Update to Experiment 7: ATX Computer Power Supply Conversion

Although blowing up hydroxy-filled bags and creating shotgun-level bangs was fun, the end result of the last experiment was that I burnt out my lab power supply.  To remedy this situation, I acquired another ATX PSU from a friend and converted it, this time with some added flair.

Previously, I used two packs of overpriced binding posts from RadioShack.  Each pack had one red and one black, which meant that for three positive voltages I either had to buy even three packs or just use a black post where a red one should have gone.  I opted to use a black binding post where a red one should have gone in the +5V terminal.  That didn't look good, so this time around I found an online supplier and exactly what I needed.

I had also previously broken a blade of the fan on my lab power supply.  The fan was on top as there was no space left inside the unit.  However, I didn't have extra screws for the fan cover, so I left it off, and a fan blade got broken.  For my second lab power supply, I reused four screws from the broken unit to attach the fan cover, which gave the supply a nice shiny finish.

Lessons learned from destroying and rebuilding my lab PSU: 
  • Don't try to trick the overcurrent protection on an ATX PSU - it's there for a reason.
  • Source parts online - it's cheaper (sometimes free) and has better selection that RadioShack.
  • Using social connections to obtain unwanted (but useful) parts can pay off handsomely - the PSU I previously bought for $20 was free the second time around.