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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
Power supply for Eurorack, 110v AND 230v?
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alwaysnew



Joined: Mar 02, 2012
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Location: Boston, MA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject: Power supply for Eurorack, 110v AND 230v? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi All!

Thanks for a great forum! I am fairly new to modular synthesizers and I am just getting my first rig (eurorack, doepfers and bubblesounds etc) with a uZeus flying bus board from Tip Top Audio. I frequently go to Europe so I will need a power supply that can handle 110v as well as 230v and I was just wondering if you have any recommendations?

I've been looking at this one but I want to be sure it works. Don't want the rig to blow up right away.

http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10001_10001_2078320_-1

When I wrote to Tip Top they said it should work but might be "overkill". Not sure what they meant... Any ideas on what would be the best for me?

I would be very greatful for any type of input!
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome

I don't think that supply is appropriate for a Eurorack system. That link gives me a switching power supply with 90W of +15V. Sure, two would get you a bipolar supply, but it'll likely be noisy.

Have you built the modular yet? You can get cases with international linear power (you have to switch the switch usually though). Usually it's just a switch to double the primary windings (or halve, depending on the switch setting).

But we tend to discourage the use of switching supplies on modulars, mainly because they tend to produce a lot of noise on the supply line, and it's broad spectrum noise. Maybe someone has come up with a good filtering system for it, but we mostly tend to use linear supplies. For instance, the supplies with my Frac system all have a voltage switch integrated into the fuse holder.

How big is this rig?

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome

6 A is overkill yeah - but troublesome is that it is a single supply where you'll need dual one with + ground and - output terminals. Normally you could just use two supplies, but them laptop power supply things usually have an output tied to the mains ground ... so stacking two on top of each other will make fire probably.

Edit : Dual like for instance : http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product_10001_10001_2100857_-1 but 1A may be a bit underkill ... and it is an open supply, so it needs be built properly.

Also as EdisonRex pointed out with a switching supply you better know what you are doing Wink

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alwaysnew



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow! Thanks for the quick replies! What you say makes me wonder whether I should just get two different power supplies, one for the US and one for Europe.

I bought a Monorocket 9U without power (since I got the uZeus) so I won't be able to just switch it I'm afraid. The modules (around seven of them to start with) have not yet arrived so nothing is built yet!

But again: maybe start with the US supply and then get a European one when I get there? I sure don't want any noise I haven't asked for!

All the best
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Honestly, most of the modern linear supplies have a voltage switch somewhere. It seems kind of overkill to have to have two separate supplies (unless you want two modulars, one for 110V and one for 230V O_o) And there are also stepdown transformers you can just get instead. I have both US and EU equipment in my UK based studio (I grew up in Boston, by the way). I just have a large stepdown transformer to deal with the 110V stuff. I used to use it more and it's overkill now for the size but you can get smaller ones. But that would be worst case you can do that.
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wmonk



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When you travel a lot you don't want to have a very heavy PSU.
I think for eurorack the TipTop Audio Zeus system might be something for you. It gets powered from an external supply similar to the laptop adapters.

see http://www.tiptopaudio.com/zeuspwr.php for more information.

Cheers,
Woody

Edit: I should read better Wink anyway, the guide of the Zeus mentions a few external PSUs that have a switch for both 110V and 230V.

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alwaysnew



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just heard back from Tip Top and they proposed this one:

http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Emerson-Astec-Power/DA18-150MP-M/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtpkqKkT5w3uhFjF%252bvYY7Ds5aTAaVyxjcY%3d

What do you think? Looks nice, but will it affect the sound?
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

alwaysnew wrote:
What do you think?


Looks like a single supploy, you'll need a dual one that outputs + and - 15 Volts.

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wmonk



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
alwaysnew wrote:
What do you think?


Looks like a single supploy, you'll need a dual one that outputs + and - 15 Volts.

It's an AC supply so it will work fine with the tiptop PSU.

Cheers,
Woody

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ndkent



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes a Tiptop Zeus type system seems like a good travel plan.

For those who don't know it borrows an Idea I first saw on the Buchla 200e. You start with a Cincon type laptop style supply which itself does not put out suitable + and - power for a Eurorack but is relatively light and 100-240v automatic switching. Then the Tiptop bus board has higher quality regulators to get you the right Eurorack module voltages.

Just keep in mind the powered bus board only has so much power output (1200ma right?), some people mistakenly think because they get an 8amp Cincon or something they will get that many amps. Though TipTop lets you daisy chain more powered bus boards if the PSU has the amps.
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alwaysnew



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Alright, so I got my rig set up with 110v straight into my uZeus (1200 mA) now and it works great in the States. Now looking into getting that converter. How about this one? You think this will work?

http://www.amazon.com/Simran-SMF-200-Converter-International-Blackberry/dp/B000W9DJ1Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1332946710&sr=1-1

The modules I use (if that matters) are:

a-110
a-145
a-118
a-148
a-140
a-137-1
a-199
Bubblesound vcob
Maths
Intellijel uVca
Polivoks vcf

If that converter is no good, how come and which one should I get?

Thank you!
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ndkent



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Some details bother me. uZeus? you look like you have about 2 rows of modules. uZeus is meant for less than that. Like those shallow boats with some pressure points and a couple more modules. You can add each of the + and minus mA ratings most module companies mention, you total can't be more than. +500mA as far as I know, and you need an adjustment in the manual for 500 mA of -12v. in other words you add up all your plus and your minus milliamps and you totals for plus nerds to be less than 500 same as minus. You might squeak by. Doepfer used to power a 6u case on 550 of each but they doubled that because lots of people bought power hungry modules.

Hopefully you have the real powered Zeus, that would power all you have quite well.

You mention straight to 120v. Hopefully you mean the wall wart is 120 then you plug the +15v dc end of that into whichever Zeus.

As for the amazon link, you don't need one of them. First check if the wall wart you hopefully have says a range like 100-240 or whatever. If your European mains is in that range and it will be, then all you need is a super cheap prong adapter so your narrow USA plug fits in a uk of EU socket. If you hunt around one should be about $1. But check that wall wart. If it only says 120v then DO NOT use it in a 220v socket. In that event you need to buy a 220v wall wart that does 1000mA of +15v dc. It's a more direct approach than trying to use a travel converter, many of which put out too little poor quality power. That 1000mA is for uZeus, and I bet it is international from the get go. If we talk about Zeus then it's like 2.5 or 3amp supply and probably international. You would need a heavy brick of a converter to do a couple amps of conversion so a modern supply like a cincon they reccomend is cheaper and a tiny fraction of the total weight.
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alwaysnew



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I should have been clearer there... Embarassed

I use the rig in the States now (110v) but soon I'll be going to Europe so it needs to handle the 230 v in one way or the other. The Triad wall wart I have only says 110v (I'm pretty sure).

When it comes to the amount of modules I feel a bit confused. If I add all the mA of the modules I have, I end up at around 500-600 mA. Doesn't that mean I still have 600 mA left? If the uZeus (it is a uZeus) delivers 1200?

Am I totally off?
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ndkent



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

there is a Zeus and a uZeus. uZeus only does 500 each of plus and minus. Your wall wart should be 1000ma so that should make sense. If everything is fine then that's great. For Europe you are better off getting a new wall wart, just find one 1000ma or better and +15v dc out though you may swing it with a converter so long as the converter can power your wall wart.
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alwaysnew



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So "500 each of plus and minus" means I can't have modules that exceed 500 mA when I add their specifications up? For instance, A-190-2 is 50 mA, would that be a tenth of what I can plug in?

I always thought it was 50 mA off of the 1000 mA Sad
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ndkent



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just to clear things up, I'm sure the original poster understands most or all of this but a bunch of in-between posts and maybe mine confuse the point. The idea is you run a +15 VDC 1000mA output wall wart into uZeus which regulates the unusable wall wart voltage down to +12DC and -12DC. The nature of the regulation is you actually get 500mA of +12v and 400mA of -12v from what I read. Then you can change the jumper to get the extra 100mA that's apparently used for circuit protection. The reasoning I'm sure is that the popular Pressure Points / Brains combo only draws a +12 current and uZeus was meant to be a compact "skiff" power solution as I understand it.

Okay - so as for current draw, from what I gather all the Doepfer modules seem to draw the same plus and minus though I've not checked so 50mA would mean -12v at 50mA and +12v at 50mA. Some non Doepfer modules will have different numbers for plus and minus and some stuff out there is just one or the other.

Then as for the big question, and I'm sorry I even slightly confused the point. The original poster has a U.S. only 120v wall wart (which tends to be cheaper). He needs a 240 wall wart or probably better one that has a range of power (110-230 at least, 100-240 is common) input and +15DC out at 1000mA or greater. The 1200mA one someone posted would fit the bill with the only question as to if the plug fits uZeus and then he'll need prongs for continental Europe and perhaps another set for England if he's going there.
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mrand



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
Normally you could just use two supplies, but them laptop power supply things usually have an output tied to the mains ground ... so stacking two on top of each other will make fire probably.

Could this be remedied by clipping off the GND prong on each of the PSs power cord?
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ndkent



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mrand wrote:
Blue Hell wrote:
Normally you could just use two supplies, but them laptop power supply things usually have an output tied to the mains ground ... so stacking two on top of each other will make fire probably.

Could this be remedied by clipping off the GND prong on each of the PSs power cord?


You don't want to do that or try some other trick to get you more power than your regulator was meant to provide.

Don't 100% know if we are talking about the unregulated brick or the psu circuitry to regulate it to euro standards. Regardless, I wouldn't try that with either.

If you are worried about too little power just buy a bigger single euro solution and trade the old one or maybe better have some modules comfortably powered by one euro supply and the rest another. Don't try to combine 2 power solutions into a big one unless you have info in the psu manual as to doing exactly what you want. Don't expect a magic trick how to get a lot more power cheaply unless you fully understand powering euro modules, and in that case it won't be a trick.

The regulator (not the brick or wall wart adapter) supplies X amount mA of regulated power in the various voltages needed - +12, -12, +5. If you give the regulator more mA of unregulated power it just won't use it. If you give it less then it will work fine but put out less mA than it's max.

As for 220v or whatever international standard, you want to look at your unregulated wallwart/brick. It will say on it what kind of international power it will run on. If it doesn't cover the destination, then there is a good chance you can buy another wallwart or brick. You must match the voltage out, the amps out or be higher mA out, and be sure you never try to replace say a 15v AC brick with a +15v DC brick. It will likely damage the regulator.

It's true that on average, a system uses a bit less mA of -12v than +12v. So some designers take that into account. I wouldn't expect to build a system with no -12v. Sure there is that one power solution where you can reduce the -12v mA to get some more +12v, it might just answer a problem but we aren't talking about something that is super likely to be your problem.
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mrand



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks, ndkent, for your reply.

I don't think I was clear about my objective. I'm actually just wondering about building a 15v bipolar supply using two laptop power supplies.

BlueHell suggested that the GND on a laptop supply's output is connected to the mains GND. My understanding is that if you piggy back two of these together, one as your positive polarity, and the other connected "backwards" to give you your negative polarity, then you would effectively be shorting the negative one to GND, thus causing a fire, or what have you.

My question, then, is if one could simply remove this troublesome connection by clipping off the mains GND prongs? I feel like you're not supposed to do that, but don't know why...

Just to flush this idea out a little further, I figured one could find two 16v laptop PSs, and use these to send power to a distribution board/bus equipped with +/-15v linear regulators and filtering caps. Now you have +/-15v of regulated power with only a small amount of loss to heat at the regulators (current times 1v). Plus, the switching supplies were probably more efficient than linear supply would have been to begin with.
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ndkent



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mrand wrote:
Thanks, ndkent, for your reply.

I don't think I was clear about my objective. I'm actually just wondering about building a 15v bipolar supply using two laptop power supplies.


Laptop supplies, DC or AC, put out power that is too unregulated to be used as-is. We'd all be getting surplus laptop supplies and chaining them up if that was a workable answer. Euro modules need +12 DC, -12v DC and sometimes +5v DC of regulated power.

mrand wrote:
BlueHell suggested that the GND on a laptop supply's output is connected to the mains GND. My understanding is that if you piggy back two of these together, one as your positive polarity, and the other connected "backwards" to give you your negative polarity, then you would effectively be shorting the negative one to GND, thus causing a fire, or what have you.


definitely not how it's done properly.

mrand wrote:
My question, then, is if one could simply remove this troublesome connection by clipping off the mains GND prongs? I feel like you're not supposed to do that, but don't know why...


Just not going to achieve usable power and I'm not totally sure which ground prongs are being discussed. If you have no ground you have an incomplete circuit. Unless you are talking about the third prong in 110v N.American AC standard home and office power or an international equivalent

mrand wrote:
Just to flush this idea out a little further, I figured one could find two 16v laptop PSs, and use these to send power to a distribution board/bus equipped with +/-15v linear regulators and filtering caps. Now you have +/-15v of regulated power with only a small amount of loss to heat at the regulators (current times 1v). Plus, the switching supplies were probably more efficient than linear supply would have been to begin with.


Euro does not use +/-15v power, but maybe that's a typo. The way to solve it is simply obtain one laptop PS with enough amps for the regulator you are using. The regulators meant for Euro only put out so many amps. If you give them more amps, they will just draw the max they can use, if you send lower than their recommended amp input they will put out proportionately less amps. There is no way to wire more power into a regulator to make it put out more power. If you need more power than your regulator will do then get an other and use each for some modules or buy a bigger one and replace it. No need to try to trick a power solution to somehow give out more amps than it was meant to. No need to try to power everything you own from a single power unit.
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