ATX Power Supply - the Elegant Way to Adapt to Benchtop Use...

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Introduction: ATX Power Supply - the Elegant Way to Adapt to Benchtop Use...

 If you want to use an ATX power supply as a benchtop unit, without hacking it to pieces or risking fire and electrocution, then this approach is definitely for you. 

NEWS: due to increasing inquiries I have made this item in to a complete kit. Let me know if you or your college / lab are interested. Full schematics BOM and assembly docs are provided too. 


Step 1: Acquire the ATX PSU Benchtop Adapter PCB

 This PCB has been specifically designed for this purpose, and is layed out for access to all the ATX supply votlage rails, even the standby supply and the "power good" signal. This PCB can be acquired from http://www.jordandsp.com/index.php?p=1_2_Projects. Since there was enough interest in using it, I had quite a few manufactured to get the price down.



Step 2: Get a Handful of Cheap Parts to Solder on to the PCB

 I found the parts were easiest to get all of them from Jameco Electronics: www.jameco.com - but you could get them from Digi-Key, Newark or Mouser. I'm not sure who else stocks the Molex connector used for ATX motherboards, but Jameco have them at a low price.

You can see on the final step images the 4049 hex inverter, four resistors and several capacitors are on the front side of the board. On the back here you can see the binding posts just poke through their respective holes and you tighten up the nuts on the back, giving good electrical and mechanical connection. 

The Molex-style connector (ATX header) is mounted on the BACK of the PCB. The new (black) version of the PCB is keyed with the connector so you can't install it the wrong way. PAY ATTENTION - There is in fact a silk-screen on the bottom of the PCB as a guide. Once you are ABSOLUTELY SURE you have it in the right position (as shown here), solder it in place from the FRONT SIDE of the PCB.

Before you solder any other parts on the board, you may wish to enhance the current-carrying capacity of the main voltage rails - you can do this by adding solder to them where there is an opening in the solder mask which you can see in this picture. This is optional - or course.

Step 3: Connect Your ATX Supply and Try It Out!

 Simple as that! No drilling, metalwork, etc. and best of all you have access to ALL the supply's outputs. 

The binding posts are also banana sockets as you can see here, so they fit in well with a breadboarding setup and other lab gear, like my Metex meter in the background :-)

Now optionally, you can mount this in a box using the four holes market MNT1 to MNT4, but the binding posts I used have a front panel mounting nut as well - visible in this photo - which stands away from the front of the PCB. Since there are ten of them, they will provide a very strong mounting mechanism (when I get around to mounting this in a box that is!).

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    36 Comments

    What is the function of the IC on the PCB? Could you provide a schematic of the circuit?

    An old Instructables, but I want to order a kit,

    are they still available?

    How is this an instructable? It is an advertisement at best!

    1. Get power supply? 2. BUY MY BOARD AND SOLDER PARTS ON IT?

    3. Plug it in and use it?

    No schematic, no theory, no nothing......

    Reminds me of how many licks it takes to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop.

    I still can't access the URL listed. I just see an error that looks like PHP needs configured. I'd really like to order a kit.

    Anyway, I have another question.

    What about the load resistor on the 5v rail that many PSU's require to start up?

    Usually a 10 (or better 33) ohm 10 watt brick resistor. Does this board do something to eliminate that need or do you have to provide that load when you use the PSU?

    Thanks for such a great item

    Got mine Today 12/2/14 and it looks awesome.

    cheers Mate

    The site to order the PCB appears to be down right now. I know this was posted a while back so I'm interested in knowing if they are still available and from what URL?

    You just made my life a lot easier

    i have order the kit... cannot wait to get it. well done....

    1 reply

    Glad to hear it! : have packed it ready to ship to you - it will be picked up by USPS tomorrow.

    Thanks and enjoy!

    I wish I had seen this BEFORE I cut all the wires in my spare PSU...lol...well I can try the other way and if it fries...PSU's are cheap lol.

    Nice little build.
    Does anyone know if there's a box that fits the construction, I'd hate to accidentally short something because of the exposed metal, accidentally nudging it into the PSU for example.

    I got mine and put it together yesterday, and it works MUCH better than just shoving wires in the connectors. However, when I reinforced the 12 and 5v traces with solder (those are what I plan on using heavily), there was a tiny error in the solder mask exposing a sliver of ground plane next to the 12v line. This shut my ATX down initially, but I eventually removed enough solder to where the current blew the short out with a nice pop, after which it worked perfectly. Has anyone else had this happen?

    1 reply

    Thanks for the comment!

    I have noticed since you mentioned it that the mask registration is not perfect on a few of the boards I had made. I'll feed this information back to the fabricator and hopefully the next batch will be of a higher standard.

    HI!
    I am new in electronic engineering and wanted a lab power supply will you please tell me that how Can we add a potetiometer(voltage regulator),rheostat, voltmeter and ammeter to calculate and vary voltage and current?
    Thanks

    Can i ask where you got the banana posts?

    They seem quite expensive on electronics websites (digikey, mouser, jameco)
    Ebay has 5 (5 different colors) for 5.30$, i wouldn't expect these to be so expensive...

    5 replies

    I have solved the banana post problem. Yes you are right in small quantities banana posts are quite expensive.

    So... after getting lots of PCBs made, I also went ahead and bought enough parts - banana posts included, (the color coded ones as shown) - to populate them all.

    So now I can provide a complete kit for you. This kit with the board and all the parts is cheaper than if you went to Jameco or others and bought them all.

    Oh, thats cool! i have put all my electronic projects on hold because of college and work, but i ended up getting, i think, 12 banana posts for 10$ off ebay.

    Out of curiosity how much are you selling the complete kit for?

    I have put together complete kits for $30USD plus shipping. I will offer discounts for bulk orders (i.e. school labs).

    I went to your website but there's no where to order one. Can you point me to the right direction to where i can acquire one? Thanks.

    Please contact me through the inquiry form and I'll get you the details. Or you could email me direct - ben#jordandsp%com where # = @ and % = . (please forgive the necessary anti-spam obfuscation)