Looking to upgrade your workshop or mad science lab with more power? Here's how to get started with benchtop power supplies.
After covering the basics behind using digital multimeters, I knew that I had to talk about how to supply power to a project. This week in Adventures in Science, I go over the basics of how to use a bench power supply.
Bench power supplies are extremely useful tools in testing circuits, as they allow you to adjust the voltage on the fly. If you have a project that needs a specific voltage or if you haven't quite designed the power section yet, the bench power supply can be a life saver. You can also watch the output voltage of regulators with an undervoltage lockout feature as you slowly decrease the supplied voltage to make sure it cuts off power when necessary.
Some units can be configured to act as a constant current source, and most will allow you to set a current limit. You can use this feature to characterize and test diodes (i.e., how much current flows through a diode at a particular forward voltage).
If you want to read more about powering your project, we have this fun tutorial, even if it doesn't focus solely on bench power supplies:
I know that I skimmed over the uses of the power supply in this video. Can you think of any other reasons to use a bench power supply over a simple wall adapter? Post your ideas in the comments below.