Recycling ATX power supply

20160127_114432Old computers have hidden powers that might help makers to do some electronics projects, I finally did it after months of fears of it’s dangerous power. I already felt it’s electrifying shock when I touched repair our desktop PC many times. But, I need some energy and save some money from buying power adapters so I can buy things for more electronics kits and modules. Recent ATX power supply gives 500 watts to 600 watts of power, switching power supply with 12 volts, 5 volts, and 3.3 volts, some have -12 volts and -5 volts for older pentium 2 PC.

All wires are color coded and can be mixed with same color so you can have more current ranging from 20 to 40 amps! 5 volts have the highest amps that can be drawn, while 12 volts have the lowest with below 16 amps. Tutorials around the the internet is easy to understand and follow, but be very careful of it’s shock so better do it with care.

The color coded wire that can be used to give power to our electronics projects are Yellow for 12 volts, Red for 5 volts, Orange for 3.3 volts and the black wires for 0 volt or ground. The other color is green wire for power on to start-up which connected directly to black wire or you can use a switch like what I did. The gray wire is just a reminder that all 3 voltages are up and ready to use by using a led (blue in pictures) any color you may like, and the (optional) purple wire (red led) is for standby mode which detects if the ATX is connected to AC power outlet. In case if there is a brown wire exists near the orange wire just connect them together so the 3.3 volt will be stable.

Another important thing to do is the load, they say that switching power supplies needs a load of any kind that eats up current so that all voltage output should be stable. I used a 1 watt LED with 2 watts resistors in parallel instead of ceramic resistors which I do not have right now. Just connect the LED to one 5 volts wire and ground, just experiment and see if the voltages output are stable enough to give the desired voltage.

Right now, I am powering the beaglebone black with it, and I still need to buy plugs and connectors to safely guarded the this little box. Pretty sure it can power up a LED strip for night lights, arduino, motors, and battery charger like Imax B6.

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