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Thread: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

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    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    As you can see from another thread, those Seagate stock power supply gives out a high frequency buzzing when not plugged into a harddrive, and seems like the leak current from those (crap) power supply have somehow got into my motherboard and killed it.

    While I'm at it, I wonder if there are any external power supply that will handle 4+ external harddrives? (+12V 2V each) and only eats one socket. (instead of 4 at the moment)

    Seems like those plugs are quite standardized (Same plug used by my seagate drives and freecom drives)

    Maplin > Multiway Plug
    Something along this analogy of having one power supply going to multiple harddrives

    Just need something which is beefy, stable, no cable mess and no more USB-killing non-sense
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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    Tricky one! Just had a look at the PSU for one of my external caddies and it is dual voltage - 12v @2 Amps and 5V @ 2 amps - and a look at another psu with a caddy of different make has the same rating - so you are looking at a power supply that will deliver 5 volts at 8 amps and 12v at 8 amps - roughly 150 watts - something like a low end PC power supply or a laptop power supply - except that a laptop psu is normally single voltage (about 17 or 19).

    a very quick look here (the RS components site)

    rswww.com (yes that is the URL in its entirety - no www prefix)

    stock number 454-5327

    pulled up some 85 Watt dual voltage power supplies, but they are not cheap (but probably better quality control than Maplin's ) but only have a single output plug - so how good are you with a soldering iron?

    (Just noted that the maximum power output dual voltage PSUs are these 85 watt units so no use for powering 4 units - you could try Farnell components) or use two and power two units off each one.

    One solution (if you can find a power supply with a suitable output) is to cut the power leads of the existing adaptors and solder the ends together in parallel, to a common lead and terminate that in a suitable plug for the new single PSU. Difficult to do neatly (heatshrink tubing might help - or you could use a small junction box to contain the join. You could buy a small ATX computer psu (which would probably be cheaper than an RS sourced device) and modify the cable ends and again connect it to the four tails from the original PSUs. If you made a custom housing for the ATX unit, all the connections would be inside that - but all this depends on your degree of skill with a soldering iron and relatively high poer electroncs.

    Bottom line is that it is possible but perhaps not as straightfoward as it seems. However there may be other solutions other than the approach I have suggested.

    It might be simpler to consider a common enclosure and re-house the drives in that, although you lose some flexibilty and portability, and again might be expensive.
    Last edited by peterb; 18-11-2007 at 11:03 AM.
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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    I have this problem as well. I don't want to have a brick for each external case i have.

    I had planned on getting a completely modular PC power supply. I'm sure i've seen ATX connectors that will allow a PSU to run without being attached to a motherboard.

    Then i'd wire up some power cables for my various Akasa and IcyBox cases.

    EDIT: Looks like you just need to jumper pins 13 and 14. That seems like an easy hack

    modtown - article - Powering an ATX PSU Without a Motherboard - if it ain't broke - mod it!

    How do I run my ATX power supply without a motherboard? Overclocking - dslreports.com

    running ATX power supply without motherboard - Google Search

    Is there a compelling reason to not do this?
    Last edited by Funkstar; 18-11-2007 at 11:25 AM.

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    Mostly Me Lucio's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    Chilled PC UK

    That'll save you having to worry about a hack and also stay in place better than say a paperclip or a piece of wire which are typically used.

  5. #5
    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    I think a notebook power supply will do it,

    Some enclosures are dual voltage, certainly not ALL of them. 4 of my 5 external harddrives only have 12V rail (I assume there is a voltage divider in the enclosure to give 5V using the 12V rail). So it is not as complicated as it look.

    I thought you short pin 14-15? (may be both works)

    Certainly worth DIYing a shuttle psu into a multi-way external hdd power supply
    Workstation 1: Intel i7 950 @ 3.8Ghz / X58 / 12GB DDR3-1600 / HD4870 512MB / Antec P180
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    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    just a quick correction, I meant a micro atx psu. You could use the standard hard drive molex connectors as well as modify the main output rails (Better to share the load) and you would need some sort of case (although I suppose you could use it free standing - better not to - but a simple plastic box cut for the microatx back plate would do. It would need a bit of thought - although if your old mobo is dead,, you might be able to salvage the main connector off that and modify it. Voltmeter, soldering iron, skill and care are your allies here! If you do go down this route, good luck - and post back how it goes.
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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Power supply for multiple external harddrives?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lucio View Post
    Chilled PC UK

    That'll save you having to worry about a hack and also stay in place better than say a paperclip or a piece of wire which are typically used.
    Thats fantastic! I was going to use a ATX header from Maplin, but Chilled PC are quoting only 70p for first class delivery. That sounds good to me

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