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Powering Video Game Consoles with Single Power Supply?

I'm in the planning stages for a office/video game room. I own a lot of game consoles — around 20. I want to hook them up to two televisions — one HD plasma and one SD CRT (older ones will probably go to the CRT). I'm starting from an unfinished basement, so I have a lot of freedom for the design.

One thing I really want to avoid is a rat's nest of cables — 20 consoles can result in a big mess. I'd also like to avoid having wall warts draw power when I'm not using their respective console. With that in mind, plus a desire to introduce a little automation, I'm planning to use an arduino (probably a mega 2560) along with a bunch of relays and a power supply of some sort to do this. For consoles with internal power supplies, I'll run AC through some relays. But for the DC ones, is there anything I should be worried about? I plan to use voltage regulators (possibly variable along with some digital pots) to set the correct voltage for each console. Should I put fuses in line? Diodes?

I should mention that I don't plan to ever have more than one console on at a time. That said, I do plan to use a desktop PSU or something like similar that can provide plenty of amps.

I don't yet know as much as I'd like to know about DC and what constitutes a good source of power, and I just want to make sure I don't fry any of my consoles through some rookie mistake.

I'd appreciate any advice, suggestions, etc.

Thanks!

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Wired_Mist2 years ago

Your biggest problem will be Regulating the 12V Rail, Aside from that your plan sounds good !

**Feel I should point out that the adapters shouldn`t be pulling Much, if Any, Current when the systems are turned off. only certain newer ones will have a standby mode that will draw some current 24-7. You can find this out with a Kill-a-Watt (search it in google)

If you want to use a ATX, it will provide you with 12V. But when it first starts up you will have 18V+ for a fraction of a second while the switching power supply Stabilizes. For something like car audio or a portable DVD player that's no problem, but I would Not Trust the direct solution for the more modern consoles.

For a couple Extra $$ buy a 13.5V 5A power supply and use a LM1084 to regulate the 3-5 Rails you need :) that would power most of you consoles aside from the newest ones. Eg the first Xbox 360 requires 16.5A supply ! For those ones (Six of them maybe?) I would Strongly Suggest using the original Power Adapters !

And YES, Use Fuses! (At least one on the Main DC line, even one on evey console if you wanted !) the Diode is overkill because your only need to wire this up once. After that you would be using keyed Connectors.

* Catches Breath *

Lastly, The best way (In my Opinion) to route the rats nest of cables is to use some Velcro straps to hold the cables in Logical Groups. And build your Entertainment system with a Large Cavity in back, Under the TV, that you can tuck all those cables into ! Rather then having a deep shelf, build a cavity under the TV and leave a few inches up front to build in a Book Sh... Err I mean Game Shelf :)

Give me some more Details and I`d love to help you out more :P

fwonkas (author)  Wired_Mist2 years ago

Thanks for the response!

Good to know about the voltage spike. Assuming all the relays are open, that spike should never get to the consoles, right? That said, would voltage regulators be able to absorb that? Also, I assume that wall warts are always drawing power because many of them are warm to the touch.

I should clarify which consoles I'd want to power from the power supply: NES (its adapter supplies AC but DC works too), SNES, Genesis (with 32x & CD), Genesis (with Power Base Converter), TG-16, Atari 2600 and Sony PSOne. I might power the Game Cube and N64 this way too, but they have funky connectors and I'll have to see what I can do with them.

I've got a Colecovision as well, but that will be trickier, as it requires 12v, 5v, -5v and ground. I'm not sure how to do that (I think some old desktop PSUs supply negative voltage, so maybe that would work?).

I don't think I'd do much with the more modern consoles that expect to be powered all the time (PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Wii U — maybe original xbox and Wii as well?). I'd just use their stock power supplies/cables.

I would probably have the dreamcast's AC controlled by a relay, but I may run 3v (or whatever it is) to replace the internal battery. Maybe do the same thing to replace the original Xbox's clock capacitor as well, if I have that console controlled by relay too.

As for the entertainment center's build, I have a lot of freedom here — it's going to be up against a wall that won't be finished on the opposite side (that side is under a stairwell). So I can actually hide most of the wiring outside of the room entirely. Still, I'd like to keep the mess to a minimum.

Other ideas I'm kicking around include:

* Use LED strips to illuminate the cubbyhole of the console currently in use.

* Maybe put some fans in the back of each cubbyhole to suck out hot air if the temp hits a certain point. This is probably overkill.

* Touch controls to toggle consoles. Maybe using conductive paint or something.

* I've got several A/V switches that change inputs automatically, so I'll be able to have most of the older systems connected to a single input on the CRT.

So, uh, that was a bit of an essay. But you asked for details! :)

Thanks again.

Oh my... Where to start... Lmao

**Voltage spike/Power Routing** Provided you have Current being drawn on the 12V And 5V Rails, you could (Theoretically) wait a moment and then turn the console on. (ATX power supplies usually need a draw on both Rails to stabilize the voltage. So you need to have those Led strips you mentioned on the 12V line. You also mentioned some exhaust fans; Wire them into the 5V line.)

Yes a voltage regulator will take care of the voltage spike. The catch is there will be a 1.2-1.5V voltage drop across the regulator. that is why I suggest a 13.5V power supply :)

Yes you can use the voltages from an Atx power supply (Even -5V) to power these consoles. Plz Note... it`s always better to use a independent regulator each voltage requirement. IE a N64 requires a 12V Rail and a 3.3V Rail. But you can have multiple systems connected to the same power Rails. Just turn one on at a time (Via a Double Throw Relay) Like you said :)

Still, As Epic-ly Awesome as that sounds...

I still have to urge you to use the original power adapters to power the consoles. Even if you have to control the AC connection Via a Relay that will work Nicely ! :)

**Entertainment System**

Great News that the Back of the System will face the Stairwell !

You can hide all the wiring back there and (almost) Never see it Again! I find it`s a great place to stick Wi-Fi gear too ! If you have that Option then just leave a 3-Inch space behind the Entertainment System so you can drop cables down to a hole in the base of the wall.

PS: may I suggest a Mini Fridge? >.>

fwonkas (author)  Wired_Mist2 years ago

Thanks for the info! Most of my consoles will need to be powered by AC, so maybe I should just go that route for all of them.

One more question — is the 18v spike limited to desktop PSUs? Is that an intentional things, and do other power supplies do this? Like, for example, an external hard drive's power supply?

And yeah, there will definitely have to be a mini fridge worked in somewhere.

Only with Switching power supplies. Check that back of a few you have kicking around !

ATX and most Wall-Warts (Including that hard drive adapter ) are switching power suplies. They simply have better efficiency then a Linear voltage regulator like the ones that you plan on using. A linear supply will give you a stable output at the cost of efficiency.

Be sure to use Any capacitors that the Regulator asks for! Even though they do regulate the voltage, there are still small variations (Ripples) You will get better performance with just a few simple to add components :)

I`d still use the ATX to have some extra current available for upgrades ! The Relays and 12V light strips can tolerate the voltage spike on there own btw Just don`t rapidly turn the on and off :)

jbaker222 years ago

How are you going to regulate the voltage? Not every console take 5.5v or 12v. Never buy a cheap PSU look at this forum.https://community.newegg.com/eggxpert/computer_hardware/f/135081/t/45344.aspx#Tier5

fwonkas (author)  jbaker222 years ago

Hi jbaker22 — thanks for the response!

I plan to use adjustable voltage regulators to supply the power to the various consoles. I figure I can have a 12v line that the regulators are all connected to. Those regulators will be configured to the appropriate voltage.