Some projects are both educational and useful. We believe that [Jasper’s] Arduino based electronic load is one of those project.
[Jasper’s] electronic load can not only act as a constant current load, but also as a constant power and constant resistive load as well. The versatile device has been designed for up to 30V, 5A, and 15W. It was based on a constant current source that is controlled by a DAC hooked up to the Arduino. By measuring both the resulting voltage and current of the load, the system can dynamically adapt to achieve constancy. While we have seen other Arduino based constant loads before, [Jasper’s] is very simple and straight forward compartively. [Jasper] also includes both the schematic and Arduino code, making it very easy to reproduce.
There are tons of uses for a voltage controlled current source, and this project is a great way to get started with building one. It is an especially great project for putting together your knowledge of MOSFET theory and opamp theory!