what is a medical power supply?

The medical industry has little room for error - people's lives are on the line, after all. These facilities use powerful machinery and equipment to keep people alive and perform important procedures. Thus, the power supplies used are held to the strictest standards.

Today, we'll address a question we commonly get: what is a medical power supply? And, why are these power supplies held to different standards than typical industrial power supplies? Along with these two questions, we'll address key differences between medical power supplies and other styles. You'll learn all about the different types of power supplies used in the medical industry, too. Of course, we'll also touch on the latest medical safety standards (60601).

Towards the end of this in-depth article, we'll explain what you need to keep in mind when shopping for power supplies for medical facilities - or even at-home medical equipment. You'll also learn why Bravo Electro is the #1 source for all your power supply needs - including these medical power supplies. We've got a lot to cover, and don't want to waste any more time. Let's get right into the topic at hand!

What Is A Medical Power Supply?

Let's get the main question you came here with today out of the way early: what is a medical power supply?  A medical power supply is a device that provides electrical energy to another device or an appliance. Power supplies are found in a variety of devices, including computers, phones, and - you guessed it - medical equipment.

This definition might not seem all that different from what you'd find in an industrial setting. And, in some ways, you'd be right! After all, both types of settings need electrical energy to perform properly. However, there are several key differences between these two types of power supplies that set them apart.

What Are The Different Types Of Medical Power Supplies?

Now that we know what medical power supplies are in general, let's get into the different types of medical power supplies available. While there are several options on the market, we'll touch on three of the most common below.

  • Linear Power Supplies: Linear power supplies use a transformer to convert AC voltage to DC voltage. These power supplies are large and heavy but offer very stable DC voltage output. Additionally, linear power supplies don't produce as much electrical noise as switching power supplies. For these reasons, linear power supplies are often used in medical devices that require low-noise operation - such as X-ray machines and MRIs.
  • Switching Power Supplies: Switching power supply units use electronic switches instead of transformers to convert AC voltage to DC voltage. These power supplies are lighter and smaller than linear power supplies but produce more electrical noise. Additionally, they're less expensive to manufacture. For these reasons, switching power supplies are often used in medical devices that don't require low-noise operation - such as blood pressure monitors and blood sugar testers.
  • Battery Power Supplies: As the name suggests, battery power supplies use batteries to provide electrical energy to a device. These power supplies are portable and can be used in devices that require AC or DC power. However, battery power supplies are only suitable for short-term use due to the limited capacity of batteries. For these reasons, battery power supplies are often used in portable medical devices - such as defibrillators and portable X-ray machines.

What Makes A Medical Power Supply Different From Other Industries' Power Sources?

As you can imagine, the safety standards and reliability needed for power supplies used in the medical industry are above and beyond what you'd expect from other industries' power sources. Here is a quick peek at some of the key differences between medical power supplies vs traditional styles:

  • The level of voltage or current regulation needed
  • The amount of ripple present in the DC output
  • The level of input/output isolation required
  • The degree to which the power supply needs to resist interference from other electronic devices
  • The need for the power supply to meet certain safety standards

These factors are what set medical power supplies apart from other types of industrial power supplies. The degree to which you troubleshoot power supplies in the medical industry varies as well. We'll touch on each one in more detail below. Let's start with a big one - voltage and current regulation.

Voltage & Current Regulation

One big difference between medical and industrial power supplies is voltage and current regulation. Medical equipment is often very sensitive - even a small change in voltage or current can cause problems. For this reason, medical power supplies must be able to maintain a very steady output voltage and current. This ensures that the equipment remains safe and effective.

Industrial settings, on the other hand, don't typically require such tight regulation. For example, an industrial power supply might be used to power a machine that cuts metal. In this case, the voltage and current don't need to be as tightly regulated because changes in the output won't affect the quality or safety of the product.


Another big difference between medical and industrial power supplies is ripple. Ripple is the small variations in voltage that occur when the power supply is turned on. For most industrial applications, a little bit of ripple is not a big deal. However, for medical equipment, even a small amount of ripple can cause problems.

As we mentioned earlier, medical equipment is more sensitive to changes in voltage than other types of equipment and machinery. Thus, these types of power supplies must be better at containing ripple to the smallest degree possible. After all, a minor change can cause the equipment to malfunction or produce inaccurate results. And when it comes to the type of work being done in the medical industry, the stakes are far too high and the margins for error are far too low to allow for malfunctioning equipment or inaccurate results. For this reason, medical power supplies must have very low levels of ripple. This ensures that the equipment remains safe and effective.

Input/Output Isolation

The input/output isolation is another key difference between medical power supplies and other styles you'll find in less heavily regulated industries. What is input/output isolation, you ask?  This term refers to the degree to which the input and output of a power supply are isolated from each other.

In most cases, it's important for the input and output of a power supply to be isolated. However, in the medical industry, this isolation is even more important because of the sensitive equipment being used.

For example, a heart monitor might need to be isolated from a nearby computer to prevent electrical noise from affecting the accuracy of the readings. To achieve this, medical power supplies must have very high levels of input/output isolation. This ensures that the equipment remains safe and effective.

Safety Standards

Finally, another big difference between medical and industrial power supplies is safety standards. The medical industry has very strict safety standards for power supplies. These standards ensure that medical equipment is safe to use and reliable when it is called upon.

There are two main safety standards that power supplies must meet in order to be used in the medical industry: IEC 60601-12 and IEC60601-13. These standards cover things like voltage and current regulation, ripple, input/output isolation, and more.

To meet these standards, power supplies must be designed and manufactured to very high standards. They must also be tested by an independent third party to ensure that they meet all of the required safety standards. These medical safety standards are a crucial consideration when shopping for yours - so we want to touch on them a bit more in-depth below:

The Latest Medical Power Supply Standards (IEC 60601)

The latest medical power supply standards dictate a few things, explained below:

  • The quantity of safety protective barriers required
  • The type of insulation provided
  • The minimum isolation voltage capable of being withstood

In order to adhere to IEC 60601 standards, a medical power supply needs two means of protection. And to further complicate matters, the IEC 60601 4th edition now requires a classification for EMI protection into the standard. This is new - but, such is the nature of these standards. They're ever-changing. 

The specific degree to which a power supply must meet IEC 60601 standards will depend on the use case. For example, professional health care facilities have different standards than home health care and other special environments.

One thing we haven't quite touched on yet is the difference between MOOP and MOPP. These are two terms you'll come across in the medical power industry - so let's break them down for you below.

MOOP (Means of Operator Protection) vs MOPP (Means of Patient Protection): Differences Explained

To put it simply, MOOP is what protects the operator of the power supply. MOPP is what protects the patient.

MOOP can be further broken down into two categories: basic and reinforced. Basic means that there is only one layer of protection between the operator and any lethal voltages. This could be something like simple plastic housing. Reinforced means that there are multiple layers of protection between the operator and any lethal voltages - such as a metal housing with an insulating barrier inside of it.

MOPP, on the other hand, refers to how well protected the patient is from any potential electrical hazards posed by the power supply. Again, this can be broken down into two categories: basic and reinforced. 

In order to meet IEC 60601 standards, power supplies must have at least basic MOOP and MOPP. However, many power supplies on the market today exceed these minimum requirements and provide reinforced MOOP and MOPP for extra safety.

What To Know When Shopping For Medical Power Supplies

When shopping for your medical power supply, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. This will help you cover your assets and keep yourself, your operators, and your patients safe. These tips will also help you get the most bang for your buck:

  • Make sure you know what standard(s) your equipment needs to meet and what level of protection is required.
  • Be sure to buy from a reputable source. Look for a company with experience in the medical power industry.
  • Check what type of insulation is provided and what the minimum isolation voltage is.
  • Ask about the MOOP and MOPP levels.
  • Find out what kind of EMI protection is offered.
  • Get a quote from several different companies to compare prices.

When it comes to medical power supplies, you can never be too safe. By following the tips above, you can be sure that you're getting a quality product that will meet your needs - and keep your patients safe.

Where To Buy Medical Power Supplies You Can Depend On

Now that we've gone over what medical power supplies are, why they're important, and what to look for when shopping for one - let's talk about where you can buy them. You have a few options:

  • You can buy direct from a manufacturer.
  • You can buy from an authorized distributor.
  • You can buy from an online retailer.

Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. Let's take a closer look at each one below.

Manufacturer: Buying direct from the manufacturer is usually the most expensive option. However, you're also getting the best customer service and support possible. In addition, you're buying a product that's backed by the company that made it - so you know it's of good quality.

Authorized Distributor: Buying from an authorized distributor is a good middle ground between buying direct from the manufacturer and buying from an online retailer. Authorized distributors are typically less expensive than buying direct, but they still offer good customer service and support. In addition, you're usually buying a product that's backed by the manufacturer - so you know it's of good quality.

Online Retailer: Buying from an online retailer is usually the least expensive option. this is nice for helping you stretch your budget further. Typically, you'd experience the least degree of customer support when shopping with online retailers - but at Bravo Electro, we've changed the narrative. We offer best-in-industry customer support. More on that later. The other advantage of going with an online retailer? You have more options to choose from - you're not stuck shopping for just one manufacturer. 

Stick With Bravo Electro For Reliable Medical Power Supplies & Industry-Leading Service

At Bravo Electro, you'll gain access to the best selection of AC DC power supplies online. We have products for every industry - and as you may have already learned, we're the premier medical power supply provider in the industry. Whether you're on the hunt for open frame power supplies or constant current LED power supplies - we've got all you could ever need. And, we offer a wide range of voltages: 12vDC power supplies, 24v DC power supply, and 48v DC power supplies.

We've carefully curated the products we offer from the most trusted brands in the power supply industry - such as MeanWell. And, the customer support we provide is unlike anything you've experienced before. We offer same-day delivery, free samples with qualified projects, and engineering in-house. If you have a custom build, we can handle it for you. Enjoy peace of mind knowing you're getting the job done right the first time around with the help of our experts. After all, there is no room for error in the medical field!

What Is A Medical Power Supply? Bringing Things to a Close

What is a medical power supply? And, what is a medical power supply used for? What makes it different from other styles? We've answered all these questions and more - taking a deep dive into the world of medical industry power supplies. You now know what separates these from the traditional power supplies, and what you need to be aware of when shopping for yours.

At this point, there is just one thing left to do - head over to Bravo Electro and get the quality power supply you need! Remember - we don't just have the best selection of quality, realiable products from reputable manufacturers - we back it up with unbeatable service each step of the way. What are you waiting for?