Adjustable Bench Power Supply
I’ve built myself my own universal, adjustable bench power supply.
This isn’t strictly astro stuff but the main reason I built it is to experiment with TFT backlight panels that I use for my lightboxes.
I needed 5V and 12V to play around with the inverter boards and figure out their pin-out. I considered buying a bench power supply. But prices were too high, especially for ones with adjustable voltages. So I decided to build my own.
This one has 4 outputs. One 5Volt, one 12V and two individually adjustable outputs going from about 1.5V to 19.5V. Each can draw up to 1.5Amp with a total of 3.5A for all together. The input is a standard replacement laptop power supply 20V, 3.5A. With a stronger external power supply the total output current can be higher, up to 1.5A per output. But currently the 3.5A is more than enough.
Each of the adjustable outputs has its own little voltmeter built in.
The fixed voltage regulators are based on a 7805 for the 5V and a 7812 for 12V. The two adjustable regulators are based on one LM317 each.
I just had to built an acrylic case for it. Here is the pictures of the various stages of building and the finished product.
There is the board for the fixed 5V and 12V regulators.
The LM117 series of adjustable 3-terminal positive voltage regulators is capable of supplying in excess of 1.5A over a 1.2V to 37V output range. They are exceptionally easy to use and require only two external resistors to set the output voltage. Further, both line and load regulation are better than standard fixed regulators. Also, the LM117 is packaged in standard transistor packages which are easily mounted and handled.
In addition to higher performance than fixed regulators, the LM117 series offers full overload protection available only in IC's. Included on the chip are current limit, thermal overload protection and safe area protection. All overload protection circuitry remains fully functional even if the adjustment terminal is disconnected.
Normally, no capacitors are needed unless the device is situated more than 6 inches from the input filter capacitors in which case an input bypass is needed. An optional output capacitor can be added to improve transient response. The adjustment terminal can be bypassed to achieve very high ripple rejection ratios which are difficult to achieve with standard 3-terminal regulators.
Besides replacing fixed regulators, the LM117 is useful in a wide variety of other applications. Since the regulator is “floating” and sees only the input-to-output differential voltage, supplies of several hundred volts can be regulated as long as the maximum input to output differential is not exceeded, i.e., avoid short-circuiting the output.
Also, it makes an especially simple adjustable switching regulator, a programmable output regulator, or by connecting a fixed resistor between the adjustment pin and output, the LM117 can be used as a precision current regulator. Supplies with electronic shutdown can be achieved by clamping the adjustment terminal to ground which programs the output to 1.2V where most loads draw little current.
For applications requiring greater output current, see LM150 series (3A) and LM138 series (5A) data sheets. For the negative complement, see LM137 series data sheet.
Adjustable Bench Power Supply