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Power on the Go: Portable Power Supply Tips & Tricks

February 28, 2017

Although power supplies are most often used in a single location, such as a design lab or a factory test station, there are times when portability is desirable. 

For example, you may not want to purchase a laboratory power supply with sophisticated computer-control features, such as the Sorensen XBT Series (see right), for every design engineer in your company because they may not often need those capabilities.

In this case, a good strategy might be to have one that can be shared amongst the design engineers, moving it from bench to bench when needed.

XBT portable power supply

So, what should you look for when purchasing a portable power supply?

As simple as it may sound, first look for a handle. As you can see from the picture above, the XBT Series comes with a carrying handle that allows you to easily tote it from one benchtop or test station to another. The handle helps prevent you from accidentally dropping and damaging the power supply. Other features to consider include compact size and light weight.

The XBT Series measures just 8.5-in x 5.3-in. X 17-in. and weighs less than 15 pounds. Many other AMETEK Programmable Power products, including the California Instruments Compact i/iX Series AC/DC power source and the Sorensen SG Series DC Power Supplies, can be outfitted with carrying handles.

Portable benchtop instrument caseIf the power supplies that you want to transport do not have carrying handles, you can always make a portable package yourself by using a benchtop instrument case like the one shown at left. This assumes, of course, that the power supplies can be mounted in a 19-in. rack. One advantage of this approach is that if your power supplies do not completely fill the case, you can add other instruments.

To move supplies that may be too big or heavy to simply carry around, you can use a rolling 19-in. rack. These are available from many different manufacturers. When purchasing a rolling rack, consider buying one big enough to not only accommodate the power sources, but also shelves or drawers to hold test accessories that you may also want to cart around with the power supplies. These accessories might include test leads and a copy of the supply's operating manual.

These are just a couple of tips on how to make programmable power, portable power as well.

For more information on portable power supplies, contact AMETEK Programmable Power. You can send an e-mail to sales.ppd@ametek.com or phone 800-733-5427.