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Just wondering if anybody could recommend a good consistent bench top power supply for powering up components not installed in the car? Thanks
Going to depend on your specific requirements, and budget, simplest may be a old 12V battery (maybe with a trickle charger hooked up to it) supplying a fused 12V output jack.
However, as you're likely to be testing electronics and as some of those are limited to 5V, with 12V causing terminal damage, perhaps you can re-purpose a spare PC power supply? They have 12V, 5V and may have a low current 3.3V option. You can find a pin out guides here - https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=PC+PSU+pin+out+guide If that seems rather complicated, BLACK is ground, RED is +5v, YELLOW is +12V, ORANGE is +3.3V and BLUE (if used) is -12V. Power on/off is a MOMENTARY contact across the GREEN and Ground wires.
I would strongly suggest using some form of fuse, or circuit breaker as, while PSUs normally have S/C and overload protection, they are also designed to provide relatively high currents, especially the high output variations, and are quite capable of melting faulty parts before it kicks in.
If you've a higher budget, there are many electronics supply companies that have adjustable testing equipment, DC and AC (not much use in Automotive, but if you've an interest in electronics?) and some have current limit settings, in case of partial short, such as https://www.tester.co.uk/electrical-electronic/electronic-component-instruments/ac-dc-power-supplies
I have bought stuff from Farnell https://uk.farnell.com/c/test-measurement/bench-power-supplies-sources-loads/bench-top-power-supplies in the past, as they have top notch stuff, but ****ing expensive!
i don't know much about the UK electronic hobbiest market, but you should be able to buy something from companies serving that market.
Thanks Gord, I will look into this!!
Be sure to add an inline fuse, and size it appropriately to protect the device and the wires. This was already mentioned, but it's important to re-emphasize that PC power supplies and batteries can deliver enough current to melt wires and cause fires. Most automotive fuses will allow some overcurrent before they blow, so I would start with a very low-current fuse (2A or less) unless you know you're working with something that needs more current.
I've used one of those small lithium jump-start battery packs that I had sitting around, they are cheaper than a lab-grade power supply. I've used an affordable lab-type supply built by Tenma and it has worked well. I'm sure they make a few, I have a 72-8345 which displays voltage and current (with adjustment knobs for both).
Since you are in UK with similar grounding system to us in NZ, If you go for a bench top power supply make sure it has the isolated ground/negative terminals (usually will have a red, black and green jack rather than just two on an un-isolated model) and only power the ecu from the isolated negative. Otherwise if you connect something like an oscilloscope that is ground referenced to an H-bridge type output you will potentially lose some smoke.
I too use a cheap Tenma 72-2690, works well, it had a horrible noisy fan originally which was fixed by adding a cap.