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Modular Power Supply – How To

 

Article Written by

 

Jessica “JessAlba452” Sheen

 

02/04/05

 

 ---

   Before starting is a warning that this guide is to only be completed if you have knowledge of working with electricity, and how harmful it could be if done incorrectly. Do not touch capacitors, or heatsinks inside the power supply. Make sure power supply is out of the case, and unplugged before working. As always, use common sense!

 

   Please review a power supply sleeving guide before attempting this.

---

 

   You’ve probably heard of the popular Ultra X-Connect power supply, or even the Antec NeoPower. What do those two power supplies have in common? They’re modular. The reason as to why they were made this way was to reduce the number of cables and clutter on the inside of your case. In this guide I will be instructing you on how to make your very own modular power supply like the one below.

 

 

 

 

Materials List –

 

 

Here is where I’ll cover all materials needed before you can start. Most of these items can be picked up at online retailers or electronic shops. I will list most of the stores where I picked up my tools so you won’t have to guess. ALL materials in total will cost anywhere from $250 to $20 depending on how many of these you already own.

 

Materials:

·        Molex Remover Tool (Xoxide.com)

·        ATX 20Pin Remover Tool (Xoxide.com)

·        Wire Stripper

·        Pin Crimper (RadioShack)

·        Wire Cutter (RadioShack)

·        Male Molex Pins (PerformancePCs.com)

·        Female Molex Pins (PerformancePCs.com)

·        Case Arts Connector Change Over Kit (Xoxide.com)

·        Sleeving Kit (Xoxide.com)

·        Dremel Multi-Pro

·        Fiberglass Reinforced Cutoff Wheel

·        Power Supply

·        Screwdriver

·        Soldering Iron

·        Solder

·        Multimeter

·        Power Supply Tester

 

 

Top: Female Molex Remover Tool

Bottom: 20Pin ATX Remover Tool

 

Left: Female Molex Connector for Female Molex Pins

Right: Male Molex Connector for Male Molex Pins

 

Left: Wire Stripper

Middle: Pin Crimper

Top Right: Blue Sleeving

Bottom Right: Blue Heatshrink

 

Gutting it Out –

   Now that we have all the tools needed we can finally start on modularizing! The power supply used for this guide is the Vantec Stealth 520W pictured below. This is without any modifications done yet.

   Take a Philips screwdriver and remove the four screws holding the power supply case together. Gently remove the cover. If it has a fan attached be sure to unplug this before completely removing the cover. If it’s dusty use canned air to blow out most of the dust. This is what you should see inside.

   Usually there is a ring located around the bundle of wires remove this first and lay the cables to the side. Once again take your Philips screwdriver and remove all attached fans. This will allow for more room when you need to work inside of the case. If you look down to the PCB there are four screws, each of these hold the power supply components to the case. Remove all four screws and place them somewhere safe. The tough part comes when you try to remove the guts from the case. It’s still attached at the back of the case by a socket. Sometimes they’re soldered on and all you need to do is just desolder the wires to remove it. Document this so that the wires won’t be placed back in the incorrect order. Other times the outlet is a plastic piece, to remove it just pinch each side of the plastic to unlatch it from the case. Now it should be easily removed. Use an anti-static bag laid out for storage. Carefully lift up and out from the case and place on the anti-static bag.

 

Molex Placement –

   Cover anything you cannot remove from the case with a paper bag taped around the case. This protects metal shavings from falling into the case. We will be dremeling the case for areas where the Molex connectors will sit.

   Measure the width and height of the Molex connectors and mask off the area you want to cut so that you can mark them. Use a fiberglass reinforced cut off wheel. Set the dremel at 20,000 RPMs and carefully dremel out the holes for the male Molex connector. Use a file to smooth out the sharp edges. Then used canned air to blow out any extra metal shavings or debris. You can use a damp cloth to wipe the outside of the case if you’d like.

   Here I am test fitting the male Molex connectors to see if the cuts were large enough or if they were loose. Looks like a perfect fit!

 

 

Cutting & Crimping –

   We’re halfway done now! Time to work on the guts while they are outside of the case. Use your wire cutters to cut/shorten the Molex cables so that they are only 3” long. Make sure each wire is the same length. Continue until all Molex cables are shortened. I say 3” since it will allow for any errors or poorly crimped pins to be re-done. Place the rest of the cable in a box; you’ll need these later to be the modular lines.

   Before actually crimping the real thing you may want to practice with other wires. Also make sure you purchase twice the amount of pins needed since crimping takes a lot of practice. 

   Next use the wire stripper to strip off a very small amount of the insulation. Take the male Molex pin, which has a rounded pin and crimp one onto each wire. To do this, use the flat tip of the pin crimper to bend the wings into a “U” shape. Lay the wire you want to crimp into the bottom of the “U”. Crimp on the bare wire first, then crimp onto the insulation with the bottom wings using a larger gauge. Continue until all wires have pins crimped onto them.

   For crimping the bare wire use gauge (22-26). For the insulation use gauge (20-22).

   Remember the cables that were snipped off for the 3” wires? Take those back out from the box. If you’d like to shorten them use the wire cutter first. You can make them as short as you’d like or as long depending on your case size, or hardware configuration. Use the wire stripper again to strip the ends. Follow the same instructions as before, yet this time use “female Molex pins” for crimping.

Top: Female Molex Pins

 

Making a Molex –

Now that all the Molex pins are crimped you’re ready to place them into their connectors. Place the power supply guts back into the case and assemble all parts/pieces to their original state. This includes the fans! Now take the Molex connector, and place it into the dremeled slot on the case. Push each pin into the connector in the order of the color on the image below. When they are securely in the connector you should hear a slight “click.” Continue until all sets of Molex’s are completed. Double / Triple check all connections to make sure they are correct.

Left: Female Molex Wire Placement

Right: Male Molex Wire Placement

   Here I have shortened the cable length so that it connects the power supply to the optical drive, hard drive, and graphics card. I also replaced the connectors, and sleeved the wires. The last thing is to heat up the heatshrink.

 

Finishing –

   After all connectors are securely fitted into the case now you can finally place the cover back. If there was a fan located on the cover be sure to plug this back in. Tighten all four of the screws to the case. Take a power supply cable, power supply tester, and mulimeter. Make sure the switch to the power supply is off, and plug the power cable into the wall. Next, take the power supply tester and connect it to the 20-pin connector. Turn on your multimeter and set it for DC voltage. Touch the red probe to the red-wired pin, and the black to the ground wire, which is also black. Take a big breath of air, and switch the power supply back on. Leave it running for a minute to make sure it is stable. Take note of the multimeter while it’s on to see if the voltage is stable or fluctuates.

   If everything is stable congratulate yourself on a job well done! You just made your very own modular power supply!

 

 

Marns CDA

By

JessAlba452

 

 

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