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Simple Definitions

The most important electronics terms, demystified in one place.

Power Supply

Our Take

A source of power, it can be either AC or DC when doing circuit analysis but when referring to a physical power supply, it’s usually referring to an AC to DC converter.

Book Definition

An active element that provides a specific voltage or current that is completely independent of other circuit elements.

Fundamentals of Electric Circuits, 5th Edition by Charles K. Alexander and Matthew N. O. Sadiku

A piece of test equipment used to supply DC voltage and current to electronic circuits under test.

Grob’s Basic Electronics, 11th Edition by Mitchel E. Schultz

A circuit that converts ac line voltage to DC voltage and supplies constant power to operate a circuit or system

Electronic Devices : Conventional Current Version, 9th Edition by Thomas L. Floyd

Wikipedia

A power supply is an electrical device that supplies electric power to an electrical load. The primary function of a power supply is to convert electric current from a source to the correct voltage, current, and frequency to power the load. As a result, power supplies are sometimes referred to as electric power converters. Some power supplies are separate standalone pieces of equipment, while others are built into the load appliances that they power. Examples of the latter include power supplies found in desktop computers and consumer electronics devices. Other functions that power supplies may perform include limiting the current drawn by the load to safe levels, shutting off the current in the event of an electrical fault, power conditioning to prevent electronic noise or voltage surges on the input from reaching the load, power-factor correction, and storing energy so it can continue to power the load in the event of a temporary interruption in the source power (uninterruptible power supply).

All power supplies have a power input connection, which receives energy in the form of electric current from a source, and one or more power output connections that deliver current to the load. The source power may come from the electric power grid, such as an electrical outlet, energy storage devices such as batteries or fuel cells, generators or alternators, solar power converters, or another power supply. The input and output are usually hardwired circuit connections, though some power supplies employ wireless energy transfer to power their loads without wired connections. Some power supplies have other types of inputs and outputs as well, for functions such as external monitoring and control.

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