The power supply is the lifeblood of your computer system. It provides constant and regulated voltage to power the computer components. Some voltages used by these components are very small, and even slight fluctuations can cause the component to “act up” resulting in computer lock ups, re-boots, and shut downs. Indeed, components subjected to continued fluctuations and under voltages can cause permanent and fatal damage to them. The computer power supply’s problems are typically due to aging electrolytic capacitors. The capacitor’s job is to filter the voltage and provide a type of reservoir, or storage of charge to ensure a constant and ripple free output voltage. With usage and age, these capacitors are no longer able to perform their function. There is a reduction of about 10% over a 3-year period. That is why the power supply should be changed.
Reusing Old Computer Power Supplies Supports a Green Life style
Just because the power supply is no longer up to the task of supplying power to your computer, does not mean that it is no longer useful. Power supplies, made for, and used in earlier computers had physical switches on them to turn the power supply on/off. However, today’s models are equipped with a “soft off” function that is controlled by the computer. Yes, there is a switch on the backside of the power supply, but once the supply is removed from the computer, that switch will not control whether voltage is present on the output wires. All you need to do is place a jumper between the PS_ON (power supply on) wire and GND (ground). The power supply on wire is a skinny green one; typically pin # 14 on the large 20-pin connector. Conveniently located on either side of the green, power supply on wire, are black ground wires. Simply take a paperclip, cut a piece off it, bend it into a “U”. Insert one end into the green wire pin, and the other into the black wire pin. Now when you use the switch on the back of the supply, it will tune it on/off. Red wires are +5volts, Yellow wires are +12volts, Orange wires are +3.3volts, and black wires are ground. The connectors that were plugged into the drive(s) contains both +5volt and +12volt wires, and 2 ground wires. Just cut off the connector, add whatever type connector you need, and you are good to go. Additionally, the small 6-pin connector contains 2 +3.3volt wires, one +5volt wire, and 3 ground wires.
What can you do with the Power Supply?
• If you have a child that likes tinkering with electronics, it would make a great, regulated power supply for use in projects.
• The +3.3volt power can be used to power any device that normally takes two (2) of the following; AA cells, C cells, and D cells. Just think about it, no more batteries to buy. Moreover, you will not need to buy that expensive AC power adapted any longer.
• The +12volt supply is useful for operating devices normally plugged into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter, like portable (food and beverage) coolers. Additionally, you can charge cell phones, play video games, and use whatever other type of equipment you can plug into a cigarette lighter.
• The +12volt supply can also be used to power up and old car stereo. This is another great way to recycle your electronics. Most of the time, vehicle stereos are replaced because someone fell in love with a newer one. Well, that old one still works well, so use it indoors. This is an inexpensive way to give junior their first stereo system without spending much.
Reusing an old computer power supply is another way to live a green life. It may not look pretty, but if you are a handy wood worker, you can make a nice enclosure to put it in. Have fun.