Building Our Own Power Supply, Part 1: Laying Down the Ground Rules

Alright, as long as I’m pretending to actually take care of this blog, let’s at least do something useful with it.

Like a project build log!

So, yes, I’m going to take on one of the standard first-timer projects, the hand-made benchtop power supply!

Every electronics lab should be outfitted with a good power supply for running tests on your circuits at different voltage and current inputs, and I’d like to design one myself with the idea in mind that I should be challenging my own abilities to do so.

So, this first post will be covering the ground rules and specs, as says the wise Dave Jones of EEVblog: “If you don’t have specs to work with, it’s gonna be a dogs breakfast.

You may notice that I’m linking to Dave Jones’ own Power Supply Design video, and while I learned a good bit from it, I will be changing my own specs to be more robust, as he reveals later in his video series he would like to be able to battery-power his design in order to be mobile. While this is a cool idea, I think I’d rather stick to something more beefy that will remain at home, for now.

So, on to my requirements:

  • Dual Rail
  • Adjustable Current Control: 0 -> 5A
  • Adjustable Voltage Control: 1.25 -> 24VDC
  • USA Standard Line Voltage Input
  • Transformation* and Rectification* to be handled in design
    • …at least on paper, line voltage is still terrifying, and there are plenty of 30V 10A supplies for plenty cheap to be found on Amazon.

So there we have it, the first rules of my power supply design are written. It should be noted that these rules are to be considered in the “…- of thumb” category, and they can, and likely will be broken as design calls for it.

As a secondary point, the design files will be drawn in KiCAD and project files will be provided on a GitHub repo with a GPLv3 license.

*For those playing the home game, these are two terms that will be explained in more detail later on in the process.

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