What is a Power Supply?

Power supply units (PSUs) are electrical devices that are capable of providing voltage for a load, and they are regularly found in computer systems, electric vehicles, aircraft, and more. While many electrical systems could simply receive power directly from an outlet or energy source, the power supply ensures that current is translated to the correct voltage, current, and frequency that is needed for the particular load. As such, they are crucial for the proper operation of many electronics and electrical systems.

Power supplies are typically categorized in a few ways, and the common classifications include their functionalities, packaging, and power conversion method. To classify power supplies by their functionality and features, various units are separated by whether they are regulated, unregulated, adjustable, etc. Regulated power supplies are those that can maintain a consistent output voltage regardless of any changes in load current or the input voltage. Meanwhile, unregulated power supplies will not maintain a set voltage, rather changing it alongside the adjustments in the load current or input voltage. When the output can be controlled, the power supply is considered adjustable.

The packaging of the power supply unit is also important for its classification, and different packaging may benefit various applications. When conducting circuit testing and development, a bench power supply is the most beneficial packaging type due to such equipment serving as a standalone desktop unit. For consumer electronics, the external power supply is the most common and will come in the form of a unit attached to the power cord which plugs into a wall outlet. Beyond such examples, other common power supply unit variations include the open frame, rack mount, and integrated types.

While power supplies may vary based on their type and application, many will share common features for their external and internal construction. In order to provide an output current for powering components, power supplies will contain various power connectors and connection points for power cords. As operations may cause heat to build up in the device, most will have a fan for proper ventilation. In addition to such components, many power supplies will also have a red switch for changing voltage and a rocker switch for turning the device on and off.

Within the power supply unit, a number of parts work together to manage current. With a rectifier, alternating current voltage can be converted into direct current voltage for the means of powering specific components. As the voltage leaves the rectifier, it is passed through a filter assembly which smooths it out. If the voltage needs to be stepped up or down, it will be passed through a transformer. To ensure that all components are properly powered with the correct volts or watts, the DC output is managed by a voltage regulator.

When you are searching for top quality power supplies and simulators, look no further than Aerospace Orbit. Aerospace Orbit is a top supplier of electronic parts, offering customers competitive pricing on power connectors, transistor and resistor components, board mount power supplies, voltage regulators, and much more. As the only independent distributor with a no China sourcing pledge, we ensure that every item ships alongside its qualifying certifications or manufacturing trace documentation. Due to our steadfast dedication to quality control practices and export compliance standards, we proudly operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If there are particular items from our inventory that you are interested in, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less.


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