What Is a Power Supply and Their Common Types?

A power supply is an electrical device that is capable of transforming provided power from a power source into energy that is usable by connected components and systems. Coming in various forms, power supplies may utilize generators, solar power, batteries, or other forms of energy for their functionality as a power converter and supplier. As power supplies will regularly differ in their ability to supply specific voltages, frequencies, and current, it can be highly beneficial to familiarize oneself with the common types of power supplies on the market in order to find the correct fit for a given application.

The unregulated linear power supply type is one that mostly benefits low power requirements. For its general makeup, such electronic devices utilize a rectifier, step-down transformer, filter capacitor, and a bleeder resistor. They are often simplistic in their construction, and thus are cost-efficient for certain applications. Despite this, their output voltage is not steady as input voltages and load currents will cause a varying output. There may also be a resulting ripple from the electronic device, though such ripples may be mitigated with the addition of an LC filter.

The regulated linear power supply is similar to the unregulated type, though their difference lies in the fact that the bleeder resistor is replaced with a 3-terminal regulator. With alternating current serving as the input, the regulated linear power supply utilizes a transformer, rectifier, smoothing filter, and regulator to provide a direct current output. Unlike the unregulated type, regulated linear power supplies often are capable of providing an accurate and constant output voltage with components such as the voltage regulator, shunt regulator, and other parts.

When utilizing computer systems, power is managed and regulated by a device known as the computer power supply. Receiving alternating current, the computer power supply transforms it into direct current that is then supplied to various computer hardware parts. The power supply unit also protects components from overheating through the implementation of voltage control. The voltage provided by computer power supplies may vary like many other types, so one should always note how much power their computer requires with all assembled parts before making a choice.

If there is ever a concern for the loss of power and an inability to maintain electronic devices and systems during the initiation of a standby generator, uninterruptible power supplies are the most beneficial. As a backup power device, uninterruptible power supply units ensure that there is sufficient energy to either safely shut down a system before the loss of power or to maintain it until backup systems are brought online. In order to garner enough energy to supply systems with power during a power failure or fluctuation, uninterruptible power supplies will often utilize rechargeable batteries, conditioning circuitry, and power sensing circuitry.

In some instances, one may wish to have remote control over a power supply, and programmable power supply units provide such functionality. Through analog input or digital interfaces, the power supply unit may have its current, voltage, and frequency monitored and controlled. With their capabilities, programmable power supply units are regularly used for the fabrication of semiconductors, x-ray generators, and other such electronic devices or applications.

 When it comes time to begin sourcing the power supply units and electronic devices that you require for your various operations, the experts at ASAP Components have you covered with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on all that we currently offer. Explore our robust part and manufacturer catalogs to find filter capacitors, voltage regulators, power converter devices, shunt regulators, and a multitude of other electronics sourced from top global manufacturers. Every item is rigorously tested, inspected, and cross-referenced prior to shipment, and we ensure all are shipped alongside their qualifying certifications or manufacturing trace documentation as applicable. Begin the part procurement process today and experience how ASAP Components can serve as your strategic sourcing partner.


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December 23, 2020

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