Author Options:

Do ATX Power supplies convert AC to DC power? Answered

Hello all,

I am sure this is a silly question for the experienced, but seeing as I'm just starting to really get into this stuff, any help would be appreciated.

I am writing to get a bit of consensus to assure myself the a ATX power supply will convert AC power in to DC power out.  I would like to save myself the hassle of taking apart a computer if this is not the case.  In the event I'm wrong, what does convert AC to DC power?

Just to give you an idea of what I need this for, this power supply will be used to run the electrolytic etching process for use with copper in a copper sulfate bath.  I'll be using the etch process to etch through copper plates (saves a lot of money compared to ferric chloride)

The last question I had is if anyone knows how to discharge any residual energy within the ATX system.  I have an instructable on converting the ATX into a power supply, but I feel like I read the residual power in the system can be quite nasty if it shocks you, so I'd like to avoid that.  In fact, any suggestions would be welcomed.



just a quick tip, if you have an old power supply, you can leave it for a few weeks and the capacitors will be completely safe. Also, most instructables say you should add a 10w resistor in to keep the output on, although if you want to use it with something that draws a large amount of power, this is not necessary. You simply need to cut of ALLL the wires, except the AC in, fan, 2 grounds, the green wire going to the 24-pin botherboard connector, and a 12v. Solder the green to one of the grounds, and then you can use the +12 and ground as a mains-12vdc power supply. I managed to get around 8amps from mine, so be careful with the high current too.


7 years ago

The residual energy in an ATX power supply if dismantled could be dangerous- don't do that if you don't know plenty about capacitors, mains electricity and so on.

The residual power on the output lines will be harmless to you because it's only at a maximum of 12V, which can't really electrocute a human (as long as you don't lick it or anything like that).  Just unplug the power supply and connect as many colours of wire to as many others as you can, that should drain any residual energy.  

See C'dad's suggestion to find out more about how to turn them into DC power supplies (yes to your original question, they do output DC).

Thank you for your advice. Another option came to mind- would a brand new ATX power supply have the residual energy in the capacitators and such? I would be willing to spend the $15 dollars for new ATX if it would give me the piece of mind to know I wouldn't have a run in with Mr. Shock.

A quick search on "power supply" brings up the instructables on converting a computer power supply to a bench top power source. Read through a few. Good luck.