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dual power supply mod - a money-saving hack

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  • dual power supply mod - a money-saving hack

    i'm 110% certain i'm not the first person to think of this or post something about it online, but a few minutes of googling didn't turn up any step-by-step diagrams of this little process, so i figured i'd snap a few pictures and make a helpful how-to that others could use. if anyone has connections with the hackaday site, feel free to put it online there (someone in the past posted my beer can lockpicking shim guide to that site)

    many of us here on the forums are the type of individuals who have a desire for a high-grade server machine but not all of us have the budget which would allow for the purchase of proper rack system server components. a large allotment of disk drives in a tall tower case can do the trick if you need a ton of storage, but power consumption can become an issue when you add too many internal devices in a standard home computer. while large servers often support multiple power supplies, it's not a typical feature on the type of box you'd find available for the home user market. a simple hack job can allow you to craft such a solution, however, very cheaply.

    a long time ago, when i setup my first RAID box at home, i crafted a real simple dual power supply type arrangement. it involved just jamming an AT power supply inside of a tall ATX tower and running the power controls for this second unit up to a large switch that i installed in the front of the case. it worked, but it was clearly a 30-minute quick solution. when my array went down recently and i was spending time rebuilding the box, i decided to do things properly and actually put two interconnected ATX power supplies in the server.

    here is a step-by-step guide on how i did it

    it's hosted on my simple cable modem, like everything else i put online... so if you click to view any of the larger images expect a little lag.

    enjoy!
    Last edited by Deviant Ollam; June 7, 2006, 07:50.
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    It has been a while since I designed a power supply, and I can't seem to find the info online so...

    Is there any reason you can't wire the two power supplies in parallel to ensure some level of redundancy? You probably wouldn't want to start all those drives with one supply down, but, depending on your configuration, you can probably keep the system running on a single power supply for a short time.

    Something is itching in the back of my mind on why you can do this only with batteries, but I simply can't recall any details.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Voltage Spike
      Is there any reason you can't wire the two power supplies in parallel to ensure some level of redundancy?
      if the 20-pin wiring group did nothing but carry power to the motherboard then this might work. however, there are some wires which carry a sort of minimal control data (at least that's the case if i'm interpreting the standard ATX pinout diagram correctly). for example, standby voltage & sensing voltages... these are used (i assume) by the motherboard to judge the health of the power supply. if there is more than one signal on the wire, i do not know how that would be interpreted.

      of course, here at the school where i am for the day my office has an assload of old boxes, many of which are gutted of most of their components. i'm pretty sure i could test a motherboard with two power supplies. i'll just bridge the two together via each wire, then see if the computer still can start. if it runs, i'll see what happens when either of the power supplies gets its AC cord yanked out.
      Last edited by Deviant Ollam; June 7, 2006, 12:42.
      "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
      - Trent Reznor

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      • #4
        Dude... "Homebew" ;)

        Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
        it's hosted on my simple cable modem, like everything else i put online... so if you click to view any of the larger images expect a little lag.

        enjoy!
        Very cool, and thanks for posting this. I'm getting ready to rebuild & consolidate some hardware, and what to do with making everything work in the space available was becoming rather perplexing. This gives me some really good ideas to work with.

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