How to build a 12-volt DC to 5-volt DC converter

Written by david sandoval
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How to build a 12-volt DC to 5-volt DC converter
A voltage divider circuit can be constructed from two resistors and a power supply. (resistor image by naolin from Fotolia.com)

Many electrical and electronic devices must convert electrical energy from one form to another before the device can operate. Computer power supplies, for example, convert household electrical energy (120 volts AC in North America) into several regulated DC voltages (+12, -12, and +5 volts DC). When multiple voltage levels are required by one device (such is the case for desktop computers), an electrical circuit called a voltage divider must be used.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • One 12-volt DC power supply
  • One 700Ω resistor
  • One 500Ω resistor
  • Electrical wire
  • Electrical pliers
  • Two ring terminals
  • Soldering iron
  • Electronic (rosin core) solder

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut two lengths of wire, and strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the ends of each wire end. Twist together one end of the first wire with one of the leads from the 700Ω resistor. Solder this connection.

  2. 2

    Twist together the free lead from the 700Ω resistor with one of the leads from the 500Ω resistor. Slip a ring terminal over the twisted leads, and solder the terminal to the leads. Twist together the free lead from the 500Ω resistor with one end of the second wire, and slip the remaining ring terminal over the twist connection. Solder the terminal to the twist connection.

  3. 3

    Attach the free end of the first wire to the positive terminal on the power supply. Attach the free end of the second wire to the negative terminal on the power supply.

Tips and warnings

  • The voltage difference between the two ring terminals is 5 volts DC.

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