3D printers are all the rage nowadays, providing various avenues to bring their dream creations into real life. However, there is more to using a printer than the average person might expect. One common factor to consider is the 3D printer power supply options that will be usable. Fortunately, this guide offers helpful information we have compiled to get started.
What are 3D Printer Power Supply Units?
The two most common types of power supply units(PSUs) are linear power supply and switch mode power supply. The 3D printer power supply is the switch mode one, which is also called LED PSU. It works by delivering a fixed DC(Direct Current) voltage(like DC 5V, DC 12V, DC 24V). DC 12V and DC 24V are common types used in 3D printers.
How to choose the right power supply?
Now we get to know what is the 3D printer power supply. Let us move on to the factors to consider when buying the ideal power supply.
1. Budget. First on our list of options is to consider the specific amount of money we want to spend on a 3D power supply unit.
Many people prefer the ATX PSUs because they work well with P.C.s with higher quality than the LED power supply units. They’re costly but provide a wealth of safety benefits. And we need to modify them to work with 3D printers correctly.
Most metal case power supplies are also with safety guides. They’re more competitive and easy to wire, we can wire them with screws. It’s also a good option for 3D printers.
2. Voltage. 3D printers work through two main voltage outputs: the 12V and 24V types. The type of voltage that applies to any 3D printer device relates to the hot end on the unit, which exists on the labeling. Let’s discuss the variations between these two power supply units below.
Specifically, the 12v system features simple parts to acquire. A good example is the pumps, the pumps for the 24v pumps aren’t easy to find. Plus, the wires tend to be larger, and the cost of the 24v units is higher than those of the 12v types.
For the 24v system, the wire is smaller, its average cost is significantly less than the 12v system. When developing a 3D printer, various connections and cables must be present to ensure the best results. We’d better match our 3D printer with the correct voltage unit.
3. Wattage. It’s also crucial for us to evaluate each printer’s wattage and the heating bed’s power rating. Usually, this unit features a control board, a single hot end, five motors, and other components. On average, all of these units expect about 100 watts of power. When we combine this amount with the average rating of the heat bed, we will know the total amount of power wattage required.
One more tip is that the power we have calculated is only 80% of the power supply wattage. We should calculate correctly to get the right power supply wattage. For example: After calculation, the total wattage that the 3D printer needs is 200W, then we need the power supply wattage is: 200W/0.8=250W. So what we need to search for is a 250W power supply.
4. Input Voltage. It refers to what voltage the PSUs(power supply units) could accept from the wall socket. It usually exists on the label of the PSUs. Some power supply’s input voltage is from AC 100 to AC 240V, others can be adjusted from 110V to 220V(reversible) with a switch on the side of the power supply.
What Are Some Reasons for Testing the Power Supply Unit?
Before we connect the plug-in adapter to the 3D printer system, performing a test is crucial first. Some reasons for such caution include:
- The consumer market features countless brands and models of PSUs. Each function is different, we must pick and confirm if it is the right power supply for our 3D printer.
- Since there are several connections when using the printer, we should confirm the connectivity before using each unit. It is a process that helps avoid instances of short-circuiting or possible fires.
- Confirm the power supply is workable and guaranteed safe, and avoid spending more money on a new 3D printer.
How to test the power supply?
We know how important it is to test the power supply now. Following is the steps to test the power supply.
1. Get a millimeter and check the power from the power supply unit. Once we know the wattage and voltage from the power supply, make sure they match the amount what the 3D printer needs. We recommend using the following video(from 10″ to 40″) as a point of reference.
2. Proceed to check if the DC port(DC Power Adapters) is compatible with the port on the printer. If not, we may have to invest in another cable for this process.
3. Evaluate the input voltage of the power supply. We may need to switch the right input voltage to ensure no burning issues can occur. Different regions have different ratings, such as AC110-120 volts in the USA, while the AC 220-240volts in European countries.
4. Double-check the above information, then connect the printer to the power supply unit.
5. If we plan on using an ATX power supply, we could find detailed modification suggestions in this tutorial on the RepRap wiki.
Choosing the right power supply unit is a crucial factor to consider when using a 3D printer. However, these units are sometimes costly, with the guide above, we will find it easy to test and pick the right power supply to get started. Test before using the power supply is super important. It will help us to save more costs and ensure our 3D printers operate well.