Electronics / Controllers: February 2010 Archives

I had hooked up one of my larger SLA batteries to a winch to move some logs around. I thought that the 30 amp PowerPole connectors on the battery leads were maybe a bit undersized for the winch, but was lazy and went with them anyway.


I originally thought one of the PowerPoles wasn't properly seated and it melted down. That's perhaps one of the problems with the small PowerPoles, there isn't a clean "click" confirmation of seating.


Closer examination of one of the melted PowerPoles showed however that the tongue that grips the connector had arcing on it; obviously it had shorted and overheated, causing a melting of the connector. Very strange.


Closer examination of the crimped connector showed that the connector itself was bent upwards. What I now think happened was that the main body of the plug was bent and not seated in the plastic case, and this caused the mating connector's plug to wedge itself between the tongue and the plug (instead of on top of the plug), causing sparking and overheating.

Well, my favorite discrete component of the week has to be the lowly LM317 voltage/current regulator. As one of my previous posts showed, I'm using it to current regulate some high power LEDs and I also use it as a voltage regulator.

Here's the quick and easy way to wire up an LM317 as a voltage regulator:


where the values of R2 and R1 are calculated as follows to give Vout:


R2 is usually set to 240 ohms and you can ignore Iadj to a point. Rearranging the equation gives you:

R2 = 192 * V - 240

So if you want a 5 volt output, then R2 = 720 ohm (and R1 = 240 ohm). The TO-220 form factor of the LM317 that I'm using can provide up to 1.5 amps of output current and can be paralleled if I need more.

Late update: or you can just use an online calculator: http://www.jlab.org/~hansknec/index.html

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This page is a archive of entries in the Electronics / Controllers category from February 2010.

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