In order to efficiently test a power supply unit, one must first be able to deliver specific load quantities. Simply connecting it to any kind of PC system will not work, since the load does not only vary depending on the system state but the precise power consumption is also unknown. Automatic monitoring of the lines from a quick reading voltage meter is also necessary to eliminate both human errors and the voltage meter reading lag. Here at HardwareHeaven we strive to provide you with useful and thorough reviews and for that we have built a custom power supply testing station which allows us to efficiently analyse any consumer and industrial AC to DC power supply unit available.
With the help of proper equipment and tools, our testing station became compact enough to fit inside a small carrying case. The basic design is simple. By using proper aluminum enclosed wire wound resistors we can load any voltage line with the exact amount of power of our choice, down to 1A steps and up to 1.6kW maximum power consumption. But our planning is not limited to that. By using bullet type connectors on all lines we can change the connections to suit our needs and counter different voltage line designs, ensuring that different power supply units can be tested properly. Furthermore high quality cables and soldering joints minimize power loss, while four analog ampere meters allow us to continuously watch the power load of four lines. Finally, four 92mm and two 80mm high speed fans ensure that our resistors stay cool enough to perform, as the properties of all wire wound resistors immensely degrade once they heat up.
For testing the efficiency of a power supply unit an AC power meter is necessary. The AC power meter allows us to monitor how much power the unit is drawing from the AC line, allowing us to calculate the efficiency within a 1% tolerance. Finally a Mastech 8218 high accuracy multimeter with RS232 interface allows us to monitor the voltage lines between 0.5s intervals via PC software. The Mastech 8218 is fast enough to catch any voltage fluctuations, it is as accurate as ±0.08% VDC and the PC connection via RS232 interface will eliminate any human errors while it also allows us to take a monitoring graph. Finally we are using two more Mastech 8217 multimeters featuring K-type thermocouples to continuously monitor the air temperature at both the intake and the exhaust of the unit we are testing.
In order to thoroughly analyse each power supply we will test variations of power loads, ranging from 30% of its rated capacity to its maximum capability. We will take voltage readings at set loads to monitor the power delivery capabilities of every line but we will also take voltage readings from all lines while aggressively switching between 25% and 100% load in order to test the capabilities of the voltage regulation unit and hence the voltage stability in real world applications. Finally, we will also take efficiency readings from 30% to 100% load in 10% steps.
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