What is the most basic ingredient you need, to dabble in hobby electronics?
For years I got mine by tapping an old AT-PSU with crocodile clips. It worked, but the unused cables were always in the way and the clips weren’t exactly the most fit connections for a power supply. So I decided to clean up my table, put the PSU into a nice case and — while I’m on it — include a variable voltage source.
I designed the case with
QCAD LibreCAD, gave some finishing touches with Inkscape and had it produced by Formulor, the German Ponoko.
This is the result of my efforts:
As you can see, I switched from crocodile clips to 4 mm banana plugs. The voltages the PSU delivers are not exactly +/- 5/12 V, but they are sufficiently close enough to power electronics. And if I need an exact voltage, I can use the variable voltage source (2.6 V ~ 10.5 V). It is based on the L200C and also includes a variable current limit, so alternatively I can use it as a variable current source (0.05 A ~ 1.5 A). Though if I short circuit it and set it to the maximum current, the actually delivered current slowly drops due to the linear regulator heating up. But up to 1 A it seems to have no problem at all.
At the back you can see the 20 pin connectors that I will use as my personal bus system to connect my DIY-equipment. It delivers the voltages +/- 5/12 V and will also feature a data line to enable automated data acquisition. But more on that another time.
Here you see that it’s quite cramped in there, so for a short while I doubted that it will all fit. But luckily enough it worked out and now I’m quite happy about my new, old electron pump.