SFF Computers

This rant is so right. SFF computers with power bricks suck. Power bricks seem to expire a lot quicker than traditional power supplies with fans. At work I burn through two or three a year on laptops and external cases. What the hell?

In the 80s, you could get cases with built-in power supplies, and they'd last for years. There'd be a little fan on the PS, and usually, after 5 years or so the fan would crap out. Then you'd replace the fan, and the PS would fail between 5 and 10 years. These were the okay ones - some really nice devices seemed to run eternally. Today, you get a power adapter, and it burns out in a couple years.

I'm wondering if anyone's been using PC power supplies to power external devices. I imagine it involves fooling the PC PSU to believe a mobo is asking for power, and then making sure things are turned on and loaded so the PSU doesn't burn out. A little 150W unit should handle two or three external enclosures and devices. The NASs seem to come with 40 watt adapters. Devices are mostly 1 amp or below, meaning what? 12 watts?

A lot of devices seem to use 4-pin DINs that have +12 and +5 volts, just like the computer PSUs have.

Laptops often use 19V power (at 3.4 amps = 60 watts). There's no 19 volts on a PC PSU, but there are -12V and +12V, and maybe that can be run through a power regulator to get 19V.

An option is to use a car laptop adapter to raise the voltage. Whatever the case, it sucks raising DC voltages - it's expensive to do. Better to just turn 110VAC to 19VDC.

Here's a howtow about making a lab supply from a PSU