DIY DC Electric Power

Electric power is a broad topic that I am going to break up into more specific topics.

I am going to focus on topics typically learned by DIY hobbyists.

DIY Power Subtopics:

  • Power source
  • Component/circuit wattage (load/work done).
  • Storage (battery)
  • Conversion (buck/boost/inverter).
  • Generation (Solar/rotation with wire and magnets).

Power Source Topics:

  • Bench power supply.
    • Adjustable constant voltage. Provides the needed current to maintain the set voltage.
    • Adjustable constant current. Adjusts voltage up or down as needed to maintain a certain amount of current.
  • Other AC to DC power supplies.
    • AC to DC adapter (wall wart).
  • Battery: Portable and low priced for low power applications.
  • Connectors.
    • USB.
    • Barrel plug.
    • Screw terminal.
    • Breadboard.
    • Jumper wire/cable.


Electric power is ultimately converted into something useful, and waste heat.

  • Heat
  • Light
  • Motion
  • Modules (prebuild circuits with various input and output connectors).

Energy Storage:

Energy is often stored for later use. The electric grid uses mostly non battery means to store energy, but the rest of us primarily use batteries or store fuel for generators.

  • Battery:
    • Chemistry (cell)
      • Lead acid
      • Lithium ion
      • LifePo4
    • Series: Higher voltage from a battery pack/bank.
    • Parallel: More capacity (current over time) from a battery pack/bank.
    • Capacity (amp hour)

Power Conversion:

It is common to have a certain voltage available to you, but not the voltage you want to use.

  • Buck converter: Some of the voltage coming in is converted into current coming out. Reduces waste heat of a load.
  • Boost converter: Some of the current coming in as turned into more voltage coming out. Lets a power source power something that needs a higher voltage.
  • Inverter: Lower voltage (usually) DC power source current is turned into more voltage, which is also alternated (AC) into a sine wave. Usually to the voltage of the household and business electrical outlets in the area. Approx. 120 volts AC at 60 hertz in the United States.

Other topics:

  • P = VI = I²R = V²/R


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