I have a project with arduino. Most devices are powered by the arduinos 3.3V source. But a gsm modem with 5V input and high current consumption cannot be connected with the arduino, because the arduino cannot support such strong current. I use an external transformer for it

Now, if i make a custon pcb for my circuit, to leave the breadboard.

How do i deal with different power sources? (voltages and current consumption)

Can i feed it from a power supply and is ther somnething like a voltage regulator with double outputs that i can solder on the pcb?

  • \$\begingroup\$ There are multiple output power supplies. Just head on over to Linear technologies, or intersil, or even TI. They have quite a few multiple-output controllers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Funkyguy
    Jul 11, 2014 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ I recommend checking out Mouser or Digikey to either find a multiple output regulator, or start with a 5v supply as the main supply and an LDO to drop it down to 3.3v for the arduino. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2014 at 3:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think you need to be clearer about what you are trying to do - an attempt at a circuit would be good or even a block diagram. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Jul 11, 2014 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


It is normal practice (as in the Arduino, for instance) to have multiple stages of voltage regulation.

For instance, on the Arduino, the incoming voltage (from the barrel jack) is first regulated down to 5V, with a limit (purely due to the components chosen) of around 800mA. That 5V is then further regulated down using another voltage regulator to 3.3V, with (again because of the components chosen) a current limit of 300mA.

So from that single power input you get both your 5V and 3.3V regulated outputs. The current available in the 5V rail is dependant on the current being drawn by the 3.3V rail, so if you have 50mA being drawn by the 3.3V rail the 5V rail would have 750mA available to it1.

So when designing your board you need to have a clear idea of what current requirements you will actually have, and what voltages are needed. De-rating (increasing the rated value above what is needed) with voltage regulators is often a good idea as it can reduce the amount of heat generated (and thus the size of any heat sinks).

1 Note: high current consumption causes high temperatures. Although the components are rated at 800mA it doesn't follow that you can use all 800mA as it may melt!


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.