Tips to Effectively Test a Power Supply Unit of a Printed Circuit Board

It is an undeniable fact that power supplies present on the printed circuit board actually supply life to all electronic devices. With the growing advancement in technology, the power supplies are expected to become smaller in size with more efficiency as well as power density as compared to its bigger counterpart. Simultaneously the cost incurred on developing power supply must fall within the designated budget. All these requirements and demands put a heavy dose of pressure on the shoulders of the power supply designer as if the power supply renders to be ineffective; the functionality, working and the life of the electronic component will get drastically reduced. Below we are going to walk through certain tips to effectively test power supply designs before giving the final go-ahead.

  • Testing across all temperature ranges

Optimized key parameter testing is a good approach when we are working with some seriously major power components. An optimized key parameter can be anything ranging from on-state, off-state etc. Upon setting the optimized key parameter the components of the power supply must be tested across all temperature settings.

  • Powering on low voltage circuits first

It is mandatory to make prototypes and based on the test results of the prototype the final power supply must be developed. When powering on care must be taken to power on the lower low-voltage analog and digital circuits first. These also must be powered on with one sub-circuit at a time using a precision DC power supply.

  • Powering on high-voltage circuits

Once all the low-voltage circuits are checked power on the high voltage circuits, one at a time, using an AC power source with current limiting. Please make sure that during the initial phase of testing high-voltage circuits are isolated from the low-voltage circuits. Once all the high voltage circuits are fine; power on the low-voltage circuits along with to get to know the complete story.

  • Checking the control logic

Once you are over with the powering on the part; please go ahead and test the control logic. Here, you need to check for several factors like voltage, timing, frequency etc. A frequency response analyzer comes in handy here as for testing out the loop frequency a sweep signal is used and the response analyzer helps to calculate the statistics in this case.

  • Switching characteristics and essential specifications check

It is mandatory to test out the switching characteristics of the power stage. Also, once you are done by this please make sure that you check out your power supply for certain specifications such as noise, short-circuit protection, load management and much more. You can refer the detailed datasheet provided by the manufacturer, in this case, to check out all the necessary operating attributes of the power supply.

  • EMI & RFI

This part of testing must never be ignored. It is really critical to measure the Electromagnetic interference (EMI) or radio frequency interference (RFI) so as to ensure that the power supply is working under the established norms.

Written by Ruchi Gupta

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