Power Supply - Series Vs Parallel Functionality


Have you tried to test the limits of a device's power and current capacity? Then you know a power supply is limited on its output based on the specifications of the supply unit. What if a device needs to be tested for higher current or voltage? In other words, what if what is available on a single or triple power supply unit is not enough? Unless the unit has parallel and series functions built into it this will be a problem. Thankfully, there are two options that allow the use these functions. It can be either with a triple power supply unit or multiple single units.

Simply put, the parallel functionality is used to double the current output while keeping the same voltage. For example, if you need to increase the current capacity, do so with multiple power supplies. So mathematically, the max value of output for a current with the parallel function would be 2*N (N being the max values of the power supply current capacity).

In opposition to the parallel function the series function doubles the voltage output while keeping the current the same. The maximum value for output of voltage is the same as the parallel function 2*N (N being the max values of the power supply voltage capacity).

Triple Power Supply Unit

Most triple power supply units have both of these functions built in. In most cases, the best way to use them is in the manual or it could even be on the face of the unit itself. Unfortunately, even though the unit is a triple power supply it only allows access for two of the units. This means that the maximum output for either the parallel or series function is the value of the two main power supplies.

Multiple Single Power Supply Units

Another way to use these functions is to use multiple single power supply units together. The benefit to this is that there is no maximum capacity for using the series and parallel functions. The downside is that there is not limit to using the series and parallel functions. This means that if you are not used to the devices that you are testing and know for absolute sure what its limitations are you could end up damaging the device or harming yourself. Be cautious when operating multiple single power supplies because it can become overwhelming to those who have not had much experience with them before.

Now, the way to use them varies on the power supply type. Some units will come with instructions on how to put them together and others do not. If they do not, contact a technical specialist who knows the products specs. 

I do hope that this helps clear up how to use the series and parallel functionalities for power supplies and gives you more confidence in using them. Remember to always be careful when working with these machines. 


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