How would you regulate/limit multiple outputs from a power supply at 10A maximum?

Thread Starter

yoyomama

Joined Mar 7, 2016
3
I have a single 28V power supply feeding 10 separate loads.
However, each of these outputs must be limited at 10 A maximum. That is: they cannot draw any currents higher than 10A.
When driving a single load from a single power supply, one can simply limit the power supply. However, for 10 loads, limiting the power supply at 100A won't guarantee a maximum of 10A per load.
Current limiting diodes are targeted at much smaller currents. What's out there for higher currents?
 

Thread Starter

yoyomama

Joined Mar 7, 2016
3
I thought about using a LDO that can be current limited: with Vin at 29/30 V and regulating Vout to 28V, inefficiencies are "minimized". Current limit it at 10A and should get the job done.
 

Sensacell

Joined Jun 19, 2012
2,587
If you can tolerate about 100 milliohms in series, you could build 10 individual current limiters with sensing shunt resistors.

... or use a Hall current sensor.

How accurate do they need to be?
Can they just "trip out" like a circuit breaker, or do they have to limit at 10 A?
How fast do they need to respond?
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,053
Each individual output needs some sort of limiter. What kind depends on how you need the limit set, how accurate, how fast, does it need to simply limit current or to trip out and may it recover once the overload goes away.
 

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
8,540
What kind of response time do you need?

What kind of response time do you need?
Linear current limiting (out voltage sag)?
foldback current limiting (reduce to a low level and hold)?
physical circuit breaker (galvanic isolation)?
thermal or magnetic?
electronic circuit breaker (latching or auto restart)?
etc?

What are your time and money budgets? Also, what is your skill set? Are you looking for a component to be wired in, or plans for a pc board circuit?

Side comment, industrial mechanical breakers rated for DC are relatively rare. They're big in the aircraft industry, but normal industrial magnetic breakers can have surprisingly low DC ratings.

ak
 

TheButtonThief

Joined Feb 26, 2011
237
Side comment, industrial mechanical breakers rated for DC are relatively rare. They're big in the aircraft industry, but normal industrial magnetic breakers can have surprisingly low DC ratings.

ak
Not true. Breakers aren't bias to either AC or DC, they work for both. They'll just be tolerant to less voltage at DC than they would at AC, for instance a C10 breaker that's good for 415VAC can cope for voltages up to 48VDC
 

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
More importantly what are the loads and why do you need to limit them to 10 amps and can they handle having their voltage reduced once they reach the 10 amp current limit??
 

AnalogKid

Joined Aug 1, 2013
8,540
normal industrial magnetic breakers can have surprisingly low DC ratings.
for instance a C10 breaker that's good for 415VAC can cope for voltages up to 48VDC
Actually, I was referring to the DC current rating of a breaker with AC-rated contacts. But to your example, I think an 88% decrease in a specification value qualifies as surprisingly low to someone who is not looking out for it.

ak
 

jlnance

Joined Dec 31, 2015
6
Would fuses work for what you're trying to do? They are certainly the simplest option, with the downside that they have to be physically changed after they blow.
 

Thread Starter

yoyomama

Joined Mar 7, 2016
3
Thank you for all the answers.
I need to limit the charging current of some battery packs (at 10A). These are connected to a single DC power supply or to a DC grid. Currents over 10A must be limited and regulated at 10A; currents under 10A should pass without any reduction.

Fuses or circuit breakers aren't really the option, but I'll probably include a 12A or 15A after the current limiter/regulator.

Shunt current regulators (using a pass BJT or MOSFET transistor) are not a bad option. However, the fact that I have no voltage feedback to any previous regulator means that my output voltage will sag as current demand from the batteries change.

I was thinking of using a linear voltage regulator, but limit it in current. That way I'll have a feedback path to the regulator, thus regulating current and keeping voltage more or less steady. Honestly, if I could easily program the output current, the better, but I can't see that happening unless I use a more complicated design.

I would prefer a commercial/off-the-shelf option, but don't have a probably making my own pcb design.
 

#12

Joined Nov 30, 2010
18,210
This is a tough one.
I guess I'm so accustomed to heat sinks that I don't feel this circuit is unusual or odd. When you think about 10 current limiters connected to a single DC supply, (I think) your mind simply has to go toward heat control. (Maybe because that's my day job.o_O) Really. With (10) 24 volt batteries in one room, charging with 10 amps each, we're into kilowatts just on the batteries. Even if you get great efficiency with a switching design, the whole room has to be ventilated or cooled with about 10,000 BTU's of air conditioner. (Give or take, depending on whether the time is, "winter".)
 
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