I am adding an Intel NUC (4"x4" i5 PC, 12-19V, 10A@19V) to my guitar effect pedalboard for all kinds of fun signal processing with Ableton Live and Max/Msp. I'm building a 12V 20A power supply using this for all the pedalboard's 5,9,12V electronics.

My goal is to get the PC to safely shut down when I unplug the pedal board from the wall using this. I assume this shutdown sequence will take about 5-7 seconds, and will no doubt need some sort of supplemental power source (battery? capacitor?) to keep it running during that time.

I was looking at universal 19V laptop batteries but then I have to take charging into account, source switching, added weight and space, etc. I'm am interested but inexperienced circuit designer, for example having just learned how to regulate those 5&9V circuits with regulators and capacitors. Of course it would be great if there was a simple product available that could take care of some or all of this task.


  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is it undesirable to cut power to the PC? I can imagine that HDDs do not like it, but if RAM drive was used, it would be safe. \$\endgroup\$ – venny Sep 21 '14 at 11:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your easiest path might be to buy the smallest UPS you can find.. Anything else will involve a charging circuit of some kind. I suppose 3x 6V SLA batteries would not be insane. There's always a danger of HDD or SSD corruption if you don't do an orderly shutdown. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Sep 21 '14 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I second the RAM drive. It will increase startup time, but it becomes almost completely immune to damage from power loss events. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Sep 21 '14 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ The pedalboard is meant to be mobile. You plug it in, play your gig, then unplug it and take it home. As it stands shutting down the NUC manually before unplugging the board will work, but this shutdown project is a matter of convenience and safety so that I can just turn off or unplug the board and stick it in the travel bag like a normal hardware device while the PC safely handles it's own shutdown. It would be verbs slick. I will be using an SSD. \$\endgroup\$ – patrickkidd Sep 21 '14 at 16:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here is a comprehensive write-up of the finished product: vedanamedia.com/2015/01/ableton-pedalboard Thanks for all of your help on this! \$\endgroup\$ – patrickkidd Jan 12 '15 at 7:03

After a lot of research I ended up going with OpenUPS and six 18650 Li-FePO4 cells. Results are really terrific and the plug/startup, unplug/shutdown sequence is working really well. I'll post back with a forthcoming run-through on my blog for future reference.


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