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Looking for Bench Power supply and other electronic hobby tools — Parallax Forums

Looking for Bench Power supply and other electronic hobby tools

LudisLudis Posts: 69
edited 2023-08-23 23:48 in General Discussion

Hello all.

I'm in the market to purchase a lab/bench power supply. Not sure where to start. Looking for suggestions and brands to check out.

I'm working on microcontroller projects but would like to have some higher current/voltage specs to handle future larger voltage projects such as 50V (maybe?). I'd like the power supply to have 2 power sources and indicate the voltage, current draw, and power draw. Safety features are important too.

Anyone ever build a lab psu from a left over PC psu?



  • There are many possible solutions for test bench power supplies, it all depends on your budget and/or if you want to have the fun of building your own.

    One possible solution is to buy good used bench power supplies from places like E*bay. Older supplies made by HP (Hewlett-Packard), Tektronix or Lambda are good bets. You can of course buy a new bench supply from Electronic suppliers like Jameco, Mouser, Digikey

    Here are a couple of links to articles of turning a PC power supply into a bench power supply:

    Having worked at HP (Hewlett-Packard) instrument manufacturing divisions for 20+ years, I'm biased to HP equipment so I have a collection of HP test bench power supplies that I use in my Electronics endeavors. You may find that you will need multiple bench supplies to cover the various voltage/current ranges that you are interested in.

  • Thanks @"Francis Bauer" for the brands and links. I will start there.

  • frank freedmanfrank freedman Posts: 1,982
    edited 2023-08-31 06:35

    Google Heathkit 2718 Tri-power supply. Fixed +5V 1.5A as well as a 2 0-20V 0.5A which can be set to track (read as mechanically ganged adjustment). Seems to run from around $30 - $120. I built mine in early 1980s. Still works and in great shape. Analog meter on the front. Simple and reliable unit. Maybe look less at the voltage outputs (unless you are planning to get into tubes) and maybe look more to current output capability so that you won't be pushed to a higher capacity supply for motors or other higher current devices. Needed to use a separate +24V supply to drive stepper motors.

    If you can get the student discount, a Digilent Analog Discovery puts a suite of lab equipment in a pocket size format. The power supplies on it are +/- 5, has a 30Mhz scope, logic analyzer, meter etc and one heck of a collection of software applications such as decoding of I2C and other protocols. May be better off with individual pieces if you can't get the student discount or you need higher power/performance than the AD2 offers.

  • thanks. @"frank freedman". I almost won a hp psu and the 2718 in separate auctions. I'll keep trying/looking. Thanks

  • ercoerco Posts: 20,255

    I have accumulated some nice test equipment over the years, mostly at my bench at work. But I also have dozens of cheap meters and power supplies to work at home, on the car, and for traveling. TTYTT I most often use the cheap stuff, it's accurate enough for my work and if I blow it up I just grab another one. Harbor Freight's free-or-$5 multimeter works fine, and my new favorite cheap power supply is this 3-30V, 1.5A type, basically an adjustable laptop brick. This one bas been particularly handy for zapping new life into "dead" laptop batteries.

  • Ludis,

    Companies and schools often toss old equipment, especially when they move or close down a department.

  • Thank you for sharing this project information with me because It gives me an idea about something I have thinking about doing for awhile but it was the components and the layout that helped decide how and what I wanted to do with this project idea

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