マンガでわかる直流安定化電源

Episode 2 Problems before even reading the manual

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  • POWER SUPPLY
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Episode 2 Column

Episode 2 begins with a scene starring Minami, who is struggling to understand her homework to the point of having nightmares about it. For people (like Minami) with a limited background in electricity, this can be like trying to decipher spells from an ancient tome. People experienced in electronics shouldn’t have too much trouble, but even they are bound to eventually run into technical jargon that they haven’t seen before. One of the main morals of Episode 2 is to “Please Read the User’s Manual.” This is important not only for understanding how to use the power supply, but also for figuring out what you do and don’t know about the product. DC power supplies emit actual electrical energy, meaning that any guesswork or assumptions made during operation can lead to serious danger. This is a very important pitfall to avoid.

Another theme in this episode is selecting a DC power supply suited for your application. As Naoto mentions, “electronic experts are not necessarily power supply experts.” It’s common to hear many engineers refer to DC power supplies simply as “boxes.” It’s safe to say that most engineers involved in the development and design of application circuits use power supplies as a ready-made tool. They often don’t know much about the power supply’s interior (circuits), and don’t care as long as they can output the voltage and current required for their tests. I think most engineers would agree on this.

However, on the other hand, there is an unbelievable amount of DC power supply models on the market, including our own. Why do you we need so much variety? Any power supply will do as long as the power capacity if sufficient, right? Higher end products come in different shapes, sizes and textures, but it’s hard to think this would be considered a priority for commercial equipment. Are all the manufacturers just doing this for fun?

Many users don’t notice the differences, but there is a huge amount of variety in the power supply market. This misconception is brought forth by customers who think that all power supplies are the same, but in reality just don’t know enough about them. The reason for this sheer variety is because all power supplies are different. In this episode we present the concepts of “circuit type” and “range” as basic precursors for selecting the proper DC power supply suitable for your application. Actually, there are many more subdivisions based on the operating characteristics and features, but it is most important that you first understand these two concepts. Next we have the different “modes.” This concept is not necessarily related selecting the proper power supply, but rather to basic knowledge that is essential when operating your power supply. “Constant Current Mode” is a particularly tough nut to crack.

In the following chapters, we will explain these three concepts in greater detail. The content will gradually increase in difficulty, but we hope that you continue reading.

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