Measuring and Analyzing Power Supply

What is a power supply? A power supply is a system, sub system or component to convert electrical power. It is usually used to convert alternating current to direct current.


The operation of all electronic devices, whether they are military equipment, industrial machinery or personal computers depends on the reliability and performance of the DC power supply.


The power supply in turn depends on its components, distortion (if any) in line power, environmental changes and so on. There are many kinds of power supplies ranging from the current favorite- switch mode power supply to traditional analog power supply. All have to work in dynamic and complex environments.


Device loads can change from one instant to another. The power supply must be able to handle sudden peaks over and above standard operating levels. This is where a custom power supply can help. Embedded engineers must understand power supply in different conditions to determine the best solution.


Traditionally, power supply behavior was vetted with the help of voltage and static current measurements using digital multimeter and then analyzing the data on a calculator or computer.


Now, we have the oscilloscope for this job. Modern oscilloscopes contain integrated analysis and power measurement software. This has simplified the set up, making is easy to take measurements.