and electronic hobbyists for the purposes of R&D, manufacturing and assessment.

Power Supplies can range in price from $50 to $20, 000 as well as the cost is often directly proportional to the amount of power the device outputs. The primary function of a power supply is to regulate output voltage and current. It will take an input power and manages the output power as to enforce a continuing voltage and current. In the case of DC Power Supplies, the input strength is converted from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). There are two basic types of regulated DC Power Supplies: Linear and Switching.

Linear power supplies can never output a higher voltage than the input source. In theory, a linear power supply which is driven by typical 110V wall outlet could only output 110V, assuming the device were 100% effective. Realistically, no power supply is completely efficient because power conversion constantly results in energy loss, usually by means of heat dissipation. Therefore , linear power supplies usually output voltage which is significantly less than the input.

Switching energy supplies can step-up, step-down or invert the input voltage. Changing power supplies are usually larger, more noisy and more expensive than their geradlinig counterparts, however , switching power products are typically more efficient.

Choosing the right DC power for your application requires definition of several basic design specifications: voltage range, current range, number of outputs, strength cleanliness (known as “ripple”) and programmability. In general, the higher the output voltage and the lower the ripple, the greater expensive the DC Power Supply.
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Several outputs and programmability features may also add to the cost.

The least expensive DC Energy Supplies are ideal for electronics hobbyists and basic electro-mechanical applications where just raw power is required. It is likely that the particular devices being powered in these applications already have power-conditioning features that get rid of the need for precision input power. Low power, single output, DC strength supplies range in price from fifty dollars to $200.

Mid-range power materials are best suited for non-critical, laboratory tasks involving more advanced electro-mechanical applications or basic board-level testing. Mid-range energy supplies might have multiple outputs, increased power ratings, lower ripple and precision, digital metering (+/-. 001V, +/-. 01A). Mid-range DC power supplies can be linear or switching and could range in price from one hundred dollar to $1, 000.

High-end apps requiring high output voltage, advanced programmability (GPIB PC Interfaces), many outputs and very low ripple ought to budget in excess of $1, 000 for their DC power supply. Many laboratory, R&D and testing applications could quickly spend $5, 000 to 10 dollars, 000 per power supply.