When you are working on an electronics project you will inevitably need a power source. Batteries are often the way to go but sometimes, when prototyping, batteries are just not practical, this is where a bench top power supply comes in.
Bench top power supplies are an electronics hobbyist’s best friend. The bad thing is that they can be rather expensive. What you might not have known though is that you may already have one at home, well at least something that can be turned into one, an ATX computer power supply (or PSU).
Computer PSU’s provide steady, high current output power in commonly used logic voltage levels and most geeks will have one lying around from a computer upgrade or salvage mission. It only takes a little bit of work to turn a PSU into a great and cheap bench top power supply.
So what work needs to be done? Well Hitoshih has put together a great tutorial on converting a computer PSU to a bench top power supply, doing it for just $15. The parts list includes; Banana Jacks for easy connections, an On/Off switch, some LED’s, some 330ohm Resistors and 10 ohm Resistor.
It’s a really great tutorial and covers all points in great detail with pictures guiding you through the whole process.
One thing that I learnt from it is that without a load on the 5V rail the PSU will not turn on. Hitoshih overcomes this by using a 10 ohm 20 watt resistor from the +5V line to ground.
If you are looking for a way to power your prototyped creations definitely give this tutorial a look over and save yourself some cash.