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Is it okay to get single output power supply as a beginner ?

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I'm still preparing my home lab setup for electronics. I've seen the advice on getting, dual or triple output power supplies.

Is it that bad to get a single output power supply ? I know this sounds like a no brainer, but l couldn't find a decent multiple output power supply from a reputable brand like Agilent or HP on used equipment market.

My focus on start is to spend only about $ 250 on my first supply without shipping, and I will be working on getting experience of PCB prototyping and OPAMPs. My target is to reach RF circuit designs. 

Your advice on this would be supportive to me.


Of course it's ok. And if you end up needing multiple voltages, there's no reason you can't get another one. Having multiple supplies in the same box is mostly a convenience, not a requirement.

25 CPS:
You mentioned op-amps specifically so this is a bit of a tough situation.

There's nothing inherently wrong with starting out using a single output power supply and it's by far better to have a single output power supply instead of no power supply and getting by using wall-wart adapters or batteries.  When I was starting out, I ended up looking for a power supply pretty quickly after discovering how far 9 volt batteries went for powering circuits I was working on.

Op-amps are definitely devices that typically work best with a dual +/- supply, ideally a dual tracking supply where one side follows the other for voltage in opposite polarity.  Most supplies like this are two or three supplies in one cabinet as Nusa mentioned but this doesn't necessarily have to be the case.  The idea I was kicking around my head for your situation was this:  If you're stuck getting a single output supply, see if you can get a Hewlett-Packard power supply that has the full set of output, sense and programming terminals on the back.  That'll get you started.  Then when you save up a bit more, you can get a second one and then change the strapping on the terminals to operate them in multiple unit to get more current, more voltage, or a dual tracking, opposite polarity setup ideal for op-amps and end up with a two output supply but in two boxes bought at different times.  It might be worth thinking about this idea depending on what's available on the used market in your area.

I'll second that, if you have any interest in working with op amps then get at least a 2 channel power supply that is capable of tracking, even if you can't find one from an A-list brand. For years I used an old Heathkit triple power supply and it still lives on the shelf above my bench, it isn't the most feature rich thing but it does the job. Find some models you're interested in and then set up a saved search on ebay and something will turn up eventually. Or go ahead and buy a single output supply now and then keep looking for something with at least two channels, having extra power supplies is often nice.

David Hess:
I worked with a single output power supply for a long time, but quickly built a couple of fixed +/-15 volt power supplies using of 7815s and 7915s.


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