There is something that every maker who dabbles in electronics eventually needs – a bench top power supply.
Sure, you can get power from all sorts of source – a battery, an arduino, or a raspberry pi will all work sufficiently for many quick or small projects. But there are good reasons for having a power supply as one of your tools used for developing electronics.
- They are reliable. A battery is only going to provide you with a known voltage for so long before it starts to drain.
- They are adjustable. Maybe you think you are only going to be constructing circuits powered by 5V, and therefore you figure you can always either use an arduino or a 5V regulator and be perfectly happy. But eventually you will need to use different voltages, and the power supply is the way to go.
- They are configurable. A decent bench-top power supply has the ability to work in either Constant Voltage (CV) mode or in Constant Current (CC) mode. The way it usually works is that you set a maximum current that you would like the power supply to give to your circuit. If your circuit draws less than the maximum current that you have set the power supply will work in CV mode and will provide whatever voltage you have set. If, however, the circuit draws the maximum current that you have set, then it switches to CC mode and will reduce the voltage to maintain that maximum current. This helps you to test circuits without risking damage to components.
- They are affordable. Like practically any tool, the sky is the limit in terms of what you could spend. But, switching power supplies are relatively low-cost and a great option for most electronics hobbyist. Below is a link (affiliate link – thank you for supporting Workshop 88) to a power supply that at least one of Workshop 88’s members uses for projects at home.
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