I have a huge led matrix which will draw 3.1Amps of current. However I only have a 15v 1A psu> Would it be possible to use a transistor to amplify the current after I've lowered the voltage? Could you recommend such a transistor.


15V * 1A is 15 watts.

12V * 3.5A is 42 watts.

You cannot create power out of nothing.


A transistor does not create current (and power) out of thin air. Transistors can amplify voltage or current but only if you provide them with an adequate supply.

A transistor is not magic at all. It works like a valve: it can pass more or less current (water) but if there is none available in the hose (supply) it will not be able to "create" it.

The amplification part comes from the ability to take small current or voltage and use it to control the transistor (valve) which can pass or block much higher currents and voltages.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This this this! I cannot tell you how confused I was for years on this point—transistors are used in amplifiers, they do not "amplify" in and of themselves. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 10 '11 at 10:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ This always confused me too. I could never figure out why a load connected between the collector and emitter wouldn't have current pushed through it. :) Transistors are not amplifiers. They are current-regulating valves. \$\endgroup\$
    – endolith
    Apr 11 '11 at 14:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I actually sat through my first electronics circuits course before I realized this. +1, great inclusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – sherrellbc
    May 20 '14 at 19:32

If you only have 15W available, then the best switched mode power supply will get you between 1.1 and 1.25 amps at 12V, because switched mode power supplies can be 90% or more efficient. But not over 100% efficient, so for 12V at 3.5A you would need an initial supply of 15V at 2.8A at least. Alternatively, your 15W supply could be converted to a 3.5A at just less than 4V supply.

A transistor on its own will not perform this conversion but will be an important part of a switched mode power supply.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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