Introduction: Dual Voltage Regulated Power Supply

Picture of Dual Voltage Regulated Power Supply

A friend of mine who runs an electronic shop wants to install an old cd-rom to be used as a stand alone cd-player in his truck. His problem was to find a suitable power supply for this purpose. A cd-rom uses 2 power supplies, 5 Volts which is used in its logic circuit and 12 Volts for its servos. With these parameters I needed to make a dual regulator that produces 5 Volts and 12 Volts output in one input voltage. Trucks usually uses 2 lead-acid batteries so that will be around 24 Volts.

The cd-rom uses around 1.5 Amperes of current for the 5 Volts and 2 Amperes for the 12 Volts. Considering all the needed parameters, using two 7805 regulators for the 5 Volt supply will suffice however we need higher current for the 12 Volts. Using an "old-school" technique, we will be utilizing one 7812 regulator but putting an additional transistor to beef up its current capacity up to 5 Amps. I know its an overkill but better safe than sorry.

Step 1: PCB and Assembly

Picture of PCB and Assembly

Component List:
IC1 and IC2 - 7805 series regulator
IC3 - 7812 series regulator
Q1 - MJ2955 NPN Transistor
R1 - 1 ohm / .5 watt resistor
R2 - 10 ohms / .5 watt resistor
C1 and C2 - 4700 uF / 16 Volts electrolytic capacitor

Using the diagram, make the PCB, you can see it in my previous blog. Put sufficient heatsink for all the IC's to maintain a normal heat.My PCB design for the diagram, this conforms with my plan to put all the regulators and transistor in one heatsink.I had bolted all heat generating components using only one heatsink, as you can see, the center is the MJ2955 transistor, two 7805's on the right side, and the 7812 on the left.Soldered all the components including the MOLEX connector for the CD-ROM and this project is ready for testing.

Step 2: Enclosure and Testing

Picture of Enclosure and Testing
I bought some generic plastic enclosure for the project. Drilled some holes on it to have proper heat dissipation. During the test, the MJ2955 generated heat but not very much, I can still touch it. Connecting it to the CD-Rom was staright forward and it played right away.

Theoretically, this is also applicable to supply Hard Drives but I still have to test this myself. I'll post updates soon.

Color Configuration for the MOLEX connector:
Yellow - 12 Volts
Black - Ground/Negative
Red - 5 Volts

  • Double check this before connecting to your CD-ROM, this will FRY your device if inverted.

Step 3: Alternate Diagram

Picture of Alternate Diagram

To address the comment of koocotte regarding the different voltages from two 7805 regulators, I have added two diodes in forward bias on each output in the circuit.

Step 4: Voltage Spike and Voltage Drop Issues

Picture of Voltage Spike and Voltage Drop Issues

-To control the positive and negative voltage spikes from mechanical relays when turning a vehicle off (toma's comment), a simple zener bridge will do the trick. This will "pre-regulate" the input voltage going to the regulators.
1N5359B zener diodes - 2 pcs.

-To compensate for the voltage drop caused by the diode that we connected in the outputs (+/-.7 volts), just replace the two 7805's with 7806's. This will give us roughly 5.3 volts in the output.


recuat (author)2012-10-04

Can any one please help to identify the MJ 2955 pin out put? What is the voltage and the amp of the transfomer output? too hight voltage of the LM 7805 will make the IC hot, any advice? I'm beginer for this project, i use it for my CD ROM also.

natsud1 (author)2011-02-16

Help plz. im confused about "MJ2955 NPN Transistor " when i look up mj2955 it says that it is pnp and the 2n3055 is the npn version so which one do i use??

dill1233 (author)2010-10-25

I went to Radioshack the other day to buy the parts I needed for this project (I'm only using the 7812 side, though), and I was able to get the 7812, the MJ2955 (known as the 2N3055 at Radioshack), and 5 10 Ohm 1/2 Watt resistors. As you can see, I'm leaving out the 4700 uF 16 Vdc capacitor and the 1 Ohm 1/2 Watt resistor, but I was hoping that I could replace the capacitor with the 4700 uF 35 Vdc capacitor and the resistor with one of the 10 Ohm 1/2 Watt resistors that I found at Radioshack. By the way, for my project, I am taking a 15V battery supply (from 10 normal AA batteries though I would love to use the 10 rechargeable AA batteries that I have that go out a little over 12V which is enough to not work for my situation) and running that hopefully through this circuit and into a DC-DC power supply to power a Mini-ITX computer that runs about 18W (batteries are 2.5Aph providing about 30W which will definitely work).

btongminh (author)2010-06-06

You could have connected a diode from the 7805's GND pin to GND as well; this will boost the output relative to GND with 0.7, which is then dropped over D1 resulting in a 5V output.

morph1664 (author)2009-08-11

Hi can any one help. I'm looking for a circuit that i can connect to a 12v van battery & step it down to 5v 2amp. its for an LCD picture frame. I saw this circuit & was wondering if i could just built the 5v part & if that would work??

legless (author)morph16642010-01-09

morph1664 you can use a 78T05 type 3 pin positive fixed voltage regulator in a TO-220 package which will handle up to 3A with heat sinking. The input voltage needs to be kept 2.2V-3V above the output voltage but they will handle an input of up to 35V. Remember though the higher the input voltage the more heat the regulator has to dissipate. If it the junction gets too hot (about 125 degrees), regulation will begin to fail. This series (78T0x) of devices can be used with a series–pass transistor and suitable heat sinking to supply up to 15 A at the nominal output voltage. I think you'll find that most specs are quoted at 25 degrees Celsius with a maximum power dissipation of 25W.

A circuit to do what you want (a simple voltage regulator) is usually contained in any datasheet for a given device. You only need at most two capacitors to complete the circuit. Do a quick search for 78T05 data sheet.

A better more stable switching supply would be made by using an LM2576 switching regulator which will supply 3A but at higher efficiency and reduced heatsink size (or even no heatsink in many cases). They also have better current limiting and thermal shutdown features than linear regulators. The component count is a just a few more with a catch-diode, choke and two capacitors being needed to complete the circuit.

ghans_00 (author)2009-05-01

Hi Everyone... Can someone provide me a functional circuit regulator for a 70amps24v and 70amps12v PMA. It's for my friends experiment. I'm trying to help him actually. It will be great it if has a built in ovecharge protecton. Thanks guys... more power to all

joinaqd (author)2009-01-12

can someone help me?i have this transistor that says PL on the top, 7805 in the middle,and 2 MC at the bottom...but i dont know if its a voltage regulator can someone please reply me back if it is?

omnibot (author)joinaqd2009-02-28
aservantofhis (author)joinaqd2009-02-22

i think thats a 5v regulator

aservantofhis (author)2009-02-22

i need something similar to power my pc in my car. i need some help though. i need +12v, -12v, +5v, and +3.3v. so would i do the same thing you have but join lots of regulators to give me greater power out? i think those regulators are rated at 1amp i need something a bit more gruntier, about 15amp or so i rekon. would you be able to draw a quick picture like above if its not a hassle? Also how does adding that transistor beef up a regulator to 5amp?? im a learner btw

pianoman2011 (author)2009-02-22

This is excellent. Did you design it? I have been having a similar problem myself. I am working on a multicolored laser unit combining 3 different colored lasers (violet, red, and green) and i would like it so that they can all be supplied with power from one source (such as a AC-DC wall transformer). But each one runs at a different amount of mA's and Volts. I cannot figure out how to get the exact voltages and mA's that i need to run each laser from one power source. here is what the circuit needs to do: --- Use one power source to simultaneously supply 3 lasers with constant voltage and adjustable (using a POT) current. --- Be able to continue to supply constant voltage and current to the other lasers if one is turned off (i dont want the mA or volts to suddenly rise and blow one laser if i turn the other off). --- Use 3 seperate POTs be able to individually adjust the mA delivered to each laser (all of them will run at max mA and if i want to turn down the green i would up the resistance of one of the POT's to reduce the mA flow to the green laser) the 3 lasers each have different power specs. below is the max power that i will want to run each laser at. the voltage must remain CONSTANT. the mA's must be able to be LOWERED from the below specs using a potentiometer or variable resistor. 6V 120mA 4.5V 420mA 3V 340mA If you could figure out a design that delivered these 3 voltages and similar ampages from lets say a 12v 1amp power source (it could be more), i would be eternally gratefull. i could allways change the resistor and POT values to make the mA's match what i need exactly. I have been looking for somebody to help me out with this and i can find absolutely nobody who knows how to do this. thanks for the time. -Jakob

bigleague (author)2007-02-22

I like how you have resolved that problem. I'm new o this site and would like to see if anyone could help with this problem. I need to build a power supply 7.4-15 vdc input and multiple regulated 4.5 to 6vdc outputs (6 would be max) filtered for noise and with peakcurrent of 10 amps. Is this possible? I've been looking for circuts but havent found much. Thanks Bigleague

It is much like this circuit with the MJ2955 to beef up the output from 1 amp to 3 amps. if you want to have a current as high as 10 amps, you can try connecting 5 MJ2955's in parallel and see how it works or you can ask your electronic store if they have a transistor capable for 10 amps output to replace the MJ2955 but personally i think connecting the transistors in parallel will do the trick.( please be advised that at 10 Amps, that current is lethal already so it should be done with caution ). Good Luck

FUD, FUD FUD! 10 Amps lethal? Sure - if you're able to force 10 amps thru your body at a voltage of 6 to 15 volts. But there's no way you can hurt yourself at those voltages unless you cram it up a bodily orifice. :-) A plain car battery is 12 volts an is capable of delivering 1000 amps without much effort. You can touch the poles of a car battery how much you like without being electrocuted or even feeling anything at all. If you lick it you might feel a tingling sensation on your tongue though... Connecting as low resistance device across the poles of a current generator capable of delivering 10 amps at some volts might cause the device go "poof" or maybe even "bang", but lethal? Nahhh....

Sandisk1duo (author)matseng2008-09-09

oh, if you do decide to LICK a car battery, post a video about it! it will EAT your tongue

xsmurf (author)matseng2007-09-21

Now connect a high amperage device on the path to your body... a huge motor to give an example (actually 1A is plenty enough to kill you). And trust me, it's you who will go both "poof" and "bang".

matseng (author)xsmurf2007-09-22

Ehh? Sorry, but you're totally wrong.

You mean that if I take a car battery (12 volt, capable of delivering 1000 amps) and a headlight bulb (12 volt, 80 watt = 6.6 Amps) and connect one wire from the battery to the lamp, one wire between me and the bulb and finally a wire from me back to the battery - thus making a circuit between the bulb the battery and me - I would die? Sure....

There's not enough voltage to force any current thru your body since the body has a relatively high resistance. When you have learned about Ohms law you'll understand this.

The Electrical Safety Standards governmental agencies in most countries consider all voltages below 50 volts as harmless/safe due to the simple reason that there's normally no way of getting any harmful current through the body at those voltages.

Spokehedz (author)matseng2008-03-25

Well said, sir.

xsmurf (author)matseng2007-09-22

Hey you're actually right :"| I guess I was thinking in mains term.

Plasmana (author)2008-09-03

This is a great instructable! I like it! And can you please tell me what software you use to make those schematics?

Sandisk1duo (author)Plasmana2008-09-08

looks like EagleCAD

Plasmana (author)Sandisk1duo2008-09-09

Okay, thank you!

tcase (author)2008-05-25

I love this, thank you, Now, what if someone wanted a power supply exactly like this, but to run all components to the computer, not just the cd-rom, but adding another plug for hard drive, and mother board, and maybe even a flat touch screen monitor? I had supposedly found some on ebay, but I'm not sure to trust them or not. I would like to build my own so I know what it can handle, and build it for a car computer, hard drive, dvdrom, and mother board, with a flat touch screen monitor. (I believe it would depend on the monitor), but for motherboard I believe it at least has to be an atx style... can you add anything for that? and to work with the ignition power on and off? I wish I would have taken electronics in school now other than welding, motorcycle mechanics and I want to make something like this for a motorcycle later Thanks again...

Zenix (author)2007-07-13

In your other instructable, (Homebrew WISP) you mentioned this.. What is it used for?

x_pyro (author)2007-02-26

can u give me a clearer diagram of the PCB that i need to copy please?

x_pyro (author)2007-02-23

Hey i can't find the picture of the PCB board and how it needs to be drawn out. Would you mind e-mailing it to me at

Step by step instructions on PPCB making is here.

x_pyro (author)2007-02-24

this there a different kind of heatsink i can use or do i have to use the one u used

any heatsink will do

x_pyro (author)2007-02-24

srry i'm askin so many question but i just need to get some understanding. Another question is where did you get these materials; Q1 - MJ2955 NPN Transistor R1 - 1 ohm / .5 watt resistor R2 - 10 ohms / .5 watt resistor C1 and C2 - 4700 uF / 16 Volts electrolytic capacitor Heatsink

Go to any Electronic Store nearest you or in EBAY (

x_pyro (author)2007-02-23

Also where did u find ur ferric chloride

x_pyro (author)2007-02-13

can this be used to power something else besides a cd player?

Yes, any electronic device needing 5 volts and/or 12 volts with current consumption that does not exceed 1.5 Amperes

holographthree (author)2007-01-30

I want to make a DC +12V, -12V, +5V power supply with 12Vdc (auto battery) input to run a cheap DVD player on a boat. Do you think i could modify this cct?

Yes you can modify it

ngth (author)2006-11-22

In response to koocotte and others above me....

I would recommend using a dual switching power supply, such as an ISL6227. See: ISL6227 Datasheet. The switching power supply accepts an input voltage of up to 25V. All you need to do is provide the top and bottom FETs, output caps and biasing ciruitry.... I can do a write up and an example switching circuit if you'd like. This is a relatively simple task, though designing your first switching circuit might be a doozie.

The advantage to using switching power supplies is that you won't be dissipating an excess amount of power in the form of heat (as in the case with linear regulators). The ISL6227 has a dual supply output and can be set for the voltage that you are targeting for.

valix05 (author)2006-09-06

I want to use this circuit in my car. At my car battery I have around 13 - 13.6 V. Is that enough to power the circuit? I have concerns about the 12V that is comming out from IC3. Thanks!

The 13 V coming out from your Battery is Ok for the 5 Volts output, however it is a bit low for the 12 Volts regulation theoretically, but personally i think its still OK, havent really tried it though.

Thank you for your answer. I have made & tested the circuit and it works just fine. IC1 and 2 are getting very hot :D But there is nothing that I can't solve!

Your Welcome

Candz (author)2006-10-09

Sir.. I have a question.. ? Im making a cd-rom as an audio player connected to an stereo... As you indicate in the circuit the MAX V+in is 35V.. It is possible to use 12VDc as my V+in, so that I can play the CD-rom as an stand alone audio player?? I need it As Soon As possible

at 12 VDC, its Ok for the 5 volts regulator but theoritically low input for the 12 Volts but as i said " theoritically "

Prometheus (author)2006-05-21

Correction, the circuit if used for automotive applications needs to be buffered for as high as 300V spikes to be deemed "rugged enough", as inductive surge from the starter motor can become pretty high depending on the actual design of the motor...A heavy filter capacitor of at least 2000µf@150V+ would be a smart move (the capacitance will kill the spike before it exceeds 100V, much less 60V). However on the whole, a PC cd-r is not meant to withstand the vibrations in a vehicle, and will result in poor performance/premature failure, so maybe going down to the local boneyard and picking up a cd-player for $20 might be more worth it....It's fun to try, but I hate to say, terribly impractical, but I've done much, much worse hehehe...

dontplaymygame (author)2006-05-13

Im trying to built the circuit but i have a problem? I need a design of the project's pcb!! If you can send be the design of the pcb send it to me on 10xxx

sipster (author)2006-03-03

Oh, I forgot about the dissipation in the 12v reg too. This is at least 24W - giving a total of 24+28=52W. I'd really consider a switch mode approach to this!!

I was banking on these two factors when I designed this: 1. That this will be used for a CD-ROM as a stand alone CD player in a truck, so use is intermittent. It only heats up during play. 2. 78xx series regulators have built-in overcurrent protection and thermal shutdown circuits embedded in the design. Anyway,I'll consider your suggestion, a design with a switch controller.

sipster (author)2006-03-03

You need to be careful about power dissipation. If you are running this from 24v (a conservative figure as 2 lead acid batteries are more like 28v) the power dissipation in _each_ 7806 is about 14Watts!! ((24-6)*.75). Think how hot a 30W light bulb gets. You get the idea!

toma (author)2006-03-03

This circuit isn't rugged enough for automotive applications. For reliable operation the an automotive regulator needs to be able to withstand at least 60 volt spikes, 80 volts is preferred. The absolute maximum rated voltage on the 7805 is 35 or 40 volts.

The diodes after the 7805s might not work out, since they reduce the loaded output voltage to about 4.35V.

Check out the automotive section at for more rugged circuits. Automotive supplies are truly the 'power supply from hell'.

About This Instructable




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