There was some discussion in this thread about benchtop power supplies: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/48367
And in the L6 thread about high powered battery chargers.
These can be used as a nice battery charger so I figured this was the best place to put a review about them.
So I figured I could knock out 2 birds with one stone with a quick and dirty review of the DP and DPS series of power supply modules. Be warned, I didn’t have time for lots of pretty pictures and hard data but it gets the point across.
Here are some of the things talked about in this thread hanging out together:
So since I no longer have access to the electronics equipment of days past, I figured it was time to get some of my own. Been slowly collecting things here and there and seeing just how good the china knock off’s can be.
With some careful buying I have come to find that you can get some surprisingly good stuff for the money. And some things are are no more then paper weights.
Another item that was well worth the cost was the 852D soldering / hot air station. The temperature control is a must if soldering more then a handful of times, while not the quality of a real hakko unit, it works quite well with the main shortcoming being the 60W iron taking a fair amount of time to heat up and a few minor issues that are easy to work around.
While I have some fluke 77 multimeters they are older models (but still dead on accurate) and don’t have a lot of the more advanced functions. Plus a bit more resolution is nice, so I got an UT139C which is also GREAT, super precise and agrees with the flukes across the board. The best part for LED testing is that the diode test mode has just enough power to light a 3v led in a moon mode for testing.
Add in some nice test leads from ebay (I got these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/321150607043) and you have a great little setup for testing small flashlight drivers.
Power supply review starts here
So then the next thing I wanted was a benchtop power supply that was stable.
I started out with a basic analog setup from something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-DC-CC-CV-Buck-Converter-Step-down-Power-Suppl...
The module itself worked fine, it outputted the voltage and amperage it said it would. On the scope the output was not perfect but acceptable. As a fixed power supply for a project it works great. For a benchtop power supply it is dangerous since you never know what the voltage or current is set to until you turn it on, leading to the death of an LED.
I started out trying to find some meters for it to allow me to see what is going on but that would not solve the issue of not knowing what it was set to until it was turned on. To get past this hurdle was doable but it would be ugly and impractical.
So thats when I started looking into benchtop power supply options. I wanted at least 5 amps of current capability to test LED’s. This proved very hard to find on a budget. All the pre-made ones max out around 3A for less then $60-70.
I then stumbled onto the DP50V5A while surfing banggood. After some searching I found that the manufacture has a direct sales store on aliexpress with some other neat things as well.
I could find exactly ZERO info on this unit at the time but aliexpress is truly a zero risk buying market so I figured worst case if it didn’t work I would get my money back.
So a bit under 2 weeks later it showed up and I proceeded to install it into an ATX power supply, the only downside to this is that it is limited to 11V output. This is enough for LED testing though so I was not worried.
I have to say I am truly shocked at how well it works. The meters on the unit are dead on spec. It does exactly what you want and how you want it. Constant voltage and constant current both work flawlessly as well.
I have some minor beefs with the firmware in the DP series but it was improved in the DPS some. My biggest complaint is the single control wheel, a second wheel with each directly connected to current and voltage would make it easier to adjust things but it is not a deal breaker.
When scoping out the signal from the module it was perfectly clean (well down to what my cheap scope can measure anyways). No ripple or noise.
For under $30 it was truly a bargain that I was immensely happy with.
So I then saw that they had released the DPS3012 awhile later, well that would be quite nice to have a bit more amperage for testing plus I planned to use a better power supply that would give me the full 30V and it didn’t need the diode to charge batteries.
So I snagged one of them during the introduction sale and proceeded to make an acrylic box to house it.
I power it with a “48 volt” power supply from ebay. Luckily these are usually adjustable to some extent and I have the voltage set to ~36v.
These are not nearly as stable as the ATX power supply obviously and there is a fair amount of ripple voltage on the output going to the module. It shows the quality of the module that it is able to completely eliminate the ripple and output a great stable voltage.
Total for the power supply and module was a bit over $40 for 30V and 12 amps, that would cost at least 3x the price from a pre-made power supply.
The DPS series does improve the firmware noticeably, The biggest advantage is that you can get directly to the voltage and current settings by pressing the top or bottom yellow buttons respectively instead of having to scroll through them with the set button.
Although it leaves the digit you were adjusting WAY too fast, like 20 seconds. This is my largest complaint for the DPS model (well besides also wanting 2 control knobs). Once again it is just something you learn to work around.
This unit also has a super stable output and very accurate meters. Although slightly less so then the DP50V5A, which it states in the specs it would. Mine seems to be calibrated about .06-.08 volts off but besides that it tracks within spec vs my DMM across the range.
Overall I am VERY happy with this one as well. I find myself using this one more simply because it is easier to adjust the voltage/amperage.
They now have the DPS5015, which is a 50v 15A version of the DPS. This is what I would have got if it had been released at the time, for the extra few bucks might a well have the extra head room, plus the heat sink it larger.
Speaking of the heatsinks the DPS3012 does a good job of keeping things cool enough but they still get warm at high currents, particularly the shunts, so if you will be using it with high currents for extended periods I would add another fan blowing over the shunts/board, just because I like things to stay cool as possible.
Overall both of them are am amazing bang for the buck and I highly recommend them. If given the choice get the DPS series, they are nicer to use.
For flashlights I would go with the DPS5015 as the amperage allows you to charge batteries very fast and easy (make sure not to charge with more current they they are rated!!!).
Any questions, feel free to ask!
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My LED Test series - XP-L2 V5 - Nichia 219C 90+ CRI - Latticebright "XM-L" - XHP35 & PWM efficiency - XHP50 - XP-L V5 - XM-L2 U2 - XP-G3 S5 - XP-L HI V2 - Oslon Square & direct comparison to Djozz tests - Nichia 319A - Nichia 219B 9080 CRI - Nichia 219C D320