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What is a Switch Mode Power Supply and why do you need it in your control panel?
Power supplies are the very foundation of all the electronic devices and provide consistent, clean power conditions. Most electronic devices, especially with integrated circuits, need a reliable DC voltage solution that can supply power to the circuit without any hiccups. In this blog, we’ll be looking at switching mode power supplies with various ranges and features. In the age of energy-efficient devices, the poor efficiency rating of a power supply can be a deal-breaker. The solution that you finally choose depends on your requirements for efficiency, cabinet space, output regulation, transient response time, and cost.
Switching mode power supplies technology was introduced in the late 1990s and it quickly rose to popularity of being the most preferred solution of supplying DC power to electronic devices.
What are the Types of Power Supply?
There are two types of power supply technologies: Linear Power Supply and Switching Mode Power Supply.
Traditional power supply technology is known as Linear Power Supply, which was designed with heavy step down transformers and bridge rectifiers to convert AC into DC.
Switch Mode Power Supply (SMPS) uses high-frequency switching with the latest semiconductor technology to convert AC power into DC.
Let’s start with why you need an SMPS instead of Traditional Power Supplies
High efficiency: SMPS generates very little heat due to its inherent switching action; which means that the series regulator element is either on or off and therefore little energy is dissipated as heat. The electromagnetic filters used in SMPS protect it from electromagnetic interference. SMPS is designed in a manner in which the input voltage does not affect the transformer’s performance as it has a wide output range.
Compact: Switching Mode Power Supplies (SMPS) uses advanced semiconductors and this ensures a very compact footprint of the entire module. With its ability to be mounted on standard DIN Rails, SMPS are an ideal choice for small control cabinets.
Costs: The surge in the output can be easily filtered out using small filter components; reducing the cost and size of the filter circuits. Highly engineered and optimised transformer designs makes the SMPS a cost effective solution.
SMPS are used in various industrial applications like
- Security Systems
- Machine Tools
- Aviation and Marine applications
- Process and Control Automation Systems
In addition to the basic specifications, one also needs to ask the following questions to select the right SMPS
- Requirement for electrical isolation between input and output?
- Temperature range of operation?
- Expected in-rush current?
- Peak and average output current?
- Transient exposure and response needs?
- Load and line regulation requirements?
- Switching frequency?
- In addition to EMI needs, including the need for power factor correction (PFC), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), or other certifications?
SMPS also have some additional features which users should be aware of. Some of them include:
Different operating methods
I] Parallel operation
II] Series operation
Check that the selected SMPS can support parallel and series connection whenever required.
· Overload protection: It is a feature that shuts off the power supply in the event of a short circuit or overcurrent for safety purpose
· Alarm Output: A Relay contact is provided on the SMPS to gauge SMPS condition.
· Life Expectancy/MTBF Value: More the MTBF value better is the life of the SMPS, so select your SMPS wisely.
A quick side note:
While designing your control panel circuit, use a power supply along with the different power specifications for your design to provide a constant DC output at all times.
Furthermore, the purpose of SMPS is to gain the most efficient conversion process. The main goal of a technical or system engineer is to develop a panel that includes a high functioning and efficient SMPS that has higher output power, low voltage and power density using a switching device. We hope that now you have a better understanding of this concept.