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What Is an Open Frame Power Supply?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2016
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An open frame power supply is a compact and customizable way to power a variety of electronic devices. It is frequently used in a variety of different settings. Common fields of use include communications and computing environments as well as industrial, medical, and laboratory settings. Most open frame power supplies are compatible with voltage regulators and feature DC inputs.

Each open frame power supply can have one or more outputs, depending on its use. These devices are custom made to be compatible with a specifically intended electrical device. Those that are used in medical settings must adhere to specific guidelines and be approved by medical authorities before they can be put into use.

The most significant advantage of using an open frame power supply is that it can fit into a smaller device than other power supplies. Despite its smaller size, an open frame power supply is capable of providing a large enough range of power to be used on most electronics, supplying anywhere from tens to hundreds of watts depending on the use. This is useful for manufacturers as it enables them to create smaller portable devices, which are becoming increasingly popular.

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Most open frame power supplies come with the ability to be attached to digital input (DIN) rails. To conserve space within a device or externally, DIN rails are commonly used to mount electrical components together into a single unit. They have standard connections so that many different electronic components can be connected to them to suit the needs of the user.

An additional component that is frequently used with an open frame power supply is a voltage regulator. These are simple analog electronic devices that maintain a steady flow of power from the supply to its intended destination. They can also change the amount of voltage that the electronic device receives as necessary. Voltage regulators are important in most of the uses of open frame power supplies, since an inconsistent voltage can lead to inaccurate results in a lab, damage to computer hardware, and potentially dangerous reactions in medical and industrial settings.

Due to the wide range of voltages that they are capable of producing, and their compact size, open frame power supplies are expected to be used more and more commonly in electronic devices. As consumers continue to show a preference for smaller and smaller electronics and expect them to perform increasingly complex and demanding tasks, their use in homes and offices is expected to grow. They are already being used in a diverse number of settings in professional fields.

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