Variable Load Hookup Guide - Revised
SparkFun's Variable Load board is designed to allow users to draw a specific amount of current from a voltage source. It can be used to test stability of the power supply under various loads, battery lifetime, safety cutoffs, and other design elements of power supplies under test.
The Variable Load can test supplies of up to 30V at currents ranging from a few mA to 4A. For safety, the total load power is limited to 15W, and even at 15W the heatsink gets very hot. The Variable Load is designed to be extensible, with headers for a basic character-based LCD so it can be used without a connection to a PC.
SparkFun Variable Load KitKIT-14449
Everything you need to follow this hookup guide is included in the kit, except for the heat sink thermal compound linked below. If you want to add an LCD, any of our 5V character LCDs will work, as linked below. You'll also need some male header pins. You may not need everything though depending on what you have. Add it to your cart, read through the guide, and adjust the cart as necessary.
Break Away Headers - StraightPRT-00116
USB micro-B Cable - 6 FootCAB-10215
For assembly of this kit, you will need standard soldering tools. Any soldering iron of reasonable quality and solder should work fine. To mount the transistor to the heat sink, a Phillips head screwdriver is required.