If there’s one thing that for decades of desktop PCs have given us, it’s a seemingly endless supply of relatively capable power supplies. If you need 5 volts or 12 volts at a respectable current they’re extremely useful, so quite a few people have used them as bench power supplies. Some of these builds box up the mess of wires into a set of more useful connectors, but [Joao Pinheiro] has taken his to the next level with a very neat 3D printed case and a set of variable switching regulators to make a variable bench supply with a top voltage of 60 volts.
In many ways it’s a straightforward wiring job to build, but there’s an unexpected power resistor involved. It’s sinking the 5 volt line, and we’re guessing that some current is required here for the PC power supply to run reliably. The thought of a high power resistor dumping heat into a 3D printed case leads us to expect that things might become a little melty though.
ATX power supplies are so numerous as to be expendable, so it’s always worth regarding them as a source of parts as well as a power supply.
Let’s be real, yanking the ATX power supply out of an old desktop computer and turning it into something you can use on the workbench isn’t exactly an advanced project. In fact, you could probably argue it’s one of the first DIY builds a budding electronic hobbyist should tackle — after all, you’re going to need a reliable bench supply if you want to do any serious work anyway.
But of course, there’s a big difference between doing the minimum and really giving something your all, and we think this ATX bench supply from [Steve Thone] of The Neverending Projects List is a phenomenal example of the latter. It not only looks impressive, but it’s been tricked out with plenty of bells and whistles to make it as capable as possible. What was once a basic 230 watt PSU pulled from an old Dell is now a piece of gear that any hacker or maker would love to have in their collection. Continue reading “A Particularly Polished ATX Bench Power Supply”
As one becomes more and more involved in hobbies that involve electronics of almost any kind, it becomes necessary to graduate from wall warts and USB power breakout boards and move up to something more substantial. One great way to do this is to repurpose an old computer PSU, and that’s exactly what the excellent writeup by [Mukesh Sankhla] shows us how to do.
Starting with an ATX power supply from a derelict computer that was otherwise heading to to the bin, [Mukesh] walks us through the teardown of the power supply as well as how we can rebuild it in a snazzy 3d printed case complete with a voltage readout.
Now it’s easy to say “Sure, this is just another ATX PSU project” but the care that went into making a nice case adds a lot to build. There’s another element that is extremely important: The power resistor across the 5 Volt power bus. There are cheap kits online that will break out an ATX PSU into banana plugs, but they omit this vital piece. Depending on the ATX power supply being used, they may be unstable without the load.
The project also leaves a lot of room for adding your own hacks such as variable voltage and current limiting. We think this PSU would be a great (and great looking) addition to any hacker’s workbench. If ATX Power Supply get your electrons flowing, check out this entire computer built into a gutted ATX PSU.
[NixieGuy] was scheming to build robots with cable-driven joints when the pandemic hit. Now that component sourcing is scarce, he’s had to get creative when it comes to continuous cables. These cables need to be as seamless as possible to avoid getting caught on the pulleys, so [Nixie] came up with a way to weld together something he already has on hand — lengths of .45mm steel cable.
The 3D printed jig is designed to be used under a digital microscope, and even clamps to the pillar with screws. Another set of screws holds the two wires in place while they are butt welded between two pieces of copper.
[Nixie] adds a spot of solder paste for good measure, and then joins the wires by attaching his bench power supply set to 20V @ 3.5A to the copper electrodes. We love that [Nixie] took the time to streamline the jig design, because it looks great.
This just goes to show you that great things can happen with limited resources and a little bit of imagination. [Nixie] not only solved his own supply chain problem, he perfected a skill at the same time. If you don’t have a bench supply, you might be able to get away with a battery-powered spot welder, depending on your application.
A bench power supply is one of those things that every hacker needs, and as the name implies, it’s intended to occupy a place of honor on your workbench. But with the addition of USB-C support to his DPH5005 bench supply, [Dennis Schneider] is ready to take his on the road should the need ever arise.
The build started with one of the common DPH5005 bench power supply kits, which [Dennis] says he was fairly happy with aside from a few issues which he details in the post on his blog. Even if you aren’t looking to modify your own kit with the latest and greatest in the world of Universal Serial Bus technology, it’s interesting to read his thoughts on the power supply kit if you’ve been considering picking one up yourself.
Under normal circumstances you are supposed to give the DPH5005 DC power via the terminals on the back panel of the supply, which in turn is regulated and adjusted via the front panel controls. To add support for USB-C, all [Dennis] had to do was install a USB-PD trigger module configured to negotiate 20 VDC in the back of the case and connect it to the DC input. To hold it in place while isolating it from the metal case, he used a piece of scrap PCB carefully cut and wrapped in Kapton tape.
This actually isn’t the first portable bench power supply we’ve seen. Last year we saw one that got its input power from Makita portable tool batteries, but we think all things considered, the USB-C option is probably a bit more convenient.
We’re not sure why we’ve got a thing for DIN-rail mounted projects, but we do. Perhaps it’s because we’ve seen so many cool industrial control cabinets, or maybe the forced neatness of DIN-mounted components resonates on some deep level. Whatever it is, if it’s DIN-rail mounted, chances are good that we’ll like it.
Take this DIN-mounted bench power supply, for instance. On the face of it, [TD-er]’s project is yet another bench supply built around those ubiquitous DPS switching power supply modules, the ones with the colorful displays. Simply throwing one of those in a DIN-mount enclosure isn’t much to write home about, but there’s more to this project than that. [TD-er] needed some fixed voltages in addition to the adjustable output, so a multi-voltage DC-DC converter board was included inside the case as well. The supply has 3.3, 5, and 12 volt fixed outputs along with the adjustable supply, and thanks to an enclosed Bluetooth module, the whole thing can be controlled from his phone. Plus it fits nicely in a compact work area, which is a nice feature.
We haven’t seen a lot of DIN-rail love around these pages — just this recent rotary phase converter with very tidy DIN-mounted controls. That’s a shame, we’d love to see more.
[Sverd Industries] have created a pretty cool bench power supply integrating soldering helping hands into the build. This helps free up some much-needed bench space along with adding that wow factor and having something that looks unique.
The build is made from a custom 3D printed enclosure (Thingiverse files here), however if you have no access to a 3D printer you could always just re-purpose or roll your own instrument enclosure. Once the enclosure is taken care of, they go on to install the electronics. These are pretty basic, using a laptop PSU with its output attached to the input of a boost/buck module. They did have to change the potentiometers from those small PCB mounted pots to full size ones of the same value though. From there they attach 4 mm banana sockets to the output along with a cheap voltmeter/ammeter LCD module. Another buck converter is attached to the laptop PSU’s output to provide 5 V for a USB socket, along with a power switch for the whole system.
Where this project really shines is the integrated helping hands. These are made from CNC cooling tubes with alligator clips super glued to the end, then heat shrink tubing is placed over the jaws to stop any accidental short circuiting while using them.
This isn’t a life changing hack but it is quite a clever idea if space is a hot commodity where you do your tinkering, plus a DIY bench power supply is almost a rite of passage for the budding hacker.
Continue reading “Give Your Bench Power Supply A Helping Hand”