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Daox 10-14-19 09:54 PM

Electronics bench top power supply recommendations?
I don't tinker with electronics a massive amount. But, I'm thinking that a bench top power supply would probably be a nice addition. I currently hack most things with an old computer power supply and use the 12V or 5V leads to do whatever I need. This usually does the trick, but its very rudimentary. It has no connectors. I've just cut wires and usually use alligator clips.

I'm guessing a few of you guys can suggest a good power supply with some basic functionality that would be a heck of a lot better. I'm okay with some DIYing of it, but I don't want to make this a gigantic project. Thanks!

CrankyDoug 10-17-19 11:24 AM

I've purchased two of these. No problems so far. They are available in 30V or 60V and in various current ratings.

NeilTheCop 11-20-19 11:03 AM

I too am looking for a bench power supply.
It seems that you have the usual low end Chinese ones, which according to the reviews are often DOA, have loose parts inside or stop working/catch fire after a short time.
Then you have the professional and expensive top of the range ones, but there's nothing in between.
The link that CrankyDoug posted shows them out of stock but leads to an interesting observation and a pet hate of mine. If you go to the sellers store, they don't sell just electronics, but anything that will turn a profit. I prefer buying from a store that only sells one type of item so they can answer any technical questions.
But that's just me :D

redrok 11-20-19 11:56 AM

Hi Daox;
I do a lot of electronic design, I have both low end and high end power supplies.
It depends on what I'm working on. Here are a few things to look for:
1. The relatively cheap Chinese supplies work nicely, once you get a non defective
unit. Most of these are "Switching Mode" types.
These switchers are very light weight and quite portable.
However, being switchers they tend to generate RF noise and ripple on the output.
Depending on the application the ripple may not be objectionable.

2. Old used Lambda, HP, Kepco, and other high end supplies tend to me "Linear Mode"
These are very low ripple and have no RF noise.
They are not nearly as portable as the transformers and regulators are quite heavy.

My personal favorite supply is a vintage Japanese Kikusui 35V 12A unit. It sits in
a permanent location on my bench. I use it every day.

3. Make sure the "Current Limit" or "Constant Current" control works quickly and


rvCharlie 11-20-19 12:54 PM

I've got the 10A version of the one CrankyDoug linked. I've never put a 'scope on its output, but I've used it to check out and ultimately fully power the instrument panel (EFIS with associated hardware, transponder, Garmin 430 GPS/Nav/Comm, intercom, etc) in the RV-7 I'm building. As a FWIW, the guy who literally (in the literal sense :-) ) wrote the book on experimental aircraft wiring (Aeroelectric Connection), owns one and recommended it to me for day-to-day use.

Cheap does have its limitations. If you buy one, read the instructions carefully on how it's used (power it up prior to attaching the load, etc). The displays show what's actually happening; not what you're dialing in with the knobs. I 'calibrated' my knobs to get me in the ballpark with volts and current limits shortly after I bought mine.

As we say in aviation, 'everything's a compromise.'

While 'switcher' power supplies can be noisy, whether it matters depends on how you're using them. If your uses are that uncommon and your'e unsure whether the potential noise will matter, it probably won't. :-)

edit, to Neil: What you say has merit, but should be tempered a bit by factoring user and application. If I were a mechanic making my living with hand tools, I probably wouldn't find much of use at Harbor Freight. But if I can get 10 years of useful life (at the rate I use one) out of a $10 angle grinder, or the rest of my life out of a $150 name-brand grinder, and I'm 68 years old, I'll probably go with HF. :-) I own a *lot* of tools; some are high end and some are HF (or even cheaper, when I need to mod a tool for a special, single use).


Daox 11-23-19 09:12 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys!

NiHaoMike 11-27-19 06:59 PM

Dave Jones of EEVblog just reviewed a cheap bench PSU.

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