DC Power Supply

DC Power Supply
This experiment consists of 9 separate sections, each investigating aspects of D.C. supplies. You
may do all or only a few of these experiments. Before beginning, read through the whole of these
instructions and decide which sections you will do.
Electric energy is most often delivered in the form of alternating current, i.e. the voltage and the
current alternate sinusoidally between two extremes. This cycle is repeated 60 times a second (50
times a second in Europe). Very often, however, and particularly for electronic circuits, direct
current is desired, i.e. voltage and/or current which are stable in time. The degree of stability of the
voltage varies according to how the DC is produced. A dry cell, for example, gives a very good
short term stability i.e. there are no fast fluctuations but the long term stability is poor because the
cell runs down. A power supple converting AC to DC may, on the other hand, have a good long
term stability but rather poor short term stability. In this case fast but often small variations called
ripple originate from the AC input leaking through the AC to DC converter.
The aim when designing a DC supply is of course to get an output voltage with good stability.
A DC supply consists of the following parts:
A transformer to change the voltage as required and to isolate the DC circuit from the line.
A rectifier consisting of one or more diodes, to change AC to DC.
A smoothing circuit using inductors and capacitors.
An electronic stabilizer which improves the stability of the voltage and/or current.
1. Rectification
The transformer delivers an alternating voltage so in order to get DC we must get rid of one half of
the voltage. This can be done by using a diode which permits current to flow only in one direction,
thus acting as some sort of non-return valve (recall the diode characteristics you have already
Experiment A
The simplest half wave rectifier is shown in Fig. 1.
RL is a load resistor representing the device which requires DC. Connect the circuit above and
observe simultaneously on the oscilloscope the transformer voltage VT, and the output voltage, VL.
Using a multimeter observe the A.C. value of VL, VT.
Switch off the supply voltage to the transformer before doing any alterations.
The vertical sensitivity of the Oscilloscope should be set so the full sine wave from the
transformer output is within the size of the screen.
Operate the Oscilloscope in the DC mode.
Draw all Oscilloscope displays directly in your lab report, indicating voltages, or take a
hardcopy of the screen, also indicating voltage scales.
This method of rectification just stops the flow in one direction and is called half wave rectification.
Question: Why does the oscilloscope trace for VL follow about 0.7 volts lower than the positive half
of the trace for VT, rather than being identical to the positive half of VT?
Experiment B
If there is a centre tap on the transformer, a full wave rectifier circuit may be used as in Fig. 2.
Connect the circuit and observe and record VT1, VT2 and VL using the Oscilloscope and the
multimeter as you did in experiment A. As in experiment A, observe VL on the Oscilloscope
simultaneously with VT1, and then VT2. Notice how the Oscilloscope trace for VL changes as you
connect and disconnect the diode D2.
Experiment C
A useful full wave rectifier circuit can be built up by four diodes.
Connect the circuit of Fig. 3 and observe VT and VL using the oscilloscope and your multimeter as
you did in experiment A.
CAUTION: Note that because there is no common connection between VT and VL, it is not possible
to observe VT and VL simultaneously on the oscilloscope. An attempt to do so would short-circuit
one of the diodes. Explain!
- What is the advantage of this circuit, called a bridge rectifier, compared to that one in
experiment B?
- Why is the peak amplitude of VL approximately 1.4 volts lower than the amplitude of VT?
- How does the output voltage, VL in this experiment compare to that in experiment B?
- Compare the peak inverse voltage requirements of the diodes in experiments A, B and C?
2. Smoothing (Introduction to Experiment D)
The insertion of a capacitor Cs, after the diode, across the load provides smoothing, as in Fig. 4.
VT varies, both positively and negatively. Whenever VT>VL, so that VD is positive, then current ID
flows through the diode, providing current IC to charge the smoothing capacitor Cs, and current IL to
the load RL. When VT<VL, VD is negative, and ID=O, so that Cs discharges through RL, and Ic=-IL.
If the time constant CsRL is considerably greater than the time for one cycle, 1/60 second, then VL
will drop only slightly during the cycle, and will be recharged during the positive peak of the cycle,
to a value equal to the amplitude of VT.
NOTE: Be careful to observe polarity of electrolytic capacitors.
Experiment D
Connect the circuit in Fig. 4 and measure VT and VL using the Oscilloscope and your multimeter as
you did in experiment A. Do this measurement for three values of RL, so that (a) RLCs  sec, (b)
RLCs  1/6 sec, (c) RLCs  1/60 sec.
Fig. 5 shows a method of measuring currents ID, IC, IL . Insertion of small resistances R1 and R2
make this possible, since V1 = -ID R1, and V2 = ICR2, and VL = ILRL.
Connect the circuit in Fig. 5 and measure ID, IC, IL using the oscilloscope.
3. Filter Circuit
Introduction to Experiment F
A low pass filter can be used to further reduce ripple as in Fig. 6.
L is a choke of inductance between 1 H and 10 H and internal series resistance less than 80 ohms.
(Check this resistance with an ohmmeter).
Experiment F
Connect the circuit in Fig. 6, using the same values of CS and RL you used in experiment D with RL
chosen as the same as value (c). Observe Vs and VL using the Oscilloscope. Compare the
magnitudes and phase of these two voltages. Calculate the percent ripple in Vs and VL. Explain
your results and comment on the usefulness of the filter. (Use your Oscilloscope on AC input to
compare VL and Vs. Why?) What is the effect of the internal series D.C. resistance in the choke?
Notice the relative phase of the ripple on VL and Vs.
4. Zener Diode Regulation
Introduction to Experiment G
A Zener diode will maintain a more or less constant voltage across it in the reverse direction
independent of current passing through it for a wide range of currents, as shown from your curves
obtained in the diodes experiment. This property may be used to stabilize a power supply against
variations in input supply voltage and in load current drawn.
The Zener diode may be connected as in Fig. 7.
Experiment G
Connect the circuit in Fig. 7. Use values of Cs and Rs so that the time constant RC  1/30 sec.
Observe VL and Vs on the oscilloscope and also with your multimeter on a D.C. volts range, as you
vary the line supply voltage from 85 volts to 110 volts to 130 volts, for RL = 100 ohms so that the
transformer secondary voltage varies from 9.7 to 12.6 to 14.9 volts. Also with a line supply voltage
of 110 volts, observe VL and Vs as RL is varied to change IL from 0 ma to 60 ma to 90 ma.
Comment on the stabilization provided by the Zener diode.
5. Transistor Voltage Stabilization
Introduction to Experiment H
As you will find when you study electronics, a transistor used in conjunction with a Zener Diode can
provide better stabilization than a simple Zener diode.
Fig. 8 is a simple regulator supply circuit, in which the transistor is in an "emitter follower circuit",
so that the Zener diode accurately regulates the voltage with little change of current through it, and
the transistor passes on this regulation so that Vc stays constant for a wide variation in IL.
Experiment H
Repeat experiment G, but using the circuit of Fig. 8.
6. Voltage Doubler Rectifier
Introduction to Experiment I
A voltage doubler rectifier circuit is shown in Fig. 9.
Experiment I
Connect the circuit in Fig. 9 and observe VL, VT, V1, and V2 using the oscilloscope for values of RL
of  (no load), 2.7 kΩ, 1.0 kΩ, and 270 Ω. Explain the operation of this circuit.
Compare the peak inverse voltage and peak current requirements for the diodes in this circuit,
compared to those for the circuit in Fig. 2 for the same output voltage VL, and output current IL.
NOTE: In all parts of this experiment, carefully and systematically record your observations. All
drawings of oscilloscope curves for any given section should be included on the same graph page,
with magnitudes of voltages or currents indicated, and with the relative timing of "phase" of the
various curves indicated. In all cases comment on your observations, and compare them to theory in
as much detail as possible.
J. Brophy, Basic Electronics for Scientists 3rd Edn., pg. 101
R. Simpson, Introductory Electronics for Scientists and Engineers, pg. 147.
(jbv 85)
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