Bench Lab Power Supply 0-50V 0-5A


Every laboratory needs a few critical devices, the most important of which is a power supply for powering the projects. But as demand grows and the projects get bigger a professional and adjustable power supply becomes a necessity. Here is an adjustable 50V/5A power supply with a variable output from 0V to 50V and adjustable current limiting from 0A to 5A. Most simple power supplies cant get the output to come down to exactly 0V or 0A. But in this circuit, the differential amplifiers have a negative power supply rail at (-3V), which can pull the output down to exactly zero.





The power supply relies upon two differential amplifiers made from T1 to T6. The first one being responsible for controlling the output current limiting. The second differential amplifier controls the output voltage. They both are driven by the reference voltage created by D5 and D6. The use of zener and a normal diode is to compensate for thermal drift of the reference voltage generator. This is because they both have opposing thermal coefficients.


The voltage control circuitry is created from T4,T5 and T6. This works by measuring the differential voltage on two base terminals of T4 and T5. One terminal is supplied with the reference voltage, and the other with some of the output voltage. The reference voltage created by D5 and D6 is around 15.4V. Hence the differential amplifier must amplify the voltage difference by 3.4 times to match the 50V output. This is done by the voltage divider (R23,P3) on the inverting terminal of the differential amplifier, setting the gain of the diff amp to 3.4 times.

When tweaking the power supply, you must set P2 to its upper most level. Then fine tune the maximum output voltage to 50V by P3. Since the current sensing resistor (R24) is in a low side configuration, the differential amplifier must correct for the voltage drop it makes when the power supply is loaded.  This is why the reference voltage generator is connected to the (-) terminal of the power supply and not ground terminal. By connecting the reference voltage generator in such way, it allows it to drift up or down by the same amount of voltage the current sensing resistor creates as a voltage drop. Therefore it keeps the output steady through the load.


The current limiting circuitry is comprised from T1,T2 and T3. This works by measuring the voltage drop created by the current sensing resistor and comparing it to a given reference voltage created by R11 and P1. I actually suggest replacing R11 with a 220k trimmer and fine tuning the maximum current limit to match your requirements.

As it is, the protection is set to enable at 5.3A. With an adjustable value for R11, you can set the protection at any level up to maybe 6-7A without compensating the circuit for increase in power. When the protection is ON, T3 drops the voltage at its collector, thus creating an appropriate potential difference through the diode D7. At this point it starts stealing some of the biasing voltage of T4. By dropping the base voltage of T4, the output voltage drops sufficiently to keep the current through the load constant.

Hope this project will be useful to you guys 🙂 Do post your questions/ feedback in the comment box below. Happy DIY making 🙂

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Vladislav Damyanov

Vladislav Damyanov

Have a major in Telecommunications, but my passion is electronic circuits. Have made hundreds, some of which I'd like to share with you guys
Vladislav Damyanov

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5 Comments on "Bench Lab Power Supply 0-50V 0-5A"

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I’ve noticed a few things about this circuit: R3 and R4 values should be swapped, in their current configuration the output of the negative reg. is about -2V not -3V. -out is in the right place, essentially the supply is floating on the 100mOHM resistor. So regardless of how much current you pull, the potential between the +out and -out will still be your set value. The Voltmeter is directly across the outputs (+out & -out). You can buy displays with programmable gain, so the ammeter is one of these displays connector across the shunt R24. P2 appears to be… Read more »

where is the display circuit??


This circuit is wrong. Out “-” is not from right place.


How V and A meters are connected? What is purpose of P1, P2 and P3?


Can this be used on 110AC?