The Benefits of Using a Remote Power Supply for DC-Powered Equipment

Power supplies do more than provide electricity to electronic devices. They also regulate and filter the energy they supply.

A power supply can provide a sense of security for loop-powered devices by compensating for voltage drops in the load lead. Using remote sensing allows the power supply to pay for this drop by changing its set voltage based on the voltage across the sense terminals.


A power supply with remote sensing monitors the voltage on a set of leads and the load terminals. When the sense lead terminals voltage drops, the power supply changes the output terminal voltage to compensate – this helps prevent overvoltage at the load and keeps the power supply regulated. When a power supply has remote sensing capability, it includes a statement in the voltage load effect spec about how much the VO+ or VS+ output lead can change when you adjust the load current. This reflects changes to the internal sense resistors in the power supply.

Power supplies with remote sensing can provide a reliable alternative to powering your equipment with battery-based DC sources such as batteries, solar cells, or fuel cells. Batteries produce negligible noise to interfere with your electronic circuitry, but they require periodic charging and can discharge unexpectedly when shut down. On the other hand, power supplies don’t lose power when switched off.


Keeping the voltage up through the entire network run can be challenging if you have a large fixed system application with long wire runs. A remote power supply can help to compensate for any voltage drops.

This can be especially beneficial in applications that require a lot of gas detectors or that use a large number of wireless devices. The RPS-24VDC is a great option for those types of projects. It converts 90 – 240 VAC power to 24 VDC power and can provide renewed energy to compensate for voltage drops. Another benefit of using a small power supply is that it can add additional capacity to a fire alarm system. For example, the FCPS-24S6C or FCPS-24S8C remote power supplies can provide filtered and regulated 24 VDC power to four notification appliance circuits configured as either class A or class B.

Convenience of Installation

Using a small power supply to provide clean, uninterrupted DC power eliminates energy surges, spikes or dips that can damage equipment and cause data loss. It also provides a stable power flow, which reduces noise interference and helps prevent overheating in sensitive electronic equipment.

Several power supplies are on the market, each with benefits and drawbacks. When choosing a power supply, consider the output voltage and current specifications, stability, efficiency and safety circuits, tracking accuracy and DC isolation. Depending on your application, you may want a constant voltage/current power supply or a programmable one. A programmable power supply offers a wide range of voltage and current settings that you can choose from. It can be configured with fine and coarse adjustment controls, thumbwheel switches or a display for easy use. Some also feature a built-in meter. On the other hand, unregulated power supplies have no regulation to steady the output DC voltage and are best for applications where precision is not required.


Power supplies are available in a wide variety of specifications. The simplest types, called unregulated power supplies or wall warts, convert AC into a trickle of DC and have no voltage regulation. These are durable, inexpensive, and unsuitable for applications without precision. More sophisticated switched-mode power supplies (SMPS) have more complex circuitry and are more efficient, but they also produce heat, pollute the AC input, and create noise. Bidirectional power supplies, meanwhile, incorporate an AC-to-DC converter and a regenerative electronic load all in one rack-mount unit. They can return most of the energy channeled to them back to the power source, which reduces waste and helps save energy. They are often used in CV or CC modes to evaluate the performance of rechargeable batteries for portable electronics and as an energy source in drones and other autonomous devices.