To Be Or Not To Be: Should You Make Or Buy the Custom Power Supply?


There is a strong case for purchasing a custom power supply from a tried and tested manufacturers rather than engineering the system in-house. There are many reference designs and power supply ICs in the market today.

So it is understandable that embedded engineers will try to build a custom power supply rather than buying it from a vendor. But you need to consider if making a power supply in your company makes sense.

For example, if you are making a large off-line power supply of 250 W or higher, it is best to leave the design and construction to a vendor with the engineering know-how/resources for the job. A well designed power supply also translates into smaller unit cost, better reliability and lower time to market than a power supply designed in-house.

Moreover, as many embedded engineers have discovered too late, designing a power supply in-house is fraught with risks, especially when you are working with a short lead time.

There is also the risk of costs exceeding the initial outlay. Many times, the company fails to perform compliance and reliability testing on the in-house power supply before starting production with the unit.

Don’t get us wrong. It is not difficult to create a power supply in-house, considering the software and design tools available. The problem is, the odds are not in favor of a casual embedded engineer.