I just had an application where ground capacitance and stray capacitance of all power supply options (Switch mode wall warts, grounded switch mode supplies) was to large and spoiled measurements by injecting relatively large mains frequency dependent voltages.

I actually helped myself out by building an optical power insulator (a LED driving a small solar panel).

I wonder why I found no low capacitance (stray and to earth) power supplies.

All supplies I checked out either showed symmetric mains capacitance (providing about half the mains voltage at the output GND) or ground connection (output GND tied to mains GND).

Is there any special type of supply that connect mains or earth in the smallest possible way? How would it be named?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I would name it Carl. You might want to explain more about what special sensitive measurements you do that you have such problems, since I rarely came across things that would not run properly given a decent lab power supply. \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Aug 30, 2016 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ The application solved by my strange fix was this: electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/252838/… \$\endgroup\$
    – dronus
    Aug 30, 2016 at 13:34

1 Answer 1


Is there any special type of supply that connect mains or earth in the smallest possible way? How would it be named?

You can use a piezo electric transformer like this one by TI (formerly a Nat semi design): -

enter image description here

Disregard the lower half of the circuit because that is for a high isolation amplifier.

This overcomes the problem of capacitive coupling between primary and secondary producing mains voltages at your output terminals although you still have to be aware that any floating node will capacitively couple to your AC supply voltages. However, I expect this to be an order of magnitude (or more) down on conventional SMPS units.

Here's the link to the TI data sheet/article how to build one.

Another way is to use RFID technology with tuned primary and secondary coils spaced a centimetre apart to substantially reduce coupled capacitance to the power source.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Cool. I just wonder why there is no readymade supply with this feature. Most of-the-shelf supply are the contrary of that, they provide large voltages by capacitive coupling... I wonder if I am the only one with those problems. \$\endgroup\$
    – dronus
    Sep 1, 2016 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ There appear to be countless questions on EE that ask why they get a tingle when touching the dc output connector of a modern power supply. Or they ask about feeling the same mild tingle when they slightly touch their laptop on charge \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Sep 1, 2016 at 23:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did the above answer your question. If so, please formally accept or, if not, please explain what you think may be needed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andy aka
    Nov 29, 2016 at 15:10

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