This is my first post. I'm a long-time computer programmer but new to this field of hobby electronics.
I bought a 12V 800mA AC/DC adapter to feed my circuits. Seems it's unregulated since the multimeter reads ~18V at 12V without load. Reading some information online, I discovered this behavior is due the regulated / unregulated design differences.
For example, I built a simple circuit. I selected 3V on the adapter and connected it to a 1.95V red LED plus a 180Ω resistor. The multimeter reads the adapter is feeding about 5.5V instead of 3V, so with the LED Vdrop I'm at 30mA, pretty much on the unsafe side for the LED.
I want to know much voltage this adapter yields in relation to the load? Is there some quick calculation or method to acknowledge at which current load the adapter will feed the selected voltage?
Additionally, apart from short-circuiting the adapter terminals, is there some additional caution I must take when working with this kind 1.5V-12V AC-DC adapters?
After thinking a bit, instead of trying a 12V source, I decided to go to the "resistor" route. The circuit is two LED (1 green/1 red) switched by a 12V SPDT relay.
For the LEDs I've resorted to a 1K resistor, assuming 18V source from the unregulated adapter, 2.3 max VDrop and 15mA LED operation.
The relay operated at 12V at stated. I first measured the coil resistance, yielding about 400Ω (confirmed by the datasheet). With 18V this rounds 45mA. I need the Resistor VDrop to be 6V @ 30mA, so I choose a 180Ω resistor (probably 220Ω could be safer).
The circuit worked as I expected measuring VDC=17.80V, Vcoil=11.96V.
Is this a correct analysis? I don't know about voltage regulators yet so I went with a resistor.
The schematic is: