With a variety of reliable options and affordable prices, ATEC can match you with the ideal DC load bank or DC load rental from leading manufacturers like Chroma, Kikusui, and NH Research.
What is a DC Electronic Load?
A DC electronic load is a testing device that can sink current and absorb power from a DC power supply to ensure that it is working correctly. Often used in manufacturing and engineering, a DC load offers essential data on battery life and performance.
Direct Current (DC) is the power supplied by batteries and the most common power source for smaller devices. Many other instruments like home appliances, computers, and even electrical generators rely on DC power supplies to function. As the power source for many everyday devices, it's vital to make sure a DC power supply works properly.
Analyzing power supplies with a DC load allows for tests that are both versatile and reliable. While some manufacturers use a fixed resistor bank for this testing, a DC load produces more complete results. A DC electronic load offers dynamic testing that receives power with a current, resistance, or voltage that's either changing or staying constant. The equipment replicates how a power supply handles a device working at full power or asleep, and every power state in between.
Repeated tests on batteries and other power supplies are also made much easier with a programmable DC load. After hundreds of tests with an electronic load, manufacturers gain through data on battery performance and longevity.
What is a DC Load Bank?
A DC load bank allows for testing and analysis of generators, battery systems, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and other electrical systems.
The load bank creates an artificial DC load for the electrical system, changing the load to replicate legitimate use of the system. The device records details on the power system's performance to determine if it is working correctly and if some battery cells are weak. Testing also gives insight into a power supply's sensors, determining if they correctly receive current.
Many generators are used for emergency power. Testing a backup generator can be difficult and costly without the use of a DC load bank rental. DC load bank testing is non-destructive and can ensure a power supply is ready for use in an emergency.
Most DC load banks are resistive, converting the electrical energy into heat. A resistive DC load bank then disperses the heat through internal fans or water. The resistive DC load bank rental can ensure a power supply has adequate cooling and does not overheat when in use.
Choosing the Right DC Load Rental
The best DC electronic load doesn't necessarily mean the most powerful or versatile device. A mix of power supply specifications and testing needs can determine the perfect DC load rental.
Current, Voltage, and Power
Batteries and fuel cells can have varying currents, voltages, and power ratings, so different DC loads are needed to meet those specifications. Together, all 3 specifications create an operating area in which a DC load can absorb power. The ideal DC load rental will have an operating range slightly greater than what a power supply requires.
Even with a wide range of DC loads to choose from, some tests may surpass the capabilities of a load module. Many DC load models solve this issue with parallel control. By putting multiple DC load modules in a series, the devices can absorb more power and meet the demands of a high-power test.
Static and Dynamic Loading
Most devices use power dynamically, shifting from sleep or low power to high-power usage. A modern DC load rental will have dynamic loading to mirror those devices, but static loading may also be important. Users may need a DC load with static testing capabilities for batteries working at a fixed power level.
What is a Programmable DC Load?
Rather than the unchanging specifications of a fixed value power resistor, the DC load offers versatility. For detailed tests on batteries and other power supplies, specifications like the voltage, power, and current need to change. To meet those demands, modern DC electronic loads are programmable.
The programmable DC load allows for user adjustments to the device before testing. Saving time and money on multiple resistors, the programmable load allows the user to sink different specifications for a test and keep others at a constant level. Much like with dynamic loading, these variable tests better reflect how a battery responds to the demands of a device.
A programmable DC load will usually come ready with the 4 most common operating modes for power supply testing.
Four Modes of Operation
Constant Current (CC)
The most frequently-used operation mode, Constant Current keeps the current at the same specified level no matter how the voltage changes. Tests conducted in CC mode help find the minimum output voltage to meet a specific current level. Many power supplies work with a high current and low voltage, so Constant Current testing is needed to ensure performance.
Constant Voltage (CV)
In Constant Voltage mode, the DC load maintains a set voltage, sinking current to keep the voltage consistent. CV mode is often used for tests on battery chargers, also testing for a power supply's current limits.
Constant Resistance (CR)
While testing in Constant Resistance, the DC load becomes a fixed resistor. The electronic load senses input voltage, sinking the current to maintain a set resistance between the two values. CR mode offers insight into a power supply's characteristics upon activation.
Constant Power (CP)
Constant Power mode has the DC load absorb a set wattage from the power supply. The device detects a voltage and sinks current to continue drawing the set power. Tests in CP mode offer details on battery life and whether the power supply works correctly during that span.