Author Topic: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES  (Read 184961 times)

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Offline nanofrog

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #575 on: September 20, 2015, 05:16:40 AM »
Try Ambitrol, they seem to have taken over the PD business. I was bidding for one, but it went for $1.25 with $30 shipping.
Ambitrol seems to have been one of their trademarks, along with UNIPLY, REDULE, and PD (source). PD trademark expired in 2008, and on a previous search, there hasn't been any activity with the corporation (filing) since 1991.

Precious little information it seems (there is a NY Times article regarding share reacquisition, but it doesn't give a year; here).
 

Online timb

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POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #576 on: September 20, 2015, 07:37:47 AM »
They also had several locations in NY during their history, plus they had a west coast division in California that made high voltage supplies and dividers.

Last year I spent weeks trying to find information on the company, I posted what I found somewhere in this thread, but it's not much. They seem to have gotten acquired and vanished into thin air.

They made some versions of the 2020B and 5020A that were in plastic cases, with fans and used those push button plastic digit switches. Nearest I can tell, these were made post-acquisition, built to a cost and basically junk, despite using the same basic circuit and being part of the precision line. This would be circa the early 90's. Avoid these if you see them on eBay.

You know, I even spent time going through issues of Pop Elec from the 60's and Byte from the 70's, looking for ads. Never found anything. (Though I did find an ad for Lambda supplies in Byte.)

You know, the 2020B, 5020A and C500 designs are all pretty damn good and could easily be modernized. Just replace the switch array with a precision DAC, which would increase the stability since you wouldn't have to worry about the resistors on the switch array drifting. The rest of the circuit would be the same, just with modern transistors, op-amps and the same ovenized LM399. I've actually thought about doing it, but I'm not sure how much of a market there is for an affordable lab grade precision supply.


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Offline ez24

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #577 on: September 20, 2015, 08:19:22 AM »
Quote
They seem to have gotten acquired and vanished into thin air.

Maybe they came from the same place as Mat Franco.  Aliens do not have to be extreme and go around blowing up the world.  I believe Mat Franco is an alien with supernatural powers.  What better way to live among earthlings than act like a magician?  Why would a large company just disappear?  It would be interesting to find out if Mat worked for Power Designs, he could make them disappear.

So for those that work on these things, keep your eye open for unusual tool marks or components or construction methods.  Can you imagine how valuable these will be if we can prove they were made by aliens?


Online timb

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #578 on: September 20, 2015, 08:33:28 AM »

Quote
They seem to have gotten acquired and vanished into thin air.

Maybe they came from the same place as Mat Franco.  Aliens do not have to be extreme and go around blowing up the world.  I believe Mat Franco is an alien with supernatural powers.  What better way to live among earthlings than act like a magician?  Why would a large company just disappear?  It would be interesting to find out if Mat worked for Power Designs, he could make them disappear.

So for those that work on these things, keep your eye open for unusual tool marks or components or construction methods.  Can you imagine how valuable these will be if we can prove they were made by aliens?

At least they weren't made by David Copperfield. I don't want my power supply to assault and rape me, then offer me large amounts of money to keep quiet.

(Also, Penn Jillette is totally the best magician ever. The bullet trick will confound me until the day I die.)


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Offline eas

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #579 on: September 21, 2015, 10:35:41 AM »
I pulled some information from archived versions of the Powerdesigns web site a while ago. I compiled it into a Power Designs Inc. timeline and posted it on my site. Right now its more about the death-throws. I'd like to fill in more information from their glory days.
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Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #580 on: September 21, 2015, 11:43:22 AM »
If enough info can be cobbled together, especially if it includes online references, a Wikipedia page could be started on it.
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Offline ez24

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #581 on: September 21, 2015, 01:04:20 PM »
If enough info can be cobbled together, especially if it includes online references, a Wikipedia page could be started on it.
I do not thing aliens will allow this.

Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #582 on: September 21, 2015, 02:04:58 PM »
I do not thing aliens will allow this.

Shhh! If they know that you know, it could mean big trouble for us Earthlings. :-X
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Offline fcb

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #583 on: September 23, 2015, 02:58:31 AM »
If enough info can be cobbled together, especially if it includes online references, a Wikipedia page could be started on it.
Do it!!!
 

Offline eas

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #584 on: October 03, 2015, 05:36:26 AM »
A Power Designs 2020b Precision DC Power Source just showed up on eBay for $129.99 or best offer + shipping. It looks to be of similar vintage to the 5020 that ez24 bought a few weeks ago. It has the same housing, knobs, and decals markings on the decade dials.

The serial number starts with 92, which I think means it was made in 1992, a convention I think they adopted around 1990, based on a comparison of serial numbers and component date codes on a few of my supplies.

Last week, I was tweaking my power designs eBay searches, and in the process, I found a poorly listed "6005" supply. I've never seen this model before, and the price was good, so I bought it. After waiting for the better part of a week to get a tracking number, I started looking more closely at the seller, and found they also had a 60's or early-70's era 2020 Precision DC Power Source, also at a good price, so I bought it. Both are on their way, should be here next week. I'll post photos when they arrive.

Which reminds me, ez24, you must have your 5020 by now. How is it? Any photos of the internals so we can do some comparative anatomy?  Also, bitseeker, how's your TP340a comping?
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Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #585 on: October 03, 2015, 01:03:48 PM »
A Power Designs 2020b Precision DC Power Source just showed up on eBay for $129.99 or best offer + shipping.

That's a nice one, alright.

Quote
Last week, I was tweaking my power designs eBay searches, and in the process, I found a poorly listed "6005" supply. I've never seen this model before, and the price was good, so I bought it. After waiting for the better part of a week to get a tracking number, I started looking more closely at the seller, and found they also had a 60's or early-70's era 2020 Precision DC Power Source, also at a good price, so I bought it. Both are on their way, should be here next week. I'll post photos when they arrive.

Wow! Looking forward to seeing those.

Quote
Also, bitseeker, how's your TP340a coming?

It's coming along quite well, I'm happy to say. I started a post on it with some pics and notes. http://www.eevblog.com/forum/repair/power-designs-tp340a-repair-and-facelift/
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Offline ez24

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #586 on: October 03, 2015, 03:45:42 PM »
Quote
Which reminds me, ez24, you must have your 5020 by now.

Yes among other ones.  I will fire it up tomorrow.  Do you want me to take pics of the inside?

Offline eas

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #587 on: October 03, 2015, 04:38:33 PM »
I'll definitely get pix up of both 2020 supplies, once I get the second one. I think they are my favorite power designs supplies. I like the rounded square GE meters, and I like the symmetry of the vertical orientation. The handle in the depression on top is nice too.

Quote
Which reminds me, ez24, you must have your 5020 by now.

Yes among other ones.  I will fire it up tomorrow.  Do you want me to take pics of the inside?
Of course!!! Don't turn it on, take it apart!



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Offline ez24

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #588 on: October 04, 2015, 02:15:29 PM »
I'll definitely get pix up of both 2020 supplies, once I get the second one. I think they are my favorite power designs supplies. I like the rounded square GE meters, and I like the symmetry of the vertical orientation. The handle in the depression on top is nice too.

Quote
Which reminds me, ez24, you must have your 5020 by now.

Yes among other ones.  I will fire it up tomorrow.  Do you want me to take pics of the inside?
Of course!!! Don't turn it on, take it apart!

How funny. 
I ran it (5020) through its paces in 10 volt steps at min and max amps.  I have a Uni-T 139C that I used for voltages.  The range of the last digit .0x  ranged from 0 to 2 different than my meter, mostly on the high side.  Example:  set at 30.00 volts, Uni said said 30.01
The meter works both in volts and amps

It is really cool to be able to dial in the volts, first instrument that I have that does this.

Bad thing is the knob for the current set is lost.  I emailed the seller but my guess it is lost. 

Edit: Model number  :palm:
« Last Edit: October 05, 2015, 03:33:50 PM by ez24 »
 

Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #589 on: October 04, 2015, 05:00:33 PM »
Well, that 2020B sure went fast. Looks like it sold for between $100 and $125.
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Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #590 on: October 05, 2015, 03:30:00 PM »
Another 5020 sold today a few hours after listing. Anyone we know?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/151838460142
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Offline eas

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #591 on: October 05, 2015, 06:22:37 PM »
Yeah.

I waffled for a while, made a best offer, waffled a while longer, noticed someone else had made an offer, started to buy-it-now, waffled, started-to-buy it now...

So, yeah, it took me a few hours to pull the trigger.

Part of what pushed me over the edge to just paying what they were asking is that it looks like they have some original manuals for the both the 5020/ 2020b and also the 6050, and so I saw it as an opportunity to make and share publish some higher quality scans.

I wondered if the person listing it might be a member here, since they opened it, and took some pictures of the LM399H, LM358H, and the pass transistors, one of which appears to be a replacement.
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Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #592 on: October 05, 2015, 07:02:52 PM »
LOL! I had a sneaking suspicion it might have been you, eas. Well, I waffled more than you did because I only went so far as making an offer rather than going for the asking price, although I thought about it too. The manuals are a nice bonus, alright. Congrats on your new addition! I look forward to hearing all about it when it arrives.

Some of the things that held me back (which you can soon help shed some light on):

- Not sure if that mV counter knob is original. I haven't seen a lot of 5020's, but I wasn't too concerned about it.

- Silkscreen wearing off the voltage dials. As far as I could tell, they aren't engraved (except maybe on one of the dials), so not sure how best to restore them (scrub the rest off and glue on a laser-printed transparency?). It'd be nice to have my own engraver for stuff like this and for making panels. Robrenz did an amazing job engraving and filling the lettering on Tek scope buttons during one of his restorations.

- No photos of the rest of the case. From the rear view, it appeared that there might be a fair amount of rust and missing paint. That leads to wondering about what dents might also exist.

- No photos of it in operation, not even just turned on. However, the vref looked fine, all the rear jumpers were present, and the fuse cover was still present.

- Odd misalignment of the voltage dials. Since I don't have any hands-on time with the precision models, I don't know what that could mean. Maybe just a silkscreen misalignment? Maybe a broken switch?

You know, we've got to stop meeting on eBay like this. People might start talking. :-DD
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Offline onlooker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #593 on: October 05, 2015, 11:46:19 PM »
I have a 5020.

Quote
- Not sure if that mV counter knob is original. I haven't seen a lot of 5020's, but I wasn't too concerned about it.

The mV adjustment knob looked the same. It has a black knob with a silver dial and a black lock level.

Quote
- No photos of it in operation, not even just turned on. However, the vref looked fine, all the rear jumpers were present, and the fuse cover was still present.

Ebay listed it as for parts(?).

Quote
- Odd misalignment of the voltage dials. Since I don't have any hands-on time with the precision models, I don't know what that could mean. Maybe just a silkscreen misalignment? Maybe a broken switch?

Mine also slightly misaligned like that. I tried to align them and did not improve much. It did not affect the function in any way otherwise.
 

Offline eas

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #594 on: October 06, 2015, 06:29:22 AM »
The mV adjustment knob on my 5020 also looks like that. I think it was original, but I have a nice brushed aluminum Kilo counter knob that I'll probably replace it with.

The misaligned voltage dials are probably a result of slippage. Most of my PD Precision supplies have been a little out of wack, and most of them have been noticeably loose. Loosening the set screws, realigning, and tightening again fixes the problem.

Not sure what, if anything, I'll do about the worn labeling. If I can get some of the old rub-on lettering in a suitable typeface I might try that, and cover it with a coat of protective matte clearcoat.

As for the case, I admit I didn't look too closely at what little was shown. Now that you mention it, I definitely see the signs of chipping/rust. I'm not too worried about dents. I've been pretty successful at banging things out with a hammer and hardwood blocks, though most of my experience is with aluminum, rather than steel. As for the rust, the 5020 I already have was/is somewhat rusted on the case, and the top surface of the transformer core. I'll probably repaint it at some point, but for now, cleaning it off with a melamine sponge and applying some light mineral oil has been enough to stabilize things.

For some sellers "for parts, not working" just means that they don't have the skills / equipment to do proper tests and/or that their business is focused more on volume than maximizing value. For others though, they really mean it. Given that this seller knew enough to show the critical precision components, I think they probably ascertained that it wasn't operational. On the other hand, they may not have gone to the effort to do any troubleshooting. I'll post updates once I have the unit in hand. My hope is that its just a fuse. My fear is that it is the transformer.

Once I receive this supply, with its bubble meter, I feel my collection will cover major variations in the PD Precision Supplies. My 2020s have the proprietary ovenized reference and the old rounded-square GE meter. This 5020 will has the vertical bubble meter (Yokogawa?) and an LM399. My PD 2020b and my existing 5020 have the flat vertical meter and LM399. I think one result is that I have fewer reasons to hold on to any of my 2005a supplies, since the my higher current/voltage supplies cover the same functional and aesthetic territory. Perhaps I'll keep one, just to have an example from the early 70s. In any case, I'll probably finish troubleshooting and functional restoration of those supplies before unloading either or both of them. When I am ready to sell them, I'll let people here know.


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Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #595 on: October 06, 2015, 07:10:39 AM »
I have a 5020.

Thanks for the confirmations relative to your unit, onlooker.

Quote
Ebay listed it as for parts(?).

Yes, though that means many different things, as eas mentioned in his reply. If it had some signs of life, I'd have been more willing to just pay the asking price. Fortunately, there was a photo of the primary components, so at least it wasn't just a shell.
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Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #596 on: October 06, 2015, 07:14:08 AM »
Thanks for your interpretations, eas. Since you've had hands-on time with the precision versions, you're in a better position than I am to assess the risk of a "parts" unit. Glad you got it.

Do you already have lots of high resolution photos of your mini museum? You're getting a great collection going.
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Offline JBeale

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #597 on: October 13, 2015, 09:58:00 AM »
Has anyone seen the 2015 Horowitz & Hill "Art of Electronics" 3rd ed. chapter on power supplies? They tested a lot of them including Agilent, etc. and the quietest model (apart from a lead-acid battery) was a Power Designs model.
 

Online bitseeker

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #598 on: October 13, 2015, 11:20:25 AM »
Has anyone seen the 2015 Horowitz & Hill "Art of Electronics" 3rd ed. chapter on power supplies? They tested a lot of them including Agilent, etc. and the quietest model (apart from a lead-acid battery) was a Power Designs model.

I haven't, but I am interested to know more about the comparison, especially which models were compared. I took a look at the table of contents and it looks like chapters 8 and 9 are likely to contain that info. Chapter 8 covers noise and 9 is primarily about power supply design. Chapter 9 is available online, but I don't see any comparison of commercial products in there. However, there is a table about various types of batteries.
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Offline vindoline

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Re: POWER DESIGNS PRECISION POWER SUPPLIES
« Reply #599 on: October 13, 2015, 11:35:29 AM »
Has anyone seen the 2015 Horowitz & Hill "Art of Electronics" 3rd ed. chapter on power supplies? They tested a lot of them including Agilent, etc. and the quietest model (apart from a lead-acid battery) was a Power Designs model.

It's in Figure 8.123 on p. 580. The PD4010 is a winner! They measured 1.2 uV rms for their 1967 vintage unit.
 


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