15 April 2020

Another HV DC power supply

DISCLAIMER. This "project" handles lethal voltages and currents. Do NOT replicate. I take no responsibility for any damage that might occur from replicating or imitating what is illustrated below.

Having lots of time to spend at home to do "whateveryouwant", I started to clean the lab: move stuff around, make room on the desk, prepare a trip to the recycling facility, see stuff under a different light.

I happen to have two 12V power supplies from 1980's, when heavy transformers were dominating the scene and guaranteed RF silence. The first purchase was 12V/2A, then upgraded to 12V/5A (not that I cared about RF noise back then in my CB years!).

Both power supplies, as of April 2020.
They took space in the lab, one partially broke, one was recently upgraded with a step-down converter in place of 7812 so, as the headline suggests, I made a high-voltage DC power supply out of them.

What was (left) inside. Dust included.

D-C rectifier and back2back trafo.
How? I wired the two transformers back-to-back and rectified the AC output. Bonus, since transformers were both centre-tapped, I can select two outputs just by switching the intermediate connection: 170V or 340V. And both transformers fit into one original case!

According to transformer ratings I should be able to draw about 100-120 mA at 170V and half of that at 340V. Then the voltage drops, transformers vibrate and overheat.

The transformer receiving the mains is the bulkier one, from the former 12V/5A PSU, so there is some room for a low voltage output with decent current.

Final look, with HV output yellow/black.
Needed improvements:
  • fuse the AC input
  • fuse the HV output
  • add a damping resistor on the HV output
  • attach the HV output selection switch to the case 
  • add a status LED/lamp
  • add the low voltage output circuit
Unloaded 340V.
Unloaded 170V.