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BasicsofPowerSupplies

UseoftheHPE3631AProgrammablePowerSupply
Contents
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Introduction
BasicsofPowerSupplies:CV,CCandCV/CC
HPE3631ATripleOutputDCPowerSupply
ASimplifiedViewofaPowerSupply
ConstantVoltage
ConstantCurrent
DisablingtheOutputs
OtherFeatures
Specifications
Acknowledgements
References

Introduction
EachworkstationintheEEUndergraduatelaboratoryisequippedwithregulatedDC
powersupplies.ThefocusofthiswriteupisontheusetheHewlettPackard(HP)
E3631Atripleoutputpowersupply.Aswiththeotherinstrumentsateachworkbench,
theHPE3631Apowersupplyincorporatesstateoftheartdigitaltechnologiesand
providesmanyusefulfunctions.Thesupplycanberemotelyprogrammedandreadby
computerviaaGeneralPurposeInterfaceBoard(GPIB).Eachstationisprovidedwitha
User'sManualwhichcanbeconsultedfordetailedinformationonthemoreadvanced
functionsofthepowersupply.

BasicsofPowerSupplies

Aregulatedpowersupplyprovideselectricalenergywhichispreciselycontrolled.
PowersuppliescanbeofthetypeConstantVoltage,ConstantCurrent,andthe
ConstantVoltage/ConstantCurrentsources.AConstantVoltage(CV)supplyprovides
aDCvoltagethatcanbesettoanydesiredvalueoveraspecifiedrange.Anideal
constantvoltagesupplyhasazerooutputimpedance,asillustratedinFigure1a.Onthe
otherhand,aconstantcurrent(CC)supplygivesaregulatedcurrentindependentofthe
voltageovertheload(uptothemaximumallowablevoltage),asshowninFigure1b.

Figure1:Outputcharacteristicofaconstantvoltage(a)andconstantcurrent(b)supply.
AmoreversatilepowersupplyistheConstantVoltage/ConstantCurrentsupplywhich
canbeusedtoprovideeitheraconstantvoltageoraconstantcurrent.Figure2illustrates
theIVcharacteristicofsuchasupply.ThevaluesEsandIsareselectedbytheoperator
fromthefrontpanelorprogrammedthroughtheGPIBinterface.

Figure2:Outputcharacteristicofaconstantvoltage/constantcurrentsupply.
LetslookattheoperatingmodesofsuchaCV/CCpowersupply.Assumethatone
connectsaresistiveloadtothepowersupplyasshowninFigure3.Thesupplyhasbeen
setatavoltageV=VsandcurrentI=Is(seelateronhowtodothis).Thecurrentthrough
theresistoristhengivenbyOhm'slaw:I=V/R.Aslongasthecurrentisbelowthe
maximumvalueIs,thevoltageovertheresistorwillbeconstantandequaltoVs.The
powersupplyoperatesthusintheCVmodeasshowninFigure3.However,ifone
decreasestheresistancesuchthatthecurrentexceedsthemaximumallowablevalueIs,
thecurrentwillbelimitedtoIsandthepowersupplyoperatesintheCCmode.The
resistanceRc=Vs/Isiscalledthecriticalresistanceanddetermineswhetheroneoperates
intheCV(RL>Rc)orCC(RL>Rc)mode.

Figure3:OperatingpointofaCV/CCpowersupply.
HPE3631ATripleOutputDCPowerSupply
TheHPpowersupplyinthelabisoftheconstantvoltage/constantcurrenttypeas
describedabove.Theobjectiveofthissectionistogivea"handsonfeel"foradjusting
thevariousrangecontrolsofthepowersupplyandtogivesomeinstructionsfor
connectingthesupplytoprovidebothpositiveandnegativevoltages.
Figure4showsthefrontpaneloftheHPE3631Apowersupply.Italicizedprint
indicatestheswitchfunctions.Theshadedswitcheswillnotbeusedinthiswriteup.
Theseswitchescontrolthemoreadvancedfeaturesbuiltintotheequipment.Consultthe
User'sManualformoreinformation.

Figure4:FrontpaneloftheHPE3631Atripleoutputpowersupply.
Thepowersupplyhasatripleoutput:+6V/5A,+25V/1Aand25V/1Asupplies.These
outputs(bindingposts)arelocatedatthelowerrighthandsideofthefrontpanelofthe
supply(seeFigure4).Inaddition,thepowersupplyhasaearthgroundterminal
(indicatedbythesign)whichisconnectedtothechassisandearthgroundthrougha
3wiregroundreceptacle.Thisisdoneforsafetyconsiderations(seewriteuponSafety
in"ElectricalLaboratoryPractice").
ASimplifiedViewofaPowerSupply
Letslookatthepowersupplyintheconstantvoltage(CV)mode.ACVpowersupply
canbeconsideredtobea"nearideal"batterywithaverylowinternalresistance.As
explainedinthesectionabove,itsvoltagewillremainconstantifitscurrentrating(set
toIsbytheuser)isnotexceeded.Figure5illustratesthisviewofthepowersupply.
Notethatthegroundterminal(isisolatedfromthebatteryandisconnectedtothe
chassis(orcase)ground,whichisalsoconnectedtotheearthgroundthroughthe3wire
receptacle.The+25Vand25Vsupplies'outputshaveacommonoutputterminal
(denotedby"com")whichisisolatedfromthecaseorchassisground.Thepositiveor
negativeterminalsofeachoutputcanbegroundedoreachoutputcanbeleftfloating
withrespecttotheground(mustbekeptwithin+/240Vfromthechassisground).

Figure5:Simplifiedviewofthetripleoutputpowersupply
Figure6showsafewexamplesofhowthepowersupplycanbeconnected.InFigure6a
weareusingboththe+25Vand25Vsuppliesandthecommonpointhasbeen
connectedtotheground.Thismeansthatonesideofthetwoloads,Rload1andRload2,are
connectedtothechassis(andearth)groundwhichhasazerovoltageatthatnode.In
Figure6bthecommonpointbetweenthetwoloadsisnotconnectedtotheground
whichmeansthatthisnodeisfloatingwithrespecttotheground.However,thevoltage
overtheloadswillbethesameasinFigure6b.Bothmethodsofwiringcanbeusedand

usuallygivethesameresults.Onecanalsoconnectthetwopowersuppliesinseriesas
showninFigure6cinordertodoubletheoutputvoltage(toamaximumof50V).One
canconnectthe+or25Vterminaltothegroundtopindownthevoltageatoneend.

Figure6:Powersupplyconnections
Figure7showsthecasewhereoneusesthe+25V,25Vand6Vpowersuppliesinone
circuit.Allsupplieshaveacommonconnection(thereferencenode)whichcanor
cannotbeconnectedtotheground.

Figure7:Powersupplyconnectionusingthethreepowersupplies;thetopfigureshows
theactualconnection,andthebottomonegivesthecircuitschematic.
ConstantVoltage(CV)Operation
1.Connectthedesiredcircuittothepowersupply'soutputterminals.
2.Turnthepowersupplyon.Aftergoingtoastartuproutine,thepowersupply's
outputswillbedisabled(theOFFannunciatorison).
3.EnabletheoutputsbypressingtheOutputOn/OFFkey(seeFigure9)TheCVand
+6Vannunciatorswillbeontoindicatethatthepowersupplyoperatesintheconstant
voltagemodeandthatthe+6Vdisplayisselected.Youcanadjusttheblinkingdigitto
selectthedesiredoutputvoltagebyturningthelargeknobonthetoprightofthefront
panel.Thedisplayisinthemetermode,i.e.thedisplayshowstheactualoutputvoltage
andcurrent.
Tosetupthe+25Vpowersupply,pressthe+25Vkeytoselectthedisplayandadjust
the+25Vsupplyvoltage.Thesamecanbedoneforthe25Vsupply.

Figure8:Frontpanelselections
Thenextstepistoselectthemaximumcurrent(limitIs).Settingthecurrentlimitwill
ensurethatthesupplycanprovideenoughcurrent(anddoesnotgointotheconstant
currentmodeasexplainedinsection"BasicsofPowerSupplies"above).Inaddition,it
willprotectyourcircuitfromdrawingtoomuchcurrentandfrombeingdamaged.
4.SetthedisplayforlimitmodebypressingtheDisplayLimitkey.Youwillnoticethe
LMTannunciatorblinkingtoindicatethatthedisplayisinthelimitmode.Thedisplay
showstheactualvoltageandcurrentlimitvaluesoftheselectedsupply.
5.PresstheVol/Curkey.Theseconddigitoftheammeterwillbeblinking.Adjustthe
knob(usethe>or<buttonstoswitchtoanotherdigit)tosetthedesiredcurrentlimit
(makesuretheLMTannunciatorisstillblinking).
6.WhenyoupresstheVol/Curkeyagainthevoltagedigitwillbeblinking.Youcan
nowadjustthevoltageoutput.
7.ToreturntothemetermodepresstheDisplayLimitorletthedisplaytimeoutto
returnautomaticallytothemetermode.TheLMTannunciatorwillbeoff.
NOTE:tocheckthatyouareoperatingintheconstantvoltagemodeforthe+25Vor
25Vsuppliesmakesurethe+25Vor25Vannunciatorison.Forthe+6Vsupply,the
+6VandCVannunciatorswillbeon.IftheCCannunciatorison,chooseahigher
currentlimit.
ConstantCurrent(CC)Operation
Thepowersupplycanbeusedasacurrentsource.Thisisdoneinasimilarwayasfor
theCVmode.
1.Connectthedesiredcircuittothepowersupplyoutputterminals.
2.Turnthepowersupplyon.Thepowersupply'soutputswillbedisabled(theOFF
annunciatorison).
3.EnabletheoutputsbypressingtheOutputOn/OFFkey(seeFigure8)TheCVand
+6Vannunciatorswillbeontoindicatethatthepowersupplyoperatesintheconstant
voltagemodeandthatthe+6Vdisplayisselected.Thedisplayisinthemetermode,i.e.
thedisplayshowstheactualoutputvoltageandcurrent.
Tosetupthe+25Vpowersupply,pressthe+25Vkeytoselectthedisplayandadjust
the+25Vsupplyvoltage.Dothesameforthe25Vsupply.
4.SetthedisplayforlimitmodebypressingtheDisplayLimitkey.Youwillnoticethe
LMTannunciatorblinkingtoindicatethatthedisplayisinthelimitmode.Thedisplay
showstheactualvoltageandcurrentlimitvaluesoftheselectedsupply.
5.Youwillnoticethattheseconddigitofthevoltmeterisblinking.Turnthelargeknob
tosetthedesiredvoltagelimit(makesuretheLMTannunciatorisstillblinking).
6.PresstheVol/Curkey.Theseconddigitoftheammeterwillbeblinking.Adjustthe
desiredoutputcurrentthatthecurrentsourcewillsupply.
7.ToreturntothemetermodepresstheDisplayLimitorletthedisplaytimeoutto
returnautomaticallytothemetermode.TheLMTannunciatorwillbeoff.

NOTE:Toverifythatyouareoperatingintheconstantcurrentmodecheckthatthe
+6VandCCannunciatorisonifyouareusingthe+6Vsupply.Forthe+25Vor25V
suppliesmakesurethe+25Vor25Vannunciatorison.IftheCVannunciatorison,
chooseahighervoltagelimit.
DisablingtheOutputs
Sometimesyouneedtodisablethevoltageorcurrentoutputs.Thiscanbedonewithout
switchingoffthepowersupplysothatyoudonotlosethesettings.Todisablethe
outputs,presstheOutputOn/OFFkey.TheOFFannunciatorwillgoon.Toenablethe
outputs,pressOutputOn/OFFagain.
Otherfeatures.
TheHPE3631Ahasseveralotherusefulfeatures.Theyincludetrackingoperation(the
+25and25Voutputstrackeachother);storingandrecallingoperatingstates(upto3
differentsettingscanbestored);systemrelatedcontrols,andremoteinterface
configuration(GPIBandRS232).ConsulttheUser'sManualfordetailsonthese
features.

Specifications

Output Ratings:
o +6V Output: 0 to +6V: 0 to 5A
o +25V Output: 0 to +25V: 0 to 1 A
o -25V Output: 0 to -25V: 0 to 1 A
Ripple and Noise
o +6V Output: < 0.35 mV rms and <2 mV p-p; current: <2 mA rms
o +25V: < 0.35 mV rms and <2 mV p-p; current: <500 microA rms
o -25V: < 0.35 mV rms and <2 mV p-p; current: <500 microA rms
Load Regulation:
o Voltage: <0.01% + 2mV
o Current: <0.01% + 250 microAmp

References:
1.User'sGuide,HPE3631ATripleOutputDCPowerSupply,HewlettPackard. 2.C.
F.Coombs,"ElectronicInstrumentHandbook",McGrawHill,Inc.,NewYork,1995.