A power supply is an electronic device that supplies electric energy to an electrical load. The primary function of a power supply is to convert one form of electrical energy to another. As a result, power supplies are sometimes referred to as electric power converters. Some power supplies are discrete, stand-alone devices, whereas others are built into larger devices along with their loads. Examples of the latter include power supplies found in desktop computers and consumer electronics devices.
Every power supply must obtain the energy it supplies to its load, as well as any energy it consumes while performing that task, from an energy source. Depending on its design, a power supply may obtain energy from various types of energy sources, including electrical energy transmission systems, energy storage devices such as a batteries and fuel cells, electromechanical systems such as generators and alternators, solar power converters, or another power supply.
All power supplies have a power input, which receives energy from the energy source, and a power output that delivers energy to the load. In most power supplies the power input and output consist of electrical connectors or hardwired circuit connections, though some power supplies employ wireless energy transfer in lieu of galvanic connections for the power input or output. Some power supplies have other types of inputs and outputs as well, for functions such as external monitoring and control.