E36313A Triple Output DC P.S. - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: E36313A Triple Output DC P.S.

Author: dougw

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Power Supplies

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: I have used many different power supplies but this one has more great features than any of the other supplies I have used.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: I have had no technical problems with this instrument. It is so versatile, it will be hard to show everything it can do.

Detailed Review:


Power supplies are one of the most fundamental requirements in any electronics lab and the Keysight E36313A is an outstanding example of how to deliver this functionality with a spectacular array of useful features.

Just having 3 outputs where all output voltages and currents are displayed simultaneously is already an awesome set of features that takes the place of 3 power supplies and 6 meters – absolutely beautiful.

The high accuracy of measurements in this instrument truly does eliminate the need for separate meters and the ability to ensure accurate voltage at the point of load is crucial when emulating in-circuit power supplies.

Not only does this device replace a whole bench full of equipment, it can also automatically log data, saving extensive amounts of the user's time and tedious manual note taking.

Additionally it can create power sequences which are normally very difficult to implement.

Features like power sequencing and data logging allow designs to be easily tested and optimized even when the tests are complex.

Other very attractive aspects of this instrument are the user interface and communications capabilities.

To any electronics enthusiast who spends time on the bench, this power supply represents a sumptuously delicious complement of important features and it is a real treat to have this device available when needed. I have only just begun to use it and already it has become the go-to supply for all my projects. I expect it will actually improve the way my projects are tested.

The opportunity to have access to such a great power supply is very exciting and a road test is a super way to learn how to use all of its fabulous features.

This road test will start off with a series of 6 short videos describing my first impressions of the interesting features that I initially tried.

The second series of videos will highlight some of the intriguing  and exotic features in a little more depth.

The third series of videos will show the power supply performing in real applications.



Power On


Power Sequencing


Power Supply Accuracy


Series and Parallel Operation


First Impressions


Battery Charging & Logging - Constant Current To Constant Voltage


Battery Discharging & Logging - Constant Load Resistance

Electromagnetic Emissions



The following applications not only help to showcase what this power supply can do, they also provide interesting or useful information associated with the application.

In the past I have performed extensive battery tests using a whole cart full of heavy equipment, but when looking through the features of this power supply, it struck me that the whole process could be handled by this one compact device.

Setting Up to Automate Charge / Discharge Cycling Using a 4-Wire Constant Current Load Configuration

I was really impressed with the way the 4-wire system took my constant current load circuit in stride and stayed stable, event though I introduced extra gain and a big voltage drop between the power and the feedback.


Automating the Charge / Discharge Cycle Using BenchVue

Battery testing is one of those very long, very tedious activities where you really appreciate the ability to automate the process.


Are your USB cables adequate?

This question has been bugging me for a while now. With the proliferation of USB power supplies and endless numbers of cable suppliers I am starting to run into more power supply issues. I have built systems to test USB power supplies, but right now I am focusing on the cables.

These USB cable tests are very simple to perform when you have a power supply like this Keysight that has accurate voltage measurement and accurate current control.

It turns out I have a lot of cables that are pretty marginal at supplying higher currents. I am going to need to find a way to label my cable resistances, but in the mean time at least I now have the ability to quickly measure cable resistance.


I am very impressed with this power supply. It has an extremely useful set of high performance features.


Relevant Links:

E36313A Triple Output DC P.S.

The Story of a Power Proposal of the Supply Variety





E36313A KEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES, Bench Power Supply, Programmable, 3 Output, 0 V, 6 V, 0 A, 10 A | Farnell UK


Top Comments

  • Very good road test report.


    Well done.



  • That transistor in-between is a bit stretching the purpose of the 4-wire, Douglas image. I'm so happy that the road tests for this instrument are very in depth.

  • I really like the way the supply is stable in 4-wire mode even with the significant voltage drop and extra gain of a transistor between the supply and the sense wire.

  • That's true, MK. You can also use a teminal (like PuTTY). There's a difficulty though: SCPI doesn't echo characters back, so you don't see what you type.

    When using a terminal program, turn on local echo and local editing if the app supports it.

  • You can easily control SCPI instruments (especially Keysight ones which all seem to support direct connection via TCP/IP on network equipped instruments)) from PCs or computers running pretty much any language.


    I've used Python and Visual Basic frequently - the main advantages are that you don't need drivers running on the controller, you can control instruments from several different manufacturers, and of course, no license fees.



  • I just watched your latest two videos, they are excellent and really show how powerful and flexible a solution this supply can be when combined with a software like BenchVue. I really need to get that going and experiment more with mine!

  • The price at Digilent for the Home Bundle was $49. When their boss appeared on the AmpHour podcast, he did a coupon for $7.5.

    It's not a crippled version, as far as I can see, but comes without upgrade option. I have LabVIEW 2014.
    The download for this bundle is Windows. I haven't ever checked if they support other OS.

    The SCPI lib I use is from Jan Breuer: https://github.com/j123b567/scpi-parser

    I've written some articles on the use of that lib. A step by step progress to use it and add instrument functions: Create a Programmable Instrument with SCPI - Part 1: Parser Library

  • $43 is a really good deal. I can't find anything like that now that I am able to buy or aren't extremely limited versions. It seems the cut down cost limited versions are also limited to Windows, even though the full version is also available on Mac/Linux too. Being usable on the Mac does make LabView seem very appealing to me, but it's £320/year or nearly £3000 for a full permanent license.... It does have a 45 day trial available though so I will give that a go I think.


    I like your approach of adding SCPI to as much as you design as possible, I think I need to do that when I get back to the long list of projects I have backing up on my bench.... What library are you using for implementing SCPI? I'm messing with my Pi again now so I might see about getting an SCPI library running and experiment with it a little.

  • I paid $43 two years ago for it, student/home edition, with a coupon.


    I use it to control some of my own instruments (I've made a few of them, Create a Programmable Instrument with SCPI - Part 6: LabVIEW Integration , Create a Programmable Instrument with SCPI - Part 7: Talk to Hardware Registers, and the electronic load).


    I've used it to talk to these scopes: Tektronic TBS2000, Rigol DS1052e and DS1054z, and to a Rigol power supply.

    It's a learning exercise. I want to be able to characterise a design, repeatable, without too much manual work:

    • initialise all instruments to a  known state,
    • run a test scenario and
    • use the scopes as measurement devices


    Whenever I make a design that runs on a microcontroller or Pi or BeagleBone, I try to add SCPI. I found a nice library that implements it very well and is low footprint and extendiblle.

  • I've never fathomed out exactly how much LabVIEW would cost me but it seems like it's quite expensive? It would be nice to have a setup which could integrate instruments from many manufacturers though. How are you getting on with LabVIEW? What have you managed to get integrated and working together so far?