I'd like to take a few minutes to address the fear of power circuits and the great relief of successfully repairing the first screw-up of a project. Here is an example.
Awhile back, a stalwart group of engineers here were making improvements to a pinball machine using various Intersil parts to improve the flipper strength and reduce overall power consumption. Odd thing to do, yes, but fun.
The flippers each were getting clobbered with 500W for their initial throw, then much less sustaining current. The flippers needed an off-line rectifier and crude filter to provide unregulated and moderate-ripple DC supply, so I made a voltage doubler circuit that is good for over a kilowatt.
Two versions of voltage doubler circuits; the left circuit can use capacitors with lower voltage ratings. The inrush current limiting circuitry and the bleeder resistors are not shown.
I chose beefy rectifier diodes and 4700μF/250V filter capacitors. These are impressive capacitors, and they are dangerous. You can't leave them charged; their stored energy can kill a person easily if tampered with. They kept the indicator LED's illuminated for a half hour after power was turned off. For safety, I had a relay switch in a bleed resistor when power was switched off. I used a 25W metal-jacketed resistor to bleed a transient 100W to effect a two-second bleed-down. The metal jacket is intended to provide a thermal sink for the temporary over-power event. This worked well and is pretty fail-safe.
But you can't just turn on the power through the rectifier system -- if the switch happens to close when the line AC is at peak value, a massive current surge will flow into the uncharged filter capacitors. This can be over 100 peak amperes, and the rectifiers will surely pop; the power switch could even weld shut. (Note: normal circuit breakers are slow to act and would not offer protection for this problem.) I used a soft-charge circuit that imposes a series power resistor to limit line current to about the same 100W peak dissipation using a 25W resistor. A low-voltage circuit times out two seconds after turn-on and shorts out the limiting resistor for normal operation.
I was a little intimidated by this beast even though I've built power vacuum tube circuits, burned out resistors, blew wires, drew arcs, and exploded electrolytic capacitors galore.
Thus, when the inevitable bad connection between boards blew stuff up, it was like finding the first scratch on your new car -- in a peculiar way, a relief. Once perfection is ruined, you can relax. The rectifier was replaced, and the blown circuit-board trace was cleaned up and bridged. Everything worked again, and you couldn't tell there had been an explosion.
The beast, repaired.
That being said and done, I can make the case that there is a benefit for every project having an early explosion.
I can't be the only one who sees the value, right?