Technology
Power supply protection
BB-PowerSupply-0.jpg

SparkFun has a nice roundup of various power supply protection plans. It’s a great place to start learning about how to protect your prototypes from inadvertent power supply mistakes. I think most of us can recall frying at least one chip from switching polarities. Got a good story? Share it with the rest of us in the comments. Thanks!

When designing a board, power is always a concern. Not matter if the power supply is batteries or a wall wart, you have to consider how the user is going to attach the power supply. Given the opportunity, we have to assume that power will be hooked up wrong. This brings up the discussion of ‘reverse power protection’.

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10 thoughts on “Power supply protection

  1. Invariably I will mess something up with the power…I fried an SD card (though I’m not sure how, it took about a week of frustration to realize), and also managed to short two voltage regulators together via heatsink. :) Then there’s the dozen other times I shorted vcc to gnd on accident. So far no blown microchips, though.

    1. I remember working on a project that I thought was going really well…..That is until I saw a little plum of smoke come from the IC. I went to remove it (what was I thinking?) and let’s just say it was really hot!

  2. I have two incidents that occurred while working on my robotics course in university.

    1. We attached a infared distance sensor and noticed it was making a funny clicking noise, had the lines reversed to power. 50 bucks down the drain

    2. Hooking up the power said ‘thats an interesting LED colour – wait no LEDs – hmm smoke’….I had a diode hooked up in the wrong direction.

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