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Five Tips to Get the Most from Keysight’s E36300 Series Bench Power Supply

2021-12-14  |  8 min read 

Keysight has more than 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing all types of power products. The next generation of bench power supplies incorporates your feedback and our engineering knowledge and design practices to bring you one of the most versatile bench power product families.
This blog post provides five tips to help you get the most out of Keysight’s E36300 Series bench power supply. This post will cover the following topics:

1.    connecting to your bench DC power supply 
2.    achieving accurate voltage with remote sense 
3.    measuring current in amps 
4.    tracking DC outputs 
5.    keeping power supplies secure 

1. Connecting to Your DC Bench Power Supply 

To start, connect to the outputs of an E36300 Series DC bench power supply in one of two ways: through front-panel binding posts (optional recessed binding posts are available) or through rear-panel screw-type output connectors. See Figures 1 and 2.

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2. Achieving Accurate Voltage with Remote Sense 

Remote sense capability helps deliver accurate voltage at the device under test (DUT) when using long wiring. In addition, remote sense improves your measurement accuracy. 
For example, you may need to use your bench DC source to power a development board located in a thermal chamber using a long wire (20 feet or longer). If you do not use remote sense and proper cabling, you will not get your programmed voltage at the DUT. For example, you may set the voltage to 5 V and only get 4.5 V at the DUT. This difference is because of the voltage drop (Vdrop) in the output wiring. Wire resistance and the amount of current that the load requires is the reason for the Vdrop. Remote sense automatically compensates for the Vdrop in the power leads, useful in constant voltage (CV) operation with varying load impedance or significant lead resistance. 
The E36300 Series bench power supply includes remote sense capability as a standard feature. You can easily enable remote sense through the built-in internal relays that connect the plus and minus output terminals to the plus and minus sense terminals without removing jumpers. Please note that you must use the rear output connectors for four-wire remote sense operation.

Wiring tips for remote sense applications 

We recommend using a single twisted pair for the output leads and a separate twisted pair for the sense leads (see Figure 3). Since the sense leads carry tiny currents, you may use a lighter gauge wire. Try to keep the sense leads less than 0.5 Ω per wire (a 20-gauge wire works well). Keep the wire pairs as short as possible and less than 50 feet (14.7 meters).

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Figure 3. Use a single twisted pair for output leads and a separate twisted pair for sense leads

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Figure 4. Enable four-wire operation using Source Settings > Sense 2W / 4W

Once the wiring is complete, enable four-wire operation by pressing Source Settings > Sense 2W / 4W. The four-wire operation appears above the CV indicator in Figure 4.

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Figure 5. Twist wires to reduce lead inductance and noise pickup

It is a best practice to twist your wires to reduce lead inductance and noise pickup. In the test example in Figure 5, Channel 1 is set up for two-wire operation using a single twisted pair. Channel 2 is set up for four-wire operation using a twisted pair for the output leads and a separate twisted pair for the remote sense leads.

3. Measuring Current in Amps 


Making current measurements using a bench power supply is easy to do. Today’s bench power supplies require no external equipment such as digital multimedia, current shunt, or wiring, so the setup is much simpler, thereby eliminating potential errors. Measurement accuracy is specified, and the current measurements appear in amps on a large display. The setup requires no voltage-to-current conversion. 
Low measurement range is the default setting on Keysight’s E36312A and E36313A models. To change the measurement range, select Utilities > Test Setup > Lower Range (On / Off). See Figure 6.
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Figure 6. Current measurement using a bench power supply

4. Tracking Power Supply outputs Outputs 


The E36300 Series provides 0 to ± 25 V tracking outputs. In track mode, voltages from Channel 2 and Channel 3 track each other by varying the symmetrical voltages required by operational amps and other circuits that need positive and negative voltages. 
For example, you can configure your bench power supply for + 5 V and +5 V tracking DC outputs by enabling track mode. Use the front-panel voltage knob or numeric keypad to adjust the output voltage of both Channel 2 and Channel 3. Note that while Channel 2 and Channel 3 are independent electrically, they track their voltage setting. Track mode is available on the E36312A and E36313A. 
To enable track mode, press Output Settings > Operation Mode > Mode Tracking. See Figure 7.

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Figure 7. Tracking DC outputs voltage

5. Keeping Your Power Supply Secure 


You can keep your power supply secure against unauthorized or accidental setting changes by locking the front-panel keypad, knobs, and buttons. Press and hold the Lock / Unlock soft key for a few seconds to lock the front panel. In addition, lock the bench power supply to your test bench using the built-in Kensington security slot feature. 


Conclusion 


The E36300 Series bench power supply with low output ripple / noise and accurate voltage / current measurements lets you can test with confidence. Power multiple voltage buses with clean, reliable power, and view voltage and current on all outputs simultaneously. 
Learn more about the E36300 Series DC bench power supply,  Bench DC Power supplies