Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Is Application Knowledge Enough to Buy the Right Programmable Power Supply

Being a test engineer, what is the first question you ask yourself when you decide to buy a programmable power supply (PPS)? Is it the price or features you look for? -- Sneha Ambastha is a technical journalist at EFY

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Built-in power-factor correction. Power saving is an important parameter to be considered, especially in testing and fabrication requirements where energy losses are usual, and a device with high power factor (PF) is accountable for less energy loss. A PPS with a built-in PF corrector or controller (PFC) makes sure that its PF is maintained between 0.95 and 0.99. All power supplies sent to Europe have a mandatory built-in PFC.

Multiple outputs. Older PPSs were able to provide you one output at a time that could be changed with the type of input. However, new PPSs that have come up either have two completely-independent outputs, sometimes three or even four different outputs, of equal power. PPSs with these many output options have independent on/off switches to control the operations. Such outputs operate at constant current and constant voltage mode, with mode indication and automatic crossover.

The mode indication informs if the output is getting generated in constant current or constant voltage mode, whereas the automatic crossover allows the change of mode automatically, based on requirement. These also have fine controls that allow the output voltage to be set within 10mV, whereas to limit the current, the control is logarithmic so as to give good resolutions at low-current settings.

Rohde & Schwarz HMP4040 programmable four-channel power supply
Rohde & Schwarz HMP4040 programmable four-channel power supply
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BBD_box3Internal lock. New PPSs have internal lock buttons that transfer the control of current and voltage to internal digital circuits by simply pressing a switch. These are initially controlled by analogue controls. This lock is kind of a digital-to-analogue converter that ensures complete security and exceptional stability to control settings.

EMC-safe. Another feature of the new PPS is its safe design that meets electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards. This EMC-safe PPS comes with a fully-active PFC that reduces the level of harmonic current that is taken from AC supply lines. The so-designed PPS also allows over-voltage trip adjustments for all outputs.

Extendable to DC and AC+DC mode. This feature added to the PPS provides a DC voltage component as per requirement. It provides an external analogue input to amplify the scalable analogue signal from the available arbitrary signal generator. It has a self-diagnosis feature, which ensures reliability and quality in testing automatic test equipment.

Noise detection. Some of the new PPSs are able to measure frequency harmonics. Dheeraj Kapoor, assistant business manager, Aimil Ltd says, “Frequency harmonics in the PPS helps measure the flowing current or noise in the application it is being used in. The amount of noise so measured can be easily identified by test engineers, and respective resolutions for the same can be worked on.”



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