Load Regulation, Line Regulation and Cross-Loading

DC Output Load Regulation

 

Of course one of the first things we want to see is how well this PSU can regulate the DC outputs and maintain constant voltages.  To simulate real world and maximum loading conditions, the Toughpower 1,200W PSU was connected to the load testers and supplied with a constant 115 VAC.  In this test we are interested in seeing how well the PSU can maintain the various output voltages while operating under different loads. 

 

The ATX12V V2.2 tolerance for voltages states how much each output (rail) is allowed to fluctuate and has tighter tolerances now for the +12V outputs. 

 

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The following table lists the DC voltage results at the different loads for the Toughpower 1,200W PSU while operating on 115 VAC, 60 Hz.

 

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Note: The +12V outputs were distributed evenly up until the final 1,200W test, at which point +12V1 and +12V2 were held at 18A and +12V3 and +12V4 were pushed to 24A each.

 

The PSU produced very good load regulation on all of the outputs across a broad range of loads; all the way up to 1,200 watts of DC power.  The +12V rails are particularly strong.  All the major outputs remained well within the specified ATX12V limits.

 

DC Output Line Regulation

 

In this test we are interested in seeing how well a PSU can maintain the various output voltages while the AC input line voltage changes.  In the previous Load Regulation test, the AC line voltage was held constant at 115 VAC.  Now we will look at how much the DC outputs change as the AC line voltage is changed from 120 VAC down to 90 VAC.

 

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The Line Regulation test was performed with the combined DC loads set to 600W.  The AC input voltage to the power supply (via the Extech power analyzer) was adjusted using a Powerstat variable autotransformer. 

 

No measurable change in the DC outputs – very good.

 

Cross-Loading Test

 

PC switching mode power supplies provide multiple DC output voltages.  Ideally, the total load should be distributed across all the main outputs (+3.3V, +5V, +12V).  This means that the combined +3.3V and +5V load should be proportional to the combined +12V load; as one increases, so should the other.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially in newer PCs that predominately use +12V and may put only minimal loads on the +3.3V and/or +5V rails.  Cross-loading refers to imbalanced loads.  If a PC pulls 500W on the +12V outputs and only 50W (or less) on the combined 3.3V and +5V outputs, the resulting voltage regulation may suffer.

 

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In the first test we put a heavy load (72A/864W) on the +12V output and a light load on the remaining outputs.  The Toughpower 1,200W power supply had no problems delivering well over 800W on the +12V rails with only a light load on +3.3V and +5V.  Even with this large imbalance, the voltages all look very good.

 

In the second test we reversed the cross-load and placed a heavy load (140W) on the +3.3V and +5V outputs with a light load (4A/48W) on the +12V rail.  Once again, the Toughpower PSU passed this test without problems.

 

In both tests the measured AC ripple remained consistent with the values observed during the other tests and stayed within spec. 

 

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