Step 3: Power!

I am not going to go into this too deeply, as a bunch of instructables describe building lab power supplies from computer power supplies all ready.  But here is a basic run down.  One more thing, be very careful, there is enough residual juice in this things capacitors to fry you!!!!
  1. Find your smallest power supply you can use, as your space is limited.  In the first pic the one on the left is from a dell, "pain in the ass to work with anyway".  The non descript one on the left is smaller, that's what we want.  This one drove a mechanical fish robot for a month at our local museum, a couple LEDs will be no problem.
  2. I wanted the guts exposed so for this one I'm taking the cover off, and removing some of the side metal to increase my clearance.
  3. The fan I later replaced for a smaller one as this one was wider the the 2x4
  4. The wires we are concerned about keeping are the yellow ones - 12V, the black ones - ground, 1 red wire - 5V, One green wire - for the on switch and the fan wires of course.
  5. I divided the yellow wires into 5 bunches, as I will have 5 rows of led pods.  I also separated the ground wires, 5 for the pod rows, and one for the green and red wire.
  6. The green and black wire are hooked up to the SPST switch, this turns the unit on and off
  7. The red and black 5V wire goes to the 12V DC  automotive light bulb - this acts as a heavy resistor to provide a small load for the power supply.
  8. The remaining yellow 12V wires and ground wires I tied off and readied to be attached to the LEDs.  All other wires were trimmed short, soldered and capped with electrical tape.

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Bio: See some of my work here and as always accepting orders for custom design and fabrication as featured on Discovery Channel, Wired Magazine, Gizmodo, Engadget ... More »
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