Switched-mode power supply

Switched-mode power supply

A switched-mode power supply (switching power supply, SMPS, or switcher) is an electronic power supply that incorporates a switching regulator to convert electrical power efficiently. Like other power supplies, an SMPS transfers power from a source, like mains power, to a load, such as a personal computer, while converting voltage and current characteristics. Unlike a linear power supply, the pass transistor of a switching-mode supply continually switches between low-dissipation, full-on and full-off states, and spends very little time in the high dissipation transitions, which minimizes wasted energy. Ideally, a switched-mode power supply dissipates no power. Voltage regulation is achieved by varying the ratio of on-to-off time. In contrast, a linear power supply regulates the output voltage by continually dissipating power in the pass transistor. This higher power conversion efficiency is an important advantage of a switched-mode power supply. Switched-mode power supplies may also be substantially smaller and lighter than a linear supply due to the smaller transformer size and weight.

Switching regulators are used as replacements for linear regulators when higher efficiency, smaller size or lighter weight are required. They are, however, more complicated; their switching currents can cause electrical noise problems if not carefully suppressed, and simple designs may have a poor power factor.

The main advantage of a switching power supply is greater efficiency because the switching transistor dissipates little power when it is outside of its active region (i.e., when the transistor acts like a switch and either has a negligible voltage drop across it or a negligible current through it). Other advantages include smaller size and lighter weight (from the elimination of low frequency transformers which have a high weight) and lower heat generation due to higher efficiency.

For more information please call 01844 204420 or visit ecopacpower.co.uk

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