Electronic – Why can’t electronic systems use constant current power source and vary the voltage as power consumption varies

constant-currentcurrentpower supplypower-consumptionvoltage

Today, electronic systems use constant voltage power source. Current consumption varies as power consumption varies. Why can't electronic systems be designed the other way round? Using constant current power source and varying the voltage as power consumption varies. What are the pros and cons of each approach? Why has current electronic systems evolve to use constant voltage power source?

Best Answer

Most power sources are constant voltage, and not constant current. If you take the two main sources of electrical energy, which are batteries and rotating generators(regardless of size), the one thing in common is that their voltage is fixed theoretically to a certain value and can be controlled. For example, a standard AA dry-cell battery has a voltage of 1.5 V, which it will always produce more or less (disregarding real-life errors). The internal chemistry of most batteries relates the internal chemical reactions to the output voltage of the battery. Similarly the generator, for a given magnetic field strength (called excitation), and a given speed, will produce a fixed voltage at its terminals(again, only approximately due to real-life).

In almost any electricity-using device, in almost most cases, a voltage is the cause, and the current is the effect. Only when you apply a voltage to a device, may current start flowing through it (superconductors not-withstanding). Even constant current devices monitor the current and regulate the voltage as per the load. You never hear of a 3 V flashlight battery monitoring the voltage at its terminals. This is due to basic physics, in which change in movement of electrons (i.e. current) is possible when electric field (i.e. voltage) is applied.