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Cisco PSU Hack & Switched Mode PSU Background

Recently I decommissioned some networking equipment, and discovered the power supplies in some switches were single rail 12v types, with a rather high power rating. I figured these would be very good for powering my Ham radio gear.

They’re high quality Delta Electronics DPSN-150BP units, rated at a maximum power output of 156W.

Label

Label

These supplies have an adjustment pot for the output voltage regulation, but unfortunately it just didn’t have quite enough range to get from 12.0v to 13.8v. The highest they would go was ~13.04v.

After taking a look at the regulator circuit, I discovered  I could further adjust the output voltage by changing a single resistor to a slightly lower value.

Firstly though, a little background on how switched mode power supplies operate & regulate their output voltage.

SMPS

SMPS

Here’s the supply. It’s mostly heatsink, to cool the large power switching transistors.

The first thing a SMPS does, is to rectify the incoming mains AC with a bridge rectifier. This is then smoothed by a large electrolytic capacitor, to provide a main DC rail of +340v DC (when on a 240v AC supply).

Mains Input

Mains Input

Above is the mains input section of the PSU, with a large common-mode choke on the left, bridge rectifier in the centre, and the large filter capacitor on the right. These can store a lot of energy when disconnected from the mains, and while they should have a discharge resistor fitted to safely drain the stored energy, they aren’t to be relied on for safety!

Once the supply has it’s main high voltage DC rail, this is switched into the main transformer by a pair of very large transistors – these are hidden from view on the large silver heatsinks at the bottom of the image. These transistors are themselves driven with a control IC, in the case of this supply, it’s a UC3844B. This IC is hidden under the large heatsink, but is just visible in the below photo. (IC5).

Control IC

Control IC

Main Switching Transformer

Main Switching Transformer

Here’s the main switching transformer, these can be much smaller than a conventional transformer due to the high frequencies used. This supply operates at 500kHz.
After the main transformer, the output is rectified by a pair of Schottky diodes, which are attached to the smaller heatsink visible below the transformer, before being fed through a large toroidal inductor & the output filter capacitors.
All this filtering on both the input & the output is required to stop these supplies from radiating their operating frequency as RF – a lot of cheap Chinese switching supplies forego this filtering & as a result are extremely noisy.

After all this filtering the DC appears at the output as usable power.

Getting back to regulation, these supplies read the voltage with a resistor divider & feed it back to the mains side control IC, through an opto-isolator. (Below).

Feedback Loop

Feedback Loop

The opto isolators are the black devices at the front with 4 pins.

Regulator Adjustment

Regulator Adjustment

For a more in-depth look at the inner workings of SMPS units, there’s a good article over on Hardware Secrets.

My modification is simple. Replacing R306 (just below the white potentiometer in the photo), with a slightly smaller resistor value, of 2.2KΩ down from 2.37KΩ, allows the voltage to be pulled lower on the regulator. This fools the unit into applying more drive to the main transformer, and the output voltage rises.

It’s important to note that making too drastic a change to these supplies is likely to result in the output filter capacitors turning into grenades due to overvoltage. The very small change in value only allows the voltage to rise to 13.95v max on the adjuster. This is well within the rating of 16v on the output caps.

Now the voltage has been sucessfully modified, a new case is on the way to shield fingers from the mains. With the addition of a couple of panel meters & output terminals, these supplies will make great additions to my shack.

More to come on the final build soon!

AD9850 VFO Board

Continuing from my previous post where I published an Eagle design layout for AD7C‘s Arduino powered VFO, here is a completed board.

I have made some alterations to the design since posting, which are reflected in the artwork download in that post, mainly due to Eagle having a slight psychotic episode making me ground one of the display control signals!

AD9850 VFO

AD9850 VFO

The amplifier section is unpopulated & bypassed as I was getting some bad distortion effects from that section, some more work is needed there.
The Arduino Pro Mini is situated under the display, and the 5v rail is provided by the LM7805 on the lower left corner.

Current draw at 12v input is 150mA, for a power of 1.8W total. About 1W of this is dissipated in the LM7805 regulator, so I have also done a layout with an LM2574 Switching Regulator.
The SMPS version should draw a lot let power, as less is being dissipated in the power supply, but this version is more complex.

DDS VFO-SMPS

DDS VFO-SMPS

Here the SMPS circuit can be seen on the left hand side of the board, completely replacing the linear regulator.
I have not yet built this design, so I don’t know what kind of effect this will have on the output signal, versus the linear regulator. I have a feeling that the switching frequency of the LM2574 (52kHz) might produce some interference on the output of the DDS module. However I have designed this section to the standards in the datasheet, so this should be minimal.

Nevertheless this version is included in the Downloads section at the bottom of this post.

The output coupled through a 100nF capacitor is very clean, as can be seen below, outputting a 1kHz signal. Oscilloscope scale is 0.5ms/div & 1V/div.

VFO Output

VFO Output (Mucky ‘Scope)

Scope Connected

Scope Connected

 

Thanks again to Rich over at AD7C for the very useful tool design!

Linked below is the Eagle design files for this project, along with my libraries used to create it.

AD9850 DDS VFO Eagle Files (486) Eagle Libraries (237) AD9850 DDS VFO SMPS Version (236)

Potentially Lethal Clone Apple Charger

Charger

Charger

I received this USB supply with a laser module from China that I purchased on eBay. I have heard of these nasty copies of Apple chargers going around, but I’d never received one this bad with a piece of Chinese electronics.

Label

Label

Model No. A1265, so definitely an Apple clone. Apparently capable of +5v DC 1A output. Notice the American NEMA pins. This wouldn’t have been any use to me in the first instance since I am resident in the UK & our mains plugs are significantly different, not to mention significantly safer.

Manufacturer is marked as Flextronics.

Top Of Boards

Top Of Boards

Here is the charger disassembled. Inside the case these two boards are folded together, creating an alarmingly small isolation gap between the mains side of the supply & the 5v output. Both the low voltage output & the feedback loop for the supply runs over the 4-core ribbon cable.
The mains wiring from the board is as thin as hair, insulation included, so there is a big possibility of shorts all over the place from this part of the circuit alone.

Bottom Of Boards

Bottom Of Boards

Bottom of the PCB assemblies. Good luck finding any creepage distance here. There simply isn’t any at all. traces on the +350v DC rail on the mains side of the transformer are no more than 1mm away from the supposedly isolated low voltage side.

Plugging one of these devices into anything is just asking for electrocution.

 

Wearable Raspberry Pi – Some Adjustments

USB Hub

USB Hub

As the first USB hub I was using was certainly not stable – it would not enumerate between boots & to get it working again would require waiting around 12 hours before applying power, it has been replaced. This is a cheapie eBay USB hub, of the type shown below.

These hubs are fantastic for hobbyists, as the connections for power & data are broken out on the internal PCB into a very convenient row of pads, perfect for integration into many projects.

Breakout Hub

Breakout Hub

I now have two internal spare USB ports, for the inbuilt keyboard/mouse receiver & the GPS receiver I plan to integrate into the build.

These hubs are also made in 7-port versions, however I am not sure if these have the same kind of breakout board internally. As they have the same cable layout, I would assume so.

 

Connector Panel

Connector Panel

Here is a closeup of the back of the connectors, showing a couple of additions.

I have added a pair of 470µF capacitors across the power rails, to further smooth out the ripple in the switching power supply, as I was having noise issues on the display.

Also, there is a new reset button added between the main interface connectors, which will be wired into the pair of pads that the Raspberry Pi has to reset the CPU.
This can be used as a power switch in the event the Pi is powered down when not in use & also to reset the unit if it becomes unresponsive.

 

Wearable Raspberry Pi Part 2.5 – Battery Pack PCM

Battery PCM

Battery PCM

The final part for the battery pack has finally arrived, the PCM boards. These modules protect the cells by cutting off the power at overcharge, undercharge & overcurrent. Each cell is connected individually on the right, 12v power appears on the left connections. These modules also ensure that all the cells in the pack are balanced.

 

Wearable Raspberry Pi SMPS Modifications

SMPS Mods

SMPS Mods

A few modifications were required to the SMPS modules to make the power rails stable enough to run the Pi & it’s monitor. Without these the rails were so noisy that instability was being caused.

I have replaced the 100µF output capacitors & replaced them with 35v 4700µF caps. This provides a much lower output ripple.

There are also heatsinks attached to the converter ICs to help spread the heat.