The DIN rail power supply is based upon a series of standards created by Deutsches Institut fur Normung (DIN), which is a national standards organization in Germany. DIN connectors come in a range of cylindrical 0.52 inch (13.2 millimeter) plug designs, containing three pins to eight pins. Each male connector or plug also has a special notch so that it can only be oriented in one direction when it is plugged in to the female socket. Certain units also offer 20-pin power supply or 24-pin power supply designs for special applications, with the pins still mounted in the standard circular plug housing. The connector design matches many serial plug designs used for computer peripheral equipment in the United States and elsewhere.
These power supplies are alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) transformers in a variety of ranges. They are mounted on a sliding metal rail that is usually 1.4 inches (35 millimeters) in width. The rail can be as narrow as 0.6 inches (15 millimeters) or as wide as 3 inches (75 millimeters), depending on the size of the DIN rail power supply itself.
Common uses for the DIN rail power supply are in control cabinets for electronic parts that require DC current. The rail allows the power supply to be moved back and forth so that it can be positioned near plugs for relevant devices. Applications in which they are routinely used include factory automation cabinets, data and IT communications, general power distribution boxes, and household appliance control panels. The power supply input and power supply output are housed in usually one self-contained rectangular case, and are sold along with the mounting rail.
A mobile power supply that can be mounted in many configurations generates a lot of interest in the electronics market. The DIN rail power supply is also an adjustable power supply from the electrical point of view. Many have varying high voltage AC inputs to meet all international standards, from 100 to 240 volts. Output DC voltage can also range from 5 to 48 volts to meet the demands of a wide range of DC devices. Some design specifications for the DIN rail power supply also go beyond standard residential voltage ratings and accommodate varying input AC voltages from 85 to 264 volts and single phase voltages from 350 to 550 volts, which are used in industrial and automotive manufacturing.
Variations for the DIN rail power supply are all based on whatever they are needed for, and the more adaptable the unit is the more expensive it tends to be. The DIN 40000 to 49999 standards encompass many electronic devices, and, though meant largely for the German market, they now have international equivalents. The specific standard for the DIN rail power supply is DIN 46277.