Step 3: Wires, Wires Everywhere

Picture of Wires, Wires Everywhere
You will be met with the daunting task of sorting through a hundred wires of different colors. The only colors we care about are Black, Red, Orange, Yellow and Green. Any other colors are superfluous and you can cut them at the circuit board.

The green wire is what tells the power supply to turn on from stand-by mode, we want to just solder it to a ground (black) wire. Put some heat shrink on this so it won't short out on anything else. This will tell the PSU to be constantly on without a computer.

Cut all of the other wires down to about a foot, and remove any zip-ties or cable organizers. You should have a forest of wires with no connectors.

The colors represent:

YELLOW = 12 Volts
RED = 5 Volts
ORANGE = 3.3 Volts
BLACK = Common Ground.

Now, theoretically, you could be done. Just hook the wires to 4 large alligator clips (one for each color set) or some other terminals. This might be handy if you're just going to be powering one thing, such as a ham radio, electric motor or lights.
altricious3 years ago
Depending on your PS, there may be "Power Sensing" wires that also need to be connected. You can tell because there will be two wires to a single terminal on the 2x10 or 2x12 plug. Mine had a brown wire that needed to be tied to the orange otherwise it would not run.


I was freaking out why my PSU was not working - especially since it was working before!

I had kept the connectors which I had cut off, and indeed the brown wire is tied to one of the orange wires.

FoxCantrell4 years ago
Ive got an Antec 350W power supply. I dont want to take it apart or cut wires in case i need it back (provided i ever wanna fix this old tower), would i be able to just make some jumper wires and run it that way? Also, its gonna run two 4" pioneers and a JVC head unit, Would it be ok to use?
Antec Model SP-350
In my supply i have my 5v+ and my 5v- as i want that, but it doesnt turn on, it did when i grounded the PS-ON, but then my circuit breaker blew, there is also a PG wire, what do i do
Taktar5 years ago
To summarize and add a little to what others have said: For a dell PSU: Grey == PC ON; Orange == Power GOOD; Blue/White == 3.3v the rest of the wires fit the standard afaik
Also on Dell power supply's the orange is about 3.3 or 3.5 something like that. Anyways, thanx for the tutorial, I have finnished my project on this and I think it turned out great. What I got out of the wires were: Yellow+Black= 11.something to 12 Volts. Red+Black= around 5 volts. Orange+Black= around 3.3 volts. I used what I had handy for terminals which worked out great. 4 Steel bolts were mounted to a empty pcb board and my 4 wires soldered to them. Then I had the nuts on the bolts which allows me to screw down wires to the terminals or easily use alligator clips. Also the two LED's are on a pcb board along with the resistors and the switch. This was also mouted outsied of the power supply covering the hole where all the wires once came out. Once again, thanks for this great project!! Also forgot to metion that a lot of people have to use a large 10Ohm 10Watt resistor, but the Dell powersupply I used did not need one and runs very smoothly. Everything I use on it also has not ever triggered the safety system on it causeing it shut down!
joinaqd5 years ago
thanks a bunch man...i just found an old PC today that didnt work, but the PSU was fine 
Thanks for this, it's inspired me to finish a job I've been considering - converting a small ATX power supply with a 12VDC input to provide 5VDC to my media player for use in the car.
Thav6 years ago
I would recommend bringing the power good wire (the green) out to a switch on the case instead of always being grounded. That way you have an easy way to disable the output power without shutting the whole power supply off.
tristantech6 years ago
Check the label on the power supply for the correct wire colors!! It may be different for your PSU! Also, you may find it useful to wire the other color wires to binding posts as they give you voltages like -5V or -12V; these may be useful for op-amp circuits.
richh107 years ago
If you are using a Dell PSU, the blue/white wires are 3.3V