Ever since Alesandro Volta produced the first steady DC voltage from a chemical battery in 1800, Engineers have been finding new and innovative ways to produce a steady and reliable DC voltage for Electronics and Industry. But what happens if you are responsible for maintaining legacy equipment with ageing, obsolete and potentially unreliable power supply units?
With the rationalisation of the electronics industry, many sector-leading firms from the past like Farnell Instruments and Advance Power have disappeared. Replacements are not always available and even exact data may no longer exist. Advance Product Services (APS) have Design Engineers from Farnell and Advance, so if you are stuck with a problem or are looking for obsolete datasheets, connect with me and drop me a message. I will look through the archives for you and do my best to help!
If you have a faulty power supply right now, your first option is to repair it. If you have the appropriate knowledge, experience and soak test equipment, you could undertake this in house. Understanding the circuits and the importance of component specifications can be a specialist job. If you are unsure, I’d recommend you obtain help from a specialist repair house like APS. We totally understand your problems and even offer a premium EXPRESS service for those just can’t wait repairs!
If it’s not broken, DO fix it!
Even if it is not broken now, it might be worth considering refurbishing the most likely to fail components in your power supply. Commonly in switch-mode power supplies, this would be electrolytic capacitors, opto-couplers, potentiometers and fans. Not always an easy process to perform, some components may be difficult to source and don’t forget soak testing afterwards. Refurbishment can be a great way of reducing the risk of unsafe or expensive down-time in transport, manufacturing or the power industry. APS has developed specialist refurbishment techniques and they keep a stock of obsolete components if you need a little help! All backed up with long warranties on work performed for added peace of mind.
If you are looking for a replacement then it’s not just as simple as matching size and shape, you have to consider exact electrical specification, control signals, product approvals, potential liabilities and equipment certification. A word of warning… Depending on availability, you might be tempted to over-specify a replacement PSU, say with a 300w PSU replacing an obsolete 100W supply. For safety, consideration must be given to over current protection and the rating of the wiring that the PSU is powering or you may inadvertently have created a fire risk or the potential of further failures.
Finally, you may be able to source a fit, form, and function identical replacement. APS manufacture ranges of replacement units for many obsolete Farnell and Advance PSUs that may save you a lot of time, money and potential heartache!