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0-30 Volt Laboratory Power Supply

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The linear power supply, shown in the schematic, provides 0-30 volts, at 1 amp, maximum, using a discrete transistor regulator with op-amp feedback to control the output voltage. The supply was constructed in 1975 and has a constant current mode that is used to recharge batteries.


With reference to the schematic, lamp, LP2, is a power-on indicator. The other lamp (lower) lights when the unit reaches its preset current limit. R5, C2, and Q10 (TO-3 case) operate as a capacitor multiplier. The 36 volt zener across C2 limits the maximum supply voltage to the op-amps supply pins. D5, C4, C5, R15, and R16 provide a small amount of negative supply for the op-amps so that the op-amps can operate down to zero volts at the output pins (pins 6). A more modern design might eliminate these 4 components and use a CMOS rail-to-rail op-amp. Current limit is set by R3, D1, R4, R6, Q12, R10, and R13 providing a bias to U2 that partially turns off transistors Q9 and Q11 when the current limit is reached. R4 is a front panel potentiometer that sets the current limit, R22 is a front panel potentiometer that sets the output voltage (0-30 volts), and R11 is an internal trim-pot for calibration. The meter is a 1 milliamp meter with an internal resistance of 40 ohms. Switch S1 determines whether the meter reads 0-30 volts, or 0-1 amp.


Download the Orcad Schematic File

A more modern circuit might use a single IC regulator, such as the MC78XX, or MC79XX series, immediately after the half wave rectifier, to replace approximately 30 components, or at least a high precision zener diode to replace D10 as the voltage reference. The LM4040 is one such voltage reference and has excellent stability over temperature. IC regulators such as the MC78XX series may eventually become obsolete as newer IC regulators are designed, however, discrete transistors, op-amps, and zeners are more generic, have a longer production lifespan, and allow the designer to demonstrate that he understands the principles of linear regulated power supply operation.

Copyright 1999, Mike Ellis, All Rights Reserved


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