The Maker Show: Episode 15 - Using Voltage Regulators to Power your Projects

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If you are like me, you have a box of old power supplies.  Those old "Wall Warts" and "Power Bricks" from electronics that have long since been sent to that big recycling center in the sky.  Wouldn't it be cool if you could use them to power your projects?  Turns out you probably can.  BUT you may need to convert the voltages they produce into values that match the requirements of your microcontrollers and components.

In this episode, we'll talk about "Unregulated" and "Regulated" power supplies.  How to figure out what kind you have, and then how you can use Voltage Regulators, like the popular LM7805 to convert the voltages into appropriate levels for your project.  Well cover all the vocab as well so at the end of this you should know the difference between Linear Regulators, Switched Regulators, Fixed Voltage and Adjustable Regulators and "Buck" and "Boost" converters. 

Throughout the episode, I refer to a number of sites, products, and datasheets and I promised to share the links for them all.  So, here they are:

Pull these links up in the browser for the video:


Sparkfun Unregulated Power Supply Tutorial:

Adafruit Power Supply Tutorial: 

Power Supply and Voltage Regulators Video Playlist:

Wikipedia Voltage Regulator Links: 

Arduino Uno Related Links:

Arduino Board

Arduino Schematic:

NCP117 5.0V Regulator Used on Arduino Uno:

LP2985N 3.3V Regulator Used on Arduino Uno:

Raspberry Pi Related Links:

Raspberry Pi Power FAQs:

Raspberry Pi Reduced Schematic:

PAM2306 Dual Voltage Regulator used on Raspberry Pi. Steps 5V in to 3.3V and 1.8V:

Particle Photon Related Links:

Particle Photon Power Details:

Particle Photon Schematic:

Particle Photon Design Files:

Richtek RT8008-33GB Regulator used in the Particle Photon:


Adafruit 30mm LED Dots:

LM7805 Fixed Voltage Linear Regulator Datasheet:

V7805-1500R Fixed Voltage Switching Regulator Datasheet:

LM317 Adjustable Voltage Linear Regulator:

MP1584EN Adjustable Voltage Switched Regulator:


Devices, Hardware, IoT



The Discussion

  • User profile image

    most informative and easy to understand session for me on power supply and what those volts and amps and switches etc mean..

    Great job Bret!!

  • User profile image

    This video was awesome!  Super helpful and filled in a lot of knowledge gaps on power supplies that I've never really had a good grasp on.  Nice work!

  • User profile image

    This was so excellent, Bret. Kudos!

  • User profile image

    Excellent video!  I'm really hoping Bret will do more like this.  Maybe something on driving stepper motors from a Raspberry Pi?

  • User profile image

    Great video!

  • User profile image

    Great video!! Thanks Bret!
    What about the usb power adapters, do you recommend them for powering an arduino or a dc motor?

  • User profile image

    @bratidiana:You can CERTAINLY power an Arduino with them.  DC motor, MAYBE.  Just depends on the voltages/amperages required by the motor.  

    Some of the cheap "5V\2A" (5 volt, 2 amp) power supplies may not actually get you a full "2A".  So beware, your mileage may vary.  It's worth paying a few dollars more for a higher quality one if you plan on using it in your projects. 

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