Innovative Power Supplies Save Rack Space
In the past, many programmable system DC power supplies in the medium power range (500W to 2kW) have been packaged in 2U-high (2-EIA rack units) and even 3U, full rack width chassis. These products are used in a variety of industries such as aerospace/defense, automotive, computer hardware test, telecom, and component test. Since there is a constant need to reduce the cost of test systems, test engineers in these industries are demanding more power in less space. As a result, system DC power supply manufacturers have responded by providing smaller and even more capable sources.
Let's face it: rack space costs money. Consequently, when evaluating the size of products that will fill the rack, smaller is better. Today, many power supply manufacturers are packing 500W, 1000W, and even 1500W power supplies into 1U-high packages – that's just 1.75 inches (44.45mm) of vertical space! The use of modern switching power supply design techniques makes this possible. This low profile is especially important in burn-in applications where many, sometimes dozens, of power supplies may be used to provide power to single or multiple test points over long periods of time to weed out early failures.
If you are tasked with selecting one of these compact powerhouses, be sure that it is a "true 1U" design with no air vents on the top or bottom. Air vents located on the top or bottom prevent the ability to stack these slim products one directly on top of the other which effectively increases the "1U" size to something larger when allowing for proper air flow. Blocking air vents can compromise the reliability of the product by causing higher temperatures to occur inside the box possibly contributing to premature failure. The Agilent Technologies N5700 Series System DC Power Supplies come in a "true 1U" package that packs up to 1500W into this slim design, addressing the need for high power in a small amount of rack space. With no air vents on the top or bottom, these power supplies can be stacked directly on top of other instruments, or directly on top of each other. The 1500W products offer the industry's highest power density in a 1U package with LAN, USB, and GPIB as built-in standard interfaces.
The Agilent N5700 Series consists of 24 power supply models that provide stable output power and built-in voltage and current measurement. Outputs range from 6V to 600V and 1.3A to 180A at 750W and 1500W power levels. For greater flexibility, power supply instruments can be configured in parallel or series operation for greater output current or voltage, respectively. All models have universal AC input with power factor correction so they can be operated from any AC mains input voltage worldwide.
While the N5700 series addresses needs for low profile power supplies in the medium power range, Agilent also has 1U solutions to address lower power needs, especially when multiple outputs are required. The N6700 Modular Power System has 50W and 100W outputs in a variety of performance levels from basic to precision. A single mainframe can contain up to four outputs that can be mixed and matched by the user.
Both the N5700 and N6700 series power supplies have built-in LAN, USB, and GPIB interfaces. The LAN interface is especially useful providing access to power supply information from a distant office location, or even from a different part of the world! Both series of power supplies have a built-in server providing Web access to a graphical user interface that can be used to control and monitor the supply.
Smaller, more capable system power supplies are available today to help reduce the cost of test systems. With power levels up to 1500W in a 1U package, Agilent Technologies is setting new standards by helping meet the requirements of applications needing small size in system DC power supplies.