In today’s technologically advanced world, a 12 volt power supply plays a crucial role in powering various electronic devices like musical instruments, laptops, and portable refrigerators. This article aims to give an overview of what a 12 volt power supply is, its uses and the different types available.

What is a 12 Volt Power Supply?

A 12 volt power supply is a device that offers a direct current (DC) output of 12 volts. It converts the incoming alternating current (AC) voltage from the mains socket into the desired DC voltage. This process is known as rectification, and the 12 volts DC is obtained by smoothing out the pulsating DC signal produced.

Uses of a 12 Volt Power Supply

A 12 volt power supply is used to power a wide range of electronic devices, and it has numerous benefits. One of its prominent uses is in powering small electronic gadgets that require low voltage. It is commonly used in laptops and musical instruments like guitar pedals and synthesizers. It is also an essential element in portable refrigerators and fans as they can run off a 12-volt power supply. Additionally, 12-volt power supplies are widely used in automotive and marine industries to power lighting systems and onboard electronics.

Types of 12 Volt Power Supplies

There are primarily three types of 12 Volt Power supplies:

1. Linear power supplies – Linear power supplies are the most basic type of power supply, and they are quite inexpensive compared to other types. They provide a regulated output voltage and are ideal for low-power applications.

2. Switch-mode power supplies – Switch-mode power supplies are more efficient than linear power supplies. They utilize a high-frequency oscillator to rectify the incoming AC voltage, and then the rectified signal is filtered and regulated to a low DC voltage. They are lighter and smaller than linear power supplies and are suitable for high-powered applications.

3. Battery eliminators – Battery eliminators are 12-volt power supplies that are designed to replace batteries in devices like old radios and toys. They have an adjustable output voltage and a current limiting feature that prevents damage to the device. They are relatively simple to install and are the ideal solution for devices that require AC voltage.


In summary, a 12-volt power supply is a valuable device that is used widely in various industries. It is an essential element in powering small electronic gadgets, automotive and marine systems, and portable refrigerators. There are three primary types available: linear power supplies, switch-mode power supplies, and battery eliminators. Understanding the differences between them will help you choose the right type for your specific needs.