How to Buy Military-Grade Power Supplies

How to Buy Military-Grade Power Supplies

Power supplies work to convert power input into a usable form of energy for the application at hand. Even for non-military engineers, military power supplies can push their operations to the next level. These high-quality power supplies offer higher performance and better durability than most off-the-shelf (COTS) power supplies.

But what is a military power supply, and what makes it different from most COTS power supplies?

Manufacturers develop Military power supplies to meet the demanding requirements of military and aerospace applications. For this reason, they’re longer-lasting and more reliable than most COTS power supplies.

Quick Navigation

Why Buy Military-Grade Power Supplies?

Manufacturing standards for military technology are much higher than those for most COTS power supplies. Device failure in military situations could be disastrous. No matter the application, you can rely on military-grade power supplies for:

  • Enhanced ruggedness: Military-grade power supplies need to withstand extreme conditions from harsh weather to heavy jostling. The improved reliability and durability are necessary to ensure success in high-stakes operations in any setting.
  • Longer mean time between failure (MTBF): Most COTS power supplies have a lower MTBF rating than military-grade supplies. As a result, they’re more likely to experience unexpected interruptions more than more robust supplies.
  • Noise reduction: As a rule, military-grade power supplies must be quieter than COTS power supplies due to tactical requirements.
  • Longer lifespan: Military power supplies must last longer than COTS power supplies without the need for repairs. If a power supply sustains damage of any kind, it must be replaceable or repairable to extend its functional lifespan.

Important Power Supply Definitions

It’s vital to weigh every aspect of a potential purchase, especially when buying valuable products like power supplies. To help you out, here is a quick glossary of essential terms to refer to when looking for power supplies:

  • Current limit: Current limiting techniques control the amount of current within a circuit. Examples include fuses, circuit breakers, thermistors, transistors, resistors, and diodes.
  • DC-DC converters: These are converters that change a DC voltage input into a DC output of a different voltage.
  • EMI filters: EMI Filters reduce or eliminate electromagnetic interference (EMI), also known as noise. EMI typically comes from networks and devices operating within close range.
  • Hermeticity: This refers to the airtightness of an object. Hermetically sealed systems are both airtight and gastight, protecting the contents of the system from moisture, gas, and other harmful airborne substances.
  • Inverters: These are converters that change DC power into AC power.
  • Isolation: Isolation is an electrical or magnetic separation between two circuits that bars dangerous voltages from entering a system and separates the parts of a power supply.
  • Point of load (POL): In a POL converter, the regulator is placed close to the point of use to ensure that other components within the system receive the correct voltage.
  • Power factor correction (PFC): This feature minimizes the reactive power produced within an electrical system to bring the apparent power and real power closer in magnitude.
  • Protective cases: The case holds all the internal components of the power supply together. Any military-grade power supply should have a highly rugged exterior to prevent damage if the device is dropped or jolted.
  • Ripple: Ripple is the magnitude of AC voltage that appears on DC output. It can negatively affect sensitive instruments, introduce noise to audio circuits, or even cause capacitors to overheat.
  • Regulation: Regulated power supplies change circuit duty cycles to ensure that output is as close as possible to the rated output. Regulating circuits allows for higher device protection and more accurate outputs.
  • Single-phase: This is a two-wire AC power circuit where the current flows between the two wires.
  • Three-phase: This is a three-wire AC power circuit that separates each phase signal by 120 electrical degrees. This kind of circuit can handle higher loads than single-phase circuits.
  • Over-voltage protection: This feature automatically shuts down a power supply when voltage exceeds the regulation limit, but before the voltage reaches a preset maximum. Typically a crowbar circuit that will shut the voltage down. You may have to manually switch this kind of system on after a failure event.
  • Under-voltage protection: Under-voltage protection is a circuit property that turns off the output voltage, to protect the input power buss from attempting to provide output power when the input voltage is lower than the regulation limit, but before the input voltage reaches a preset low input voltage level. The power supply may automatically recover when the proper input voltage is restored, or it may be necessary to manually switch this kind of system on after a failure event.

Considerations When Selecting Military Power Supplies

There are some parameters you must consider when selecting a military power supply. Paying attention to a unit’s specifications, including the parts used in the device, is key to finding the right power supply for your needs. Some crucial aspects of developing military-grade power supplies include:

High-Quality Parts and Design Guidelines

High-Quality Parts and Design Guidelines

Military power supplies must meet stringent design guidelines. Before making a device available, developers subject it to intense stress testing to ensure it can withstand high temperatures and extreme environmental stresses. That’s why using the highest-quality materials and parts for military-grade power supplies is so crucial – low-quality parts can compromise a system’s functionality, which can prove disastrous for important operations.

Military-grade supplies are also built to last – parts must be replaceable or repairable throughout the product’s lifetime. Even when parts become obsolete, manufacturers must find equal to or better than parts or create final build plans for their previous buyers so they can order spares in preparation for the future.

Application Specifications

Each branch of the military has different requirements for its power supplies. These military standards (MIL-STDs) focus on solving performance issues and meeting environmental challenges that could negatively affect a system’s reliability.

For example, the minimum accepted input voltage for military power supplies must be lower than that of COTS devices. This requirement means that where a COTS power supply would shut off at lower voltages, a military power supply would continue to function as usual.

Environmental Difficulties

External occurrences that could cause issues with power supplies include:

  • Thermal shock: Extreme spikes in temperature can harm electronic devices. To ensure protection against damage caused by thermal shock, military power supplies use robust components as well as undergo intensive stress and thermal testing.
  • Electromagnetic interference or radiation: Both natural and man-made radiation can interfere with a device’s performance. Military-grade power supplies must pass a series of noise rejection tests to make sure they will function properly, even in the case of an emergency.
  • Extreme temperatures: At a minimum, military power supplies must withstand temperatures from -40°C to above 80°C. This temperature range is much broader than that of COTS power supplies, which generally cover an operating temperature range of 0°C to +70°C.

Buy Military Grade Power Supplies from Advanced Conversion Technology

At ACT, we’ve been creating affordable, high-performance power supplies since 1981. As a trusted military supply source, we adhere to strict quality control regulations. For example, we stress-test and burn in our power supplies to ensure they meet the rigorous performance standards for their applications. No matter your needs, you’ll be able to find the right supplies for the job from ACT.

Contact us through our online form, or call 717-939-2300 for more information on how military-grade power supplies can benefit you and your business.

Buy Military Grade Power Supplies from Advanced Conversion Technology

We have a new look! Bear with us as we as transition and work on a new online experience. In the meantime, read more about our rebrand on our blog!