0 - 10 V Lightweight Lab Power Supply

Based on LT3080, capabalble of 10 mV steps

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- Fine Adjustements (10 mV)

- Current Limit (0 - 1A)

- Small, portable

- Integrated Meters: Source Voltage, Output Voltage, Output Current, Current Limit

- Analog Design (not controlled by Microcontroller)

- digital Design

- non isolated (maybe make a bench version which is isolated)


- USB Power (5V)

- Banana Plugs (5 - 12 V)

- Terminal Block (5 - 12 V)

Outputs (0 - 10 V)

- Banana Plugs

- Terminal Block

Based on this design:

LT3080 PSU.fzz

Basic Schematic, credits go to:

- 39.88 kB - 08/24/2017 at 13:06


  • 2 × LT3080 T PACKAGE 5-LEAD PLASTIC TO-220
  • 2 × Diode 1N4148
  • 1 × Capacitor 1000uF - 25V Aluminum, Electrolytic, Low ESR
  • 1 × Capacitor 47uF - 25V Aluminum, Electrolytic, Low ESR
  • 1 × Capacitor 470uF - 16V Aluminum, Electrolytic, Low ESR

View all 19 components

  • Prototyping: Failures and Learnings

    MrWunderbar09/07/2017 at 02:36 2 comments


    I ordered all the parts and after a few days full of anticipation, they finally arrived in my mailbox:

    Actually not so many components, just a few resistors are not shown here. And also the terminals and plugs are not in this picture.


    First, I tested the LT3080s one by one as a pure voltage regulator and the results were very promising. I could easily step down the voltage in millivolt increments by using a multi turn potentiometer. It just wouldn't go down to 0.00 V without any load attached, which is a standard characteristic of the LT3080. The lowest I could get was at around 890 mV, and when I attached a dummy load of less than 50 Ohms, it went down to the desired 0 V.

    Then I went on and built the prototype on breadboard according to the schematics. The current limit control worked as expected and heat dissipation wasn't such a big issue. The small heatsinks did quite a good job at protecting the LT3080s from overheating. But I haven't tested a full scale 1 A load at 10 V yet.


    LM334 Current Source

    The weirdest and most unexpected behaviour came from the LM334 supposedly provides current source to the LT3080 in order to keep the voltage regulation stable.

    (Also see the Datasheet of the LT3080, page 4, Note 3 and Note 9).

    In general, the minimum load current requirements are met with the LM334 and a simple 100 Ohm resistor, but:

    BUT: the resistor took a significant amount of current with increasing set voltage. When the Voltage was set to below 5 V, it worked just fine, but I ramped it up to 10 V and the 100 ohm resistor started heating up and it produced a very unpleasant smell. Bye, bye, resistor... first victim of the prototyping.

    I had 5 different LM334s and tried several and always the same result. So either the circuit design with an LM334 isn't great, or I just got the wrong part sent...

    So I studied different schematics again, and tried the original schematic from where he just added a simple 1k resistor to the output. And the whole circuit worked again without overheating the minimum load current resistor. So no LM334 needed after all.

    Voltmeter & Instrumentation

    I also ordered a cheap digital volt and ammeter:

    This thing didn't only cause trouble, it is also horribly imprecise. 

    Firstly, the ammeter suddenly drew a lot of current from the LT3080. The regulator failed and now it has a permanent damage (offset voltage of 2 V). Second victim of my prototyping...

    (maybe, I  just connected it improperly the first time...)

    Secondly, the voltage reading is very unprecise. It has only 100 mV steps and those are off by 200 - 500 mV. This voltmeter is a toy, not a precision instrument. I guess you get what you pay for.

    So I checked online for alternative parts, but precision panel voltmeters easily cost more than 20 USD, and that doesn't include current readings.

    This also caused the first spark in my head to switch to a digital design. Because: "hmm... with a simple 16bit ADC and an ATMEGA I can easily create a voltmeter that is more precise than this thing..."

    Or I would just leave the panel meters out completely and use my multimeter to set the voltage. But then again the trade off to not knowing the current limit precisely. It is a trade-off between cost and functionality.

    Going down to 0 Volts

    In order to get the LT3080 to go down to true 0 V, it needs to have its minimum load current (1mA) fed back to a negative voltage (see page 10 of the datasheet). So I was checking different ways of achieving it and looked at different charge pumps. But a charge pump would add another component and extra cost. And I wasn't sure if it would actually work so well.

    But I found a simple circuit that can generate a negative voltage by using a oscillating input voltage, two diodes and two capacitors:

    How to get an oscillating voltage... getting an oscillator. So another part... therefore, I could use a proper premade charge pump anyways. But then...

    Read more »

  • Reference Link

    MrWunderbar08/28/2017 at 15:31 0 comments
  • Schematic Revision #1

    MrWunderbar08/24/2017 at 13:03 0 comments

    Studied some more reference circuits, and made some revisions:

    - Add a LM334 as constant minimum current source to truly reach below 0.7 V.

    Reference (I can't stand this guy, but this video is really useful):

  • Initial Circuit Design

    MrWunderbar08/24/2017 at 09:29 0 comments

    • Followed the design by and studied it carefully.
    • Created a initial list of components
    • Cost estimation: 30 - 40 USD

View all 4 project logs

Enjoy this project?



MrWunderbar wrote 06/21/2020 at 15:01 point


I cancelled this project, because of two reasons.

Firstly, there were design flaws that I don't remember in detail anymore. But overall there were issues with heat generation (probably solvable) and also issues with the LT3080 in the ranges 0-1 V and above 9 V. There was also an issue in getting good current readings and current limiting. I think other people here have made much better circuit designs that are worthwhile to copy (

Secondly, there are now much cheaper pre-made solutions available now, especially the RD6012. This is almost exactly what I was aiming for when I wanted to design a digitally controlled power supply.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike wrote 06/21/2020 at 05:47 point


How it ended? Did you manage to build it? 

If yes, could you share?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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