Step 4: Connecting front-panel items

Here, I am connecting the appropriate wires to the binding posts, power switch, fuse holder, and LED's.

In an ATX power supply, there should be a wire that is used to turn on the power supply. You can see this wire (It's green) in the second picture; it is the green wire in the middle, where it says "ON/OFF" on the PCB. I connected this to the switch, and the other pole of the switch went to ground. The +5, +12, and -12 are connected right to their wires on the PCB. The ground wire is connected through the fuse holder before the binding post.

Initially, I was going to use green LED's, but I realized I had many more red LED's than green LED's, so I switched them over to reds. In the first picture, you can see the holders I installed into the front. I connected the LED's through a common resistor to ground. The LED on the left (from the front view) is a standby LED. It is lit whenever I have the power supply plugged into the wall. It is connected to the +5V standby wire on the PCB. In my PS, it's purple. The other LED is the "Power On" LED, and it is lit when I have the power supply turned on. It's connected to the "Power OK" signal wire, which goes to +5V when the power supply detects that it has stabilized the voltages. In my PS, it's the gray wire.
<p>Just an idea, but if you need a load to draw a small current on each voltage rail, could you not use an LED and an appropriate resistor to drop the voltage instead of these power resistors? It would act as a status light to prove each voltage rail is powered up. </p><p>Or would it not work due to the current being too low?</p>
A &quot;power good&quot; status LED for each voltage rail is an excellent idea in and of itself, and they might even draw enough current. The whole &quot;small minimum load&quot; stuff is really black magic, nobody really knows anything except &quot;this worked for my power supply&quot;, and really takes a bit of experimentation with your specific power supply in your specific use case. Some people use their PSU as a battery charger, so there is always a large load and no power resistor is needed. Most LEDs only draw a max of a few dozen milliamps, so that might not be be enough current draw to keep the mystery &quot;minimum load&quot; circuits happy :-) Good luck!
<p>Is a 10 Ohm 10W Resistor really needed ? </p><p>And what fuse have u used and why ?</p>
Some power supplies won't run if there is nothing connected, and need a minimum small load to keep it from doing an auto-shutdown. It really depends on your specific power supply, so you must do some experiments to determine what your power supply needs. If you will always have some load connected, then you don't need the power resistor.<br><br>This original design used a single fuse on the ground wire, but that is a really bad idea. The better way is to put no fuse on the ground wire, and put a fuse on each non-ground wire (like 5v and 12v). I would use a fuse that can handle just a bit more current than you expect to use in your project. This way if something goes wrong and your project starts to draw much more current, the fuse will blow and prevent a fire or other dangerous situation.
<p>maybe a stupid question, but wouldn't it be sufficient to use the cooler fan for the required minimum load? </p><p>Nice project though!</p>
Thanks gungajin, that's a good suggestion. There are a million different power supplies out there, and many require a minimum load separate from the case fan, and many don't require an additional load. Your mileage may vary, and these things require a little experimentation to see what it needs. Good luck!
<p>this guide has been really helpful to me as I work on my own PSU. I found this handy wire color and purpose chart, hope it helps. Heres the link to it http://www.instructables.com/id/A-Makers-Guide-to-ATX-Power-Supplies/?ALLSTEPS</p><p></p>
<p>I love this project. I have everything connected but I can only get it running if I turn on and off the switch quickly many times. It is the only way I can get it running. Any Idea why this happens?</p>
<p>Hook the load up and then turn it on. Mine stays on just fine with a load on it, but shuts off after a few minutes if I remove it. </p>
<p>Great idea. I'm building mine now. Going to one thing a bit different though since I also work on computers. I'm leaving the computer wires on the supply intact so I can use it on a motherboard or use the terminals installed on it for running my ham radios, testing things, etc. Be even more useful that way. The one I'm working with puts out 12 volts at about 17 amps. That such power an Icom IC 735 ham rig just great!</p>
<p>Thank u for this =)</p><p>One question...</p><p>Can I add a regulator on the 12v? and connect a voltmeter? So I can change between 1-12v? Please let me know :) And maybe give me a link to a regulator =)</p>
You can definitely use a regulator to convert the 12v down to a lower voltage.<br><br>The LM317 is a popular adjustable voltage regulator, but the max output voltage is about 2 volts less than the input voltage, so you'd be limited to 0-10 volts. There maybe other types of regulators that have a smaller &quot;dropout&quot; voltage. This is a &quot;linear&quot; regulator, meaning it burns excess power as heat, equal to the current * (Vin - Vout), which can waste a lot of power. Maybe you do or do not care about that, but you might need a heatsink.<br><br>There are also switch-mode buck converters that don't waste as much power, since they are more efficient.<br><br>Good luck!
<p>I have to turn it on and of 4 times and quikly to make it run, but hey, it is working!</p>
<p>I connected PSU's green wire with black (ground) wire, but not with the gray wire. Should that make any problems or is it OK?</p>
The gray wire is only used to indicate if the power supply is turned on, so you don't need to do anything to it if you don't want to have an LED indicate when the power supply is turned on.
<p>Sorry, I forgot to write that I have already put LED, resistor and switch between green and black wire. When I pull the switch, the LED indicates that PSU is turned on and the fan in PSU starts spinning. Aparently, the LED indicates that PSU is turned on altough it's not connected with the gray wire.</p><p>BTW This instructable is great! :)</p>
<p>so if i use one wire from each source I can make 11 outlets on a box?? I know I couldn't USE all 11 at once, but I could use three or four as long as it didn't exceed psu amp capacity, yes??</p>
<p>Wire everything in parallel and you could have a thousand outputs on a box, provided that the total current load doesn't exceed the psu specs. You don't necessarily need to use the wires the box comes with. For instance, the molex connectors for the hard drives, floppy, optical drives etc. are daisy chained together in parallel, with more than one output on a single 5v or 12v wire. You can always extend that.<br><br>If you plan on using higher amperage, e.g. to power a car amplifier, it's better to wire all the outputs of same voltage into a single output. This mimics the effect of a thicker gauge wire, and eases the load on the psu.</p>
<p>Just a note to let you know I have added this instructable to the collection: <br>Encyclopedia of ATX to Bench Power Supply Conversion <br>&gt;&gt; <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Encyclopedia-of-ATX-to-Bench-Power-Supply-Conversi/" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Encyclopedia-of-ATX-to-Bench-Power-Supply-Conversi/</a><br>Take a look at about 70 different approaches to this project.</p><p>As far as I can tell you are the first to start this madness on instructables, congrats.<br> </p>
Hi Russ, thanks for the note. That was a great idea to collect all the different approaches to this project!
<p>nice work...</p><p>I found that my power supply did not follow the standard colour coding.</p><p>i was able to look at the original ATC motoerboard connectors and the table at <a href="http://pinouts.ru/Power/atxpower_pinout.shtml" rel="nofollow">http://pinouts.ru/Power/atxpower_pinout.shtml</a> and found that the purple, blue and white were non-standard on mine. double check with a meter before trusting the colours.</p>
I need 13.6v @0.6amp from 12v rails and +5v @1.5 amp from a pc smps for my project. Please help me here. Do I need to add few turns of winding to 12v coil with additional rectifier with 12v as it is (for sensing)? Or by connrcting some dummy load to 5v, can increase voltage from 12v? So that I can get desired voltage?
5v@1.5A should be no problem for any ATX PSU. Getting 13.6 volts will be more tricky, and I would not personally mess around with anything inside the power supply. I would suggest buying a 16-20 volt power supply (you may even have one already as a wall-wart AC-DC adapter) and then add an output regulator to get the 13.6v you need. Since it's only 0.6 amps, even an inefficient linear regulator should work, such as the LM317. Good luck!
I have 20 pin ATX supply and I need 12 volts and at least 50 amperes from it for my experiment. So can a connect all yellow wires of my supply(12volts, 16amp each) to make a single 12 volt, 50 amp power supply? I have a total of 5 yellow wires in my supply...
I don't think the 16A rating is for each wire...Even though you likely have many red 5v wires, the current rating on the label isn't for each wire, but for 5v overall. Most newer ATX power supplies have two or more separate 12v supplies, which complicates things to the point where I am not sure if you can just connect all the wires together like that and expect it to work. If you need a single voltage, high-current like that, I would suggest searching for a dedicated 12v power supply, instead of trying to rig up something this way. Good luck.
Still experimenting if it works correctly or not then i'll add switches and variable dc converters.<br>The problem is after i plug it it wont start working for another 10/15 seconds and when it starts the voltages are rather high 12-14;5-6;3-3,8<br>Is it because of the missing ressistor?
I have heard that if your voltages are rather high, that that is due to having zero or very little load on those voltages, and that if you add a proper load that they will drop down to the correct voltages right away. A switching power supply is sort of like trying to keep an air-filled balloon at a certain height above the ground by bumping it upwards periodically. If there is very little gravity (very little load) the balloon (voltage) doesn't go down very quickly, and even the smallest bump upwards will tend to overshoot the desired height (output voltage). Also, I think the specification is actually for 3,3 volts, not 3,0 volts, but still 3,8 volts is too high.<br><br>I'm not sure what is causing the start-up delay. You have tied the green wire (PS On) to a black wire (GND)? You might try adding a resistor load to the 5v or 12v wires.
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<p>I'm having a problem with one. I have the brown connected to the orange as it was in the plug, and the resistor on the red and grnd as it should be. But when I try to fire it up it will only spin the fan for a second and then quit. It won't stay running. Any suggestions? Much appreciated.</p>
What do you mean by &quot;the brown connected to the orange&quot;?<br><br>Perhaps try moving the power resistor to a different voltage rail, such as 12v or 3.3v? Maybe your particular power supply needs the minimum load on a different voltage line? Or it needs a minimum load on two or more of the voltage lines? I've never seen any specifications for this sort of thing, so you might need to experiment with your power supply. Let us know if you figure out what's going on.
<p>There was a brown wire piggybacked onto an orange in the 20 pin plug so I after removing the plug I tied the brown wire to an orange. Also, I've tried the resistor on the 3.3v, the 12v, and the 5 volt. Also tried two resistors. One on 3.3v and one on the 5v at the same time. I've set this one aside for now pending a solution. If I can figure it out I'll post my results.</p><p>Thanx!</p>
Did you use 3 fuses as you have shown in the schematic because I can only see 1 fuse on pictures
Yes, sorry for the confusion. When I originally created this project and instructable (and took the photos) I only had one fuse, and it was on the ground wire. After that, I learned more about best practices and a lot of people suggested that it's a bad idea to fuse the ground wire, as you always want that one connected. Instead, it's better to put individual fuses on each power rail. I updated the schematic to show a fuse on each power rail, but I haven't rebuilt my power supply.
<p>Thank you for your reply. I really needed that to finish building this power supply, as it will be only power supply as the &quot;lap power supplies&quot; are much more expensive. :</p>
Will a 10W 100Ohm Resistor work as the power resistor ? <br>When I use the 10W100Ohm Resistor and connect the green line with the black line, Some noise comes for a second and then stops .. Sometimes the noise comes for 5 seconds and then the Fan starts but then immediately stops ! .. Is there something wrong with the Power Supply I am using or is it the resistor ?
Hi! Somewhat counter-intuitively, the larger the resistance you have, the less current it was draw from the power supply. A 10 ohm resistor will draw 500 milliamps (mA), a 100 ohm resistor will draw 50 mA, and a 1000 ohm resistor will draw 5 mA. Presumably there's some minimum current draw that your power supply requires on the 5v line (and maybe the 3.3v line too?) and if you don't draw enough current (resistor is too large) then it won't stay on. <br> <br>It really sounds like the behavior you describe is due to insufficient load current, or perhaps some other problem. I would try a power resistor with a smaller resistance value to try and draw more current. You could try connecting two of your 10W 100 ohm resistors in parallel, producing an equivalent resistor of 20W 50 ohms that will draw 100 mA, and dissipate P = V * I = 5 * 0.1 = 0.5 watts shared across both power resistors. Good luck!
<p>I always wondered why all tutorials use or suggest to use specifically a 10 Watt 10 Ohm resistor for dummy load. In high school I was taught: P=V*I =&gt; P=V*V/R<br>In this case: P= 5*5/10 = 2.5 Watts So I always wondered, why use a 10 Watt resistor instead of 5 Watt. Even considering possible spikes the resistor wouldn't be damaged. A constant load that produces 5 Watts of heat or more would be necessary to damage it.</p>
Yep, only 2.5W burned at 5v. I would guess that 10W 10Ohm resistors are more standard and easier to find, if you can find a power resistor at all. They are not used for many applications and can be difficult to find.
<p>[head-bulb.jpg]</p><p>What about use a incandescent bulb instead? Maybe hader to find soon becouse of led lamps tough.</p>
<p>Car light bulbs (back up/brake/dome, etc) are incandescent, durable, and run at ~12v. They also put off significantly less heat (less power waste) than that fat resistor.</p>
<p>As far as I know, the whole point of the constant minimum load is to always draw a small amount of current from the PSU to keep it from turning itself off. If the PSU requires at least, say, 500 mA current draw at 5v to keep it running, then it doesn't really matter whether you dump that power into a resistor as heat, or an incandescent bulb as a little bit of light and the rest as heat.</p><p>The real question is to figure out how much minimum current draw is needed on one or more of the power supply rails. I've never seen any definitive &quot;minimum load&quot; data, and for a hobbyist level project like this, the power resistor(s) aspect is much more of a &quot;try things until it works reliably&quot; process than anything else :-) Maybe there are some power supply datasheets we could check? I'm not really sure, but that would be useful.</p>
<p>Extraneous heat matters to the components inside of an enclosure. I realize we can use cooling fans to expel it, etc., which is using more energy to expel wasted energy (and another noisy fan harshing my zen-like bench experience). Using an external incandescent &quot;Power On&quot; indicator as a load seems appealing to both heat management as well as my tree-hugging sensibilities. ;) <br><br>I agree that &quot;minimum current&quot; data would be useful.</p>
<p>I made this for the Re-Mix contest and am very pleased with the results. Thanks for the inspiration Matthew!</p>
<p>hi friend</p><p> Currently I'm working with some dc motors and i need negative voltage with high current, but when I connect the GND of the &quot;power supply 1&quot; to the 12V of the &quot;power supply 2&quot;, to use the GND of &quot;power supply 2&quot; as -12V, i have a short circuit, and therefore the &quot;power supply 2&quot; is switched off. Is there some way to get -12V with high current?</p><p>thanks</p>
Most likely your power supplies are connecting GND to the AC earth ground (ground plug on your AC outlet), which produces a short from 12V to earth ground on PS2.<br><br>Why do you need negative voltage? Most applications don't need negative voltage. If you are driving DC motors, you should be using an H-bridge circuit in order to drive the motors in either direction, without needing to use negative voltage. More details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-bridge<br><br>There are a lot of different H-bridge chips that are really easy to work with. Which chip to select depends primarily on how much current your motor needs, and what voltage (6v? 12v? 24v?).

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