How to Read a Power Supply Label

Every electronic device requires a power supply to power it in order to run its function. A power supply is a unit that converts one type of electrical power to another type to power an electrical load.  They can also convert one form of energy like mechanical, chemical or solar into electrical energy. A power supply is capable of converting electric current coming from a source into the correct voltage, frequency, and current in order to power the intended load.

How to Read a Power Supply Label

What is a power supply label?

Considering that different gadgets require different amount of electric power to power them, a power supply is a print that gives the specification of that particular power supply. Different manufacturers have different labels on their power supply units but the content is interpreted similarly. Make sure you read the specification of the power supply unit carefully and that it matches your device to avoid small accidents like “frying” your device.

How do you read a power supply label?

Weather a power supply unit has used symbols or full names in their label, it’s important to understand what they mean in order to select the right one for the job. Most power supply labels have the following components in them.

  • AC input is the range of current that a power supply can convert to DC. It’s measured using voltage (V) and ranges between 100V-240V.
  • Hertz refers to the frequency of alternating current. It’s abbreviated as HZ or sometime GHz. For example 100V-240V/50-60Hz.
  • DC output is the amount of direct current that a power supply gives as an output after converting AC. It’s measured using voltage (V). For example 12V power supply.
  • Max load is interpreted as the maximum amperage that a rail can have before shutting down. It’s abbreviated as Amp.

Other symbols that are used include the polarity symbol. Its marked by a circle with a + in it, another circle with a – in it and a C at the center with the + circle pointing a dot inside the C. there are also generic use symbols that are found in power supply like the house means it’s for indoor use only, square inside square means the mains electricity is double insulated, X through garbage bin means don’t dispose instead recycle with other electronics. To indicate who certified your power supply, you will come across symbols that represent different testing companies and different countries.


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