Model 642 Electromagnet Power Supply

The Model 642 electromagnet power supply is discontinued and has been replaced by the Model 643 electromagnet power supply.

Features of the Model 642

  • Bipolar, linear, true 4-quadrant output
  • ±70 A/±35 V, 2.5 kW
  • Can be modulated to frequencies up to 0.17 Hz at ±70 A
  • Low noise
  • 0.1 mA of programmed current resolution
  • Analog programming and IEEE-488 and RS-232C interfaces
  • Built-in fault protection
  • Compact design

Output architecture

The Model 642 output architecture relies on low noise linear input and output stages. The linear circuitry of the Model 642 permits operation with less electrical noise than switch-mode electromagnet power supplies. The clean field background allows greater resolution and finer detail in results drawn from data taken during high sensitivity experiments. One key benefit of this architecture is CE compliance to the electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) directive, including the radiated emissions requirement.

The true 4-quadrant output capability of the Model 642 is ideal for sweeping through both positive and negative fields. Tightly integrated analog control of the 4-quadrant output provides smooth current change with very low overshoot. This eliminates the need for external switching or operator intervention to reverse the polarity, significantly simplifying system design. The transition through zero current is smooth and continuous, allowing the user to readily control the magnetic. field as polarity changes. This is achieved without reversal contactors or relays, which would produce un-intended field spikes and other discontinuities. As a result, field hysteresis and other biases are avoided in the experimental data.

Output programming

The Model 642 output current is programmed internally via the keypad or the computer interface, externally by analog programming input, or by the sum of the external and internal settings. For internal programming, the Model 642 incorporates a proprietary 20-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that is monotonic over the entire output range and provides resolution of 0.1 mA. External programming provides unlimited resolution.

The Model 642 generates extremely smooth and continuous ramps with virtually no overshoot. The digitally generated constant current ramp rate is variable between 0.1 mA/s and 99.999 A/s. To ensure smooth ramp rate, the power supply updates the high-resolution DAC 23.7 times per second. A low-pass filter on the output DAC smooths the transitions at step changes during ramping.

Output reading

The Model 642 provides high-resolution output readings. The output current reading reflects the actual current in the magnet, and has a resolution of 0.1 mA. The output voltage reading reports the voltage at the output terminals with a resolution of 100 µV. All output readings can be prominently displayed on the front panel and read over the computer interface.


The Model 642 provides built-in protection against short circuit, open circuit, line loss, low line voltage, high line voltage, output over voltage, output over current, over temperature, and abrupt change of the external programming input. In the event of water flow failure, flow sensors provide feedback to the Model 642 and output current is set to 0 A. Internal heat sink, cold plate, and transformer temperatures are also monitored. Warnings are displayed before temperature limits are exceeded and current is set to 0 A. If temperatures continue to increase over safety limits, the Model 642 turns off.

A proprietary circuit limits the power dissipated in the water-cooled cold plate should low resistance and high line conditions exist. The Model 642 protects itself if operated into resistances outside of nominal limits. By limiting current output, the power supply will safely operate into a shorted load, and it operates safely into high resistance loads by limiting voltage output. The Model 642 is also protected against power loss under full operation and nominal magnet load. Both low and high power line conditions are reported on the front panel display.


The Model 642 includes both parallel IEEE-488 and serial RS-232C computer interfaces that provide access to operating data, stored parameters, and remote control of all front panel operating functions. The Model 642 also provides two analog monitors for output current and voltage. Each monitor is a buffered, differential, analog voltage representation of the signal being monitored. The current monitor has a sensitivity of 7 V = 70 A output, while the voltage monitor has a sensitivity of 3.5 V = 35 V output.

Display and keypad

The Model 642 incorporates a large 8-line by 40-character vacuum fluorescent display. Output current and output voltage readings are displayed simultaneously. Five front panel LEDs provide quick verification of instrument status, including ramping, compliance, fault, power limit, and computer interface mode. Error conditions are indicated on the main display along with an audible beeper. Extended error descriptions are available under the status key.

The keypad is arranged logically to separate the different functions of the power supply. The most common functions of the power supply are accessed using a single button press. The keypad can be locked in order to secure either all changes or just the instrument setup parameters allowing the supply output to be changed.