if the chassis of a DC power supply is earth grounded , and lets say I am messing around with my power supply and I touch the positive voltage perhaps through a jumper wire or a component on a breadboard and at the same time i touch the chassis do i get shocked or will current flow throw me? I understand there is no path for the current to return to the source because i did not touch the negative side, so how does the earth ground help on the enclosure ? I am just having a hard time picturing what happens when the positive side of things touches the chassis ground and how it helps... i know what happens when positive and negative touch.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Use a multimeter and see if you can measure a voltage : that will tell if a current can flow. As for will you get a shock that depends on many factors : the working voltage, humidity, skin conditions etc But yes you could. \$\endgroup\$ – Solar Mike Jul 12 '17 at 4:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the negative terminal of the supply grounded or isolated? \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jul 12 '17 at 4:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ draw a schematic for what you have, and edit into your question. Take special care for accuracy in rendering what you see around the chassis and PSU negative terminal. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil_UK Jul 12 '17 at 5:52

so how does the earth ground help on the enclosure ?

An earth grounded enclosure is there to protect you from an internal electrical short inside the enclosure.

If the enclosure has a proper Earth Ground connection to mains, then an internal short to a metallic chassis will be safely shunted away to earth ground. One should be able to still touch the metal case in such circumstances and not get killed.

The added benefit (and in low voltage DC applications, many times the main benefit), is EMI shielding; protecting outside circuits from the noisy radiating internals, and protecting your internal circuits from noisy radiating external sources.

As an aside, many power supplies allow you to connect either the DC+ or DC- output terminals to the chassis (earth) ground. This allows you to reference the output to chassis. In effect, biasing DC- output to the same voltage as the chassis, or alternatively, connecting the DC+ output terminal to chassis (producing a negative biased supply rail). This depends on the capability and design of your power supply. Most commonly, one would connect the DC- output terminal to chassis ground for a positive output supply. This is not exclusively for safety reasons, but for electrical reasons (learn about common-mode signals).

Good Luck!


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