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A Power supply or SMPS is a

transformer and voltage control
device in a computer that furnishes
power to all the electronic
components by converting them into
low voltage DC (direct current)
Interior view of an
ATX switched-
mode power

A - bridge rectifier
B - Input filter
C - Transformer
D - output filter
E - output filter
SMPS and Linear Power
 A switched-mode power supply or SMPS, is an electronic power supply
unit (PSU) that incorporates a switching regulator. While a
linear regulator maintains the desired output voltage by dissipating
excess power in a "pass" power transistor, the SMPS rapidly switches
a power transistor between saturation (full on) and cutoff (completely
off) with a variable duty cycle whose average is the desired output
voltage. The resulting rectangular waveform is low-pass filtered with
an inductor and capacitor. The main advantage of this method is
greater efficiency because the switching transistor dissipates little
power in the saturated state and the off state compared to the
semiconducting state (active region).
 Other advantages include smaller size and lighter weight (from the
elimination of low frequency transformers which have a high weight)
and lower heat generation from the higher efficiency.
 Disadvantages include greater complexity, the generation of high
amplitude, high frequency energy that the low-pass filter must block
to avoid EMI, and a ripple voltage at the switching frequency and the
harmonic frequencies thereof.
How an SMPS works
Input rectifier stage
If the SMPS has an AC input, then the
first stage is to convert the input to DC.
This is called rectification.

The rectifier produces an unregulated

DC voltage which is then sent to a large
filter capacitor. The current drawn from
the mains supply by this rectifier circuit
occurs in short pulses around the AC
voltage peaks. These pulses have
significant high frequency energy which
reduces the power factor. Special
control techniques can be employed by
the following SMPS to force the average
input current to follow the sinusoidal
shape of the AC input voltage. AC, half-wave and full wave rectified
If an input range switch is used, the rectifier stage is usually
configured to operate as a voltage doubler when operating on
the low voltage (~120 VAC) range and as a straight rectifier
when operating on the high voltage (~240 VAC) range. If an
input range switch is not used, then a full-wave rectifier is
usually used and the downstream inverter stage is simply
designed to be flexible enough to accept the wide range of dc
voltages that will be produced by the rectifier stage. In higher-
power SMPSs, some form of automatic range switching may be
Inverter stage
 The inverter stage converts DC, whether directly from the
input or from the rectifier stage described above, to AC by
running it through a power oscillator, whose output
transformer is very small with few windings at a frequency
of tens or hundreds of kilohertz (kHz).
 The frequency is usually chosen to be above 20 kHz, to
make it inaudible to humans. The output voltage is
optically coupled to the input and thus very tightly
controlled. The switching is implemented as a multistage
(to achieve high gain) MOSFET amplifier.
 MOSFETs are a type of transistor with a low on-
resistance and a high current-handling capacity. This
section refers to the block marked "Chopper" in the block
Voltage converter and output
 If the output is required to be isolated from the input, as
is usually the case in mains power supplies, the
inverted AC is used to drive the primary winding of a
high-frequency transformer. This converts the voltage
up or down to the required output level on its secondary
winding. The output transformer in the block diagram
serves this purpose.
 If a DC output is required, the AC output from the
transformer is rectified.
 The rectified output is then smoothed by a filter
consisting of inductors and capacitors.
 A feedback circuit monitors the output voltage and
compares it with a reference voltage, which is set
manually or electronically to the desired output. If
there is an error in the output voltage, the
feedback circuit compensates by adjusting the
timing with which the MOSFETs are switched on
and off. This part of the power supply is called the
switching regulator.
 The "Chopper controller" shown in the block
diagram serves this purpose.
Power factor
 Simple "off-line" switched mode power supplies incorporate a
simple full wave rectifier connected to a large energy storing
capacitor. Such SMPSs draw current from the AC line in short
pulses when the mains instantaneous voltage exceeds the
voltage across this capacitor. During the remaining portion of the
AC cycle the capacitor provides energy to the power supply.
 As a result, the input current of such basic switched mode power
supplies has high harmonic content and relatively low
power factor.
 Putting a current regulated boost chopper stage after the off-line
rectifier (to charge the storage capacitor) can help correct the
power factor, but increases the complexity (and cost).

 Switched-mode PSUs in domestic products such as

personal computers often have universal inputs, meaning that they
can accept power from most mains supplies throughout the world,
with rated frequencies from 50 Hz to 60 Hz and voltages from 100
V to 240 V (although a manual voltage "range" switch may be
required). In practice they will operate from a much wider
frequency range and often from a DC supply as well. In 2006, Intel
proposed the use of a single 12 V supply inside PCs, due to the
high efficiency of switch mode supplies directly on the PCB.[
cite this quote]
 Most modern desktop and laptop computers already have a DC-DC
converter on the motherboard, to step down the voltage from the
PSU or the battery to the CPU core voltage -- as low as 0.8 V for a
low voltage CPU to typically 1.2-1.5 V for a desktop CPU as of
2007. Most laptop computers also have a DC-AC inverter to step
up the voltage from the battery to drive the backlight, typically
around 1000 Vrms. [5]

 Certain applications, such as in automobile industry and in

some industrial settings, DC supply is chosen to avoid hum
and interference and ease the integration of capacitors and
batteries used to buffer the voltage. Most small aircraft use
28 volt DC, but larger aircraft often use 120 V AC at
400 Hz, though they often have a DC bus as well. Some
submarines like the Soviet Alfa class submarine utilised two
synchronous generators providing a variable three-phase
current, 2 x 1500 kW, 400 V, 400 Hz. [6]
 In the case of TV sets, for example, one can test the
excellent regulation of the power supply by using a variac.
For example, in some models made by Philips, the power
supply starts when the voltage reaches around 90 volts.
From there, one can change the voltage with the variac,
and go as low as 40 volts and as high as 260, and the
image will show absolutely no alterations.