Updated 19 May 2021: Section on SCPI

 

I obtained and have been using a Multicomp Pro MP710086Multicomp Pro MP710086 DC Power Supply for the last couple of months.  My unit has 0 - 30V DC, 0 - 5A output and is made for the North American 110V market but there is also a 220V model.  A unit with 0 - 60V DC, 0 - 3A output is also available.

 

{gallery} Multicomp Pro MP270086

Front

Side

Back

 

Feature Comparison

This will not be a detailed review but will report general impressions with a focus on the things most important to me.  The MP710086 has some upgrades over the most basic power supplies.  Previously I wrote about my  Tenma 72-2685Tenma 72-2685 DC Power Supply here which lacked USB / LAN, an On / Off switch for the load and some other features that this unit provides.

 

A comparison between the two power supplies taken from the data sheets is given below:

 

FeatureTenma 72-2685Multicomp Pro MP710086
Channels11
Output Voltage Range0 - 30V0 - 30V
Output Current Range0 - 3A0 - 5A
Load Regulation

≤0.01% + 2mV

≤0.1% + 5mA

≤0.01% + 3mV

≤0.01% + 3mA

Setup Resolution

10mV

1mA

1mV

1mA

Setup Accuracy (25C +/- 5C, within one year)

≤0.5% + 20mV

≤0.5% + 5mA

≤0.03% +10mV

≤0.1% +5mA

Ripple (20Hz - 20MHz)

≤1mV rms

≤3mA rms

≤1mV rms

≤4mA rms

InterfacesNoneUSB, RS232
External ControlNoneSCPI
Memory / Storage of SettingsNone5
PriceUS$ 84.18*US$ 175.00

* My unit was bought on sale for US$ 68.02

 

One of my issues with the less expensive Tenma 72-2685 was the setting and readback accuracy at very low currents (even though it met specifications) so we will see how well the Multicomp Pro MP710086 does and also test out SCPI.  First though an overview of the user experience.

 

User Experience

I find the input and navigation controls easier to use and more intuitive on the Multicomp Pro MP710086 and easier to use than the less expensive Tenma 72-2685 (although the Tenma user interface isn't that difficult to adjust to).  Both use encoders and are much easier to set accurately than power supplies with potentiometer input.

 

The system setup and storage / recall of settings is easy to use.  The addition of an on / off switch for the load and a keylock are useful upgrades. The unit also allows over-voltage and over-current protection to be set.

 

The primary display is well laid out and easy to read.

Primary Display

The secondary display has a graph which can show either voltage or current.  Unfortunately the scale is fixed and for the range of voltage and currents I use is of limited use.  The display below shows 320mA with the Y axis range 0A to 6A.

Secondary Display

Overall I like the user experience and find the unit to be of good value.  The MP710086 is a good upgrade from the most basic power supplies on the market.  It lacks 4-wire, LAN, and numeric input found on instruments the next level up.

 

SCPI

My experience with SCPI on inexpensive instruments is not good and the MP710086 had issues as well.  The documentation such that it was did not contain the SCPI commands and there are no links on the Newark site.  An internet search did not turn up anything either.  Since this is a basic power supply I thought I would try using the instrument with common commands and was successful to a large degree.  Since I haven't seen documentation elsewhere I'll document it here.

 

Update 19 May 2021:  Gough Lui found documentation, including SCPI, for the Owon SP/P series power supply that the MP710086 appears based on and kindly posted a link in the comments below.  I will leave my observations here as they appear to be essentially the same.

 

A driver was not required and the instrument showed up on National Instrument NI MAX as shown below:

NI-MAX Screenshot

 

The National Instruments Test Panel was used to test SCPI commands (use the "Open VISA Test Panel" button in NI MAX).  Setting the output voltage to 3.3V is shown below.

Test Panel

 

The documentation I prepared for my own use is given below.  Things seem to work but it has not been extensively tested. I've not been able to determine the SCPI commands (if they exist) for several of the features such as memory storage and system commands such as using the beeper.  Use at your own risk.

 

*IDN?

Description: Read product information

Return Value: Newark,MP710086,2017654,FV:V1.5.2

Example: “*IDN?”

   return “Newark,MP710086,2017654,FV:V1.5.2”

   means seller, model, serial number, and version

 

[:SOURce]VOLTage[:LEVel][:IMMediate][:AMPLitude] <value>

Description: Set the output voltage (Unit: V)

Return Value: none

Example: “VOLT 1.10”

   means set output voltage to 1.10V

[:SOURce]VOLTage[:LEVel][:IMMediate][:AMPLitude]?

Description: Read output voltage setting

Return Value: the set output voltage in volts.

Example: “VOLT?”

   returns “1.100”

   means the output voltage is set to 1.100V

 

[:SOURce]CURRent[:LEVel][:IMMediate][:AMPLitude] <value>

Description: Set the output current limit. (Unit: A)

Return Value: none

Example: “CURR 1.00”

   means set the output current limit to 1.00A

[:SOURce]CURRent[:LEVel][:IMMediate][:AMPLitude]?

Description: Read output current limit setting

Return Value: set output value of the current limit in Amp.

Example: “CURR?”

   returns “1.000”

   means the output current limit is set to 1.000A

 

MEASure[:SCALar]:VOLTage[:DC]?

Description: Read the actual output voltage.

Return Value: actual value of output voltage in Volt.

Example: “MEAS:VOLT?”

   returns “5.00”

   means the measured output voltage is 5.000V

 

MEASure[:SCALar]:CURRent[:DC]?

Description: Read the actual output current.

Return Value: actual value of output current in Amp.

Example: “MEAS:CURR?”

   returns “1.100”

   means the measured output current is 1.100A

 

MEASure[:SCALar]:POWer[:DC]?

Description: Read the actual output power

Return Value: actual value of output power in Watt

Example: “MEAS:POW?”

   returns “1.200”

   means the measured output power is 1.200W

 

[:SOURce]VOLTage:LIMit <value>

Description: Set Upper Voltage Limit value

Return Value: none

Example: “VOLT:LIM 5.00”

   means set UVL to 5.000V

[:SOURce]VOLTage:LIMit?

Description: Read Upper Voltage Limit setting

Return Value: set value of Upper Voltage Limit

Example: “VOLT:LIM?”

   returns “5.00”

   means set value of UVL is 5.000V

 

[:SOURce]:CURRent:LIMit <value>

Description: Set Upper Current Limit value

Return Value: none

Example: “CURR:LIM 0.1”

   means set UCL to 0.100A

[:SOURce]:CURRent:LIMit?

Description: Read Upper Current Limit setting

Return Value: set value of the Upper Current Limit

Example: “CURR:LIM?”

   return “0.100”

   means set value of UCL is 0.100A

 

OUTPut[:STATe] <bool>

Description: Set output ON/OFF. <bool> = 0|1|ON|OFF

Return Value: none

Example: “OUTP 1” or “OUTP ON”

   means set the OUTPUT to ON

OUTPut[:STATe]?

Description: Read output ON/OFF status

Return Value: return 0|1

Example: “OUTP ?”

   return “1”

   means the output is ON

 

Some Quick Tests

I have been using the unit for several months now and have experienced no problems in use.  Most use was with small motors in the several hundred mA range with voltages from 3V to 9V and up until now I'd not tested it at low voltages and currents.  To rectify this the test setup shown below was set up and a range of tests done starting at 1mA.

Test Setup

The unit was varied manually while supplying power to a nominal 10 ohm resistor with quite a bit of wire connections.  The voltage setting was recorded along with the voltage delivered as measured by the PSU and an Extech EX330 (DMM2).  The current setting was also recorded along with the current delivered as measured by the PSU and a Tenma 72-1020 (DMM1).  When the current setting controlled the output an asterisk (*) was placed in the PSU Setting (A) column.  When the voltage setting controlled the output the asterisk was placed in the PSU Setting (V) column.

 

Results are given in the table below.

 

NoPSU Setting (V)PSU Setting (A)PSU Reading (V)DMM2 Reading (V)PSU Reading (A)DMM1 Reading (A)
11.0000.001*0.0230.02320.0010.0015
21.0000.002*0.0380.03820.0020.0024
31.0000.003*0.0530.05350.0030.0034
41.0000.004*0.0710.07110.0040.0045
51.0000.005*0.0860.08650.0050.0055
61.0000.006*0.1020.10190.0060.0065
71.0000.0070.1190.11930.0070.0076
81.0000.008*0.1350.13490.0080.0086
91.0000.009*0.1510.15070.0090.0096
101.0000.010*0.1600.16040.0100.0102
111.0000.020*0.3160.3160.0200.0202
121.0000.030*0.4710.4700.0300.0310
131.0000.040*0.6280.6270.0400.0401
141.0000.050*0.7830.7820.0500.0500
151.0000.060*0.9380.9370.0600.0600
161.000*0.0701.0000.9980.0640.0638
171.100*0.5001.0991.0960.0700.0701
181.200*0.5001.1991.1960.0760.0765
191.300*0.5001.2991.2950.0830.0829
201.400*0.5001.3991.3950.0890.0893
211.500*0.5001.4991.4950.0950.0957
221.600*0.5001.5991.5950.1020.1020
231.700*0.5001.6991.6950.1080.1085
241.800*0.5001.7991.7940.1150.1149
251.900*0.5001.8991.8940.1210.1213
262.000*0.5001.9991.9940.1270.1278
272.500*0.5002.4992.4930.1620.1619
283.000*0.5002.9992.9910.2010.2011
293.3000.5003.2993.2910.2260.2260
305.000*0.5004.9994.990.3730.3729

 

I am very pleased with these results.  The current can be controlled to within 0.5mA right down to 1.0mA and the voltage is bang on from 1V up to 10V which is the range I normally work in.  These results are well within the specifications given in the datasheet.

 

Summary

The Multicomp Pro MP710086 exceeds expectations for supplying low voltages and currents and it performs well over the entire range I intend to use it.  The user interface for setting and measuring voltage and current works well.  The addition of the on / off switch to power the load is welcome.  The ability to store and recall settings could also prove useful.  The user interface was easy to adapt to.  Basic SCPI works OK but Newark should be providing complete user manuals that include SCPI communication.  Overall it is a good choice for those needing a single channel DC power supply and not requiring 4-wire measurement.