Ever seen that rectangular device on someone’s workbench– a simple bench power supply? If you have, you have also probably wondered how to use a bench power supply.
These instruments are easy to build, making them an ideal device for any beginner’s project. The bench power supplies are mainly used by circuit designers and electrical engineers to help the power and test the circuit system designs.
Best of all is that it saves you from the hassle of dealing with high voltage. Thanks to the application of prefabricated modules, they are easy and safe to use.
Available in two modes and three categories, you can use them simply. How? Let us unravel the steps for your ease. So let’s dive in!
What Are Bench Power Supplies?
For your electronics workbench, one of the vital pieces of equipment is a best bench power supply. It is a source of monitored DC voltage that every experimenter would need.
Bench power supplies are just like the other AC/DC converters, but they deliver a high performance than others.
If you compare them with other consumer power supplies, they must have a lower ripple current, protection for the test circuits, better control over the current and voltage levels, and many outputs to power sections of circuits or multiple circuits simultaneously.
These digital electronics’ most prevalent voltages are 3.3 volts, 5 volts, and 12 volts. Many ways persist in gaining these voltages, including standard USB power supplies that generate 5 volts.
You can easily customize a bench power supply once you know what it is.
How to Use A Bench Power Supply
Here, we’ll learn more about the process.
1. Customizing the Power Supply
Make sure that your power supply has a current control. You cannot only adjust the output voltage by doing so, but you can also limit the output current.
It makes it very easy to set your voltage and current before applying power to your circuit. Some supplies will have multiple outputs or a single one.
2. Setting Up the Supply
For Device Under Test (DUT), you can take a 75-ohm power resistor (Check that the power does not exceed 50 watts. You would not want your power supply to dissipate that amount of heat).
Shorten the leads together to set the current limit of your choice. To prevent burning the cables, shortening is necessary. As you will notice, the wires would not be dissipating much power at 0 voltage.
Another alternative step could be followed. Turn off the output, connect the leads, and finally turn back the output on. That way, you will discard any possibility for sparks to occur.
Before connecting your device under test, do not forget to turn the output off.
A trick to follow is to set the current very low initially. Later, you step up the current – you will see the voltage automatically raising to the needed amount. Should any problem occur, fret not. Your components may still make it!
3. Choosing either Series or Parallel Mode
You can place your outputs in two different manners: series or parallel. If you want to increase the output current, place them in parallel, and for increasing the output voltage, you can put them in series.
Here is a heads-up for you. Remember not to burn the power supply while you go on increasing the current or voltage. Instead, use an electronic load to demonstrate the features. Think of the electronic load box as an electronically controlled resistor.
When using series or parallel mode, you will be using a combination of the banana jacks. We would recommend checking the user manual to know which one to employ.
Here, we will connect Channel 1 to the positive and Channel 2 to the negative. Make sure the output is off and push the series or parallel switch.
4. Adjusting Ground or GND
Look carefully at your bench power supply. You will notice three posts in your supply outputs: positive, negative, and ground.
So when you go to attach your Arduino Nano, you might ask yourself, “Do I connect the supply’s GND to the Adruino GND?”. The answer is no.
Bench supplies contain flowing outputs. Their positive and negative are not referenced to earth ground, which, by the way, makes it easy to put them in series or parallel.
The GND connector is actually connected to the supply’s earth ground conductor. If you want to ground a circuit chassis to earth ground while working, this GND must be put to use.
5. Using the Banana Jack Cables or other Cables
Next, we cover the cables. When working with a bench supply, there are usually three to four types of cables you work with.
Most people go for the mini grabber styles. For making ground connections, the alligator cables are pretty handy. If you want to make easy connections, you might love the banana cables. These can be used to connect other instruments like a multimeter – especially if they have a through connector.
Lastly, the fourth type is a banana jack with an end missing. You will never know when you might need these.
More or less, these are the steps you should follow to use a bench power supply.
More On Using A Bench Power Supply
If you want no interference in the functioning of the circuits that are being powered, the bench power supply lets you do this. This bench power supply, spruce of power, keeps you free from everything else and enables you to focus on troubleshooting and design.
You can finely adjust to gain the wanted DC output, dialing it continuously with precision. Other facilities that they give include safety like voltage limitations – strict voltage monitoring while under load and also during temporary load changes.
Two convenient modes of functioning that many bench power supplies possess are constant current and constant voltage. With the bench power supply adjusted to constant voltage, it will regulate the voltage irrespective of the load resistance.
Similarly, in the constant current mode, the bench power supply will regulate the set current irrespective of the load resistance shifts.
Remember to not consider the power that your circuit consumes within the supply specification.
For instance, you can test a circuit via these modes limiting the current coming from the bench power supply. By doing this, you will be saving your circuit from any damage if anything goes haywire.
Use A Bench Power Supply Today!
When it comes down to repairing, analyzing, or troubleshooting any electronic device or powering a circuit, a bench power supply is your best grab.
Now that you know how to use a bench power supply, you can get on the field. Choose an affordable, easy-to-use, and anti-damage bench power supply to achieve clean power.
So what are you waiting for? Consider your essential requirements and choose the best-suited one for you now!