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I'm designing a multi-component system for a walking device and want to use a centralized unit to power the four joint motors. Each distributed unit needs a 12V DC signal to power the onboard components (arduino, solenoid, encoder, etc.).

A basic block diagram of the central/distributed configuration. I need to run power from the top box to supply 12V to each distributed unit.

I feel like having the four distributed units in parallel will greatly reduce the amount of current I can draw from the central power unit. Is it possible to use a single 12V DC power unit (connected to a wall socket or maybe a rechargeable battery pack) to power all four of the devices? It'd be nice to be able to use something like this with a splitter.

If this isn't the best option, what alternatives should I consider?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Taking a single power supply and connecting multiple loads in parallel is a valid starting point. Of course, the power supply has to provide enough current for the combined load. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Feb 29 '16 at 22:48
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This is a standard approach and is how the world is powered for the most part. Everybody's home and place of work is wired in parallel on the grid. Within your home every light and socket is wired in parallel on the domestic supply. In your car every 12 V lamp, motor and solenoid is wired in parallel on the car battery.

All you need to do is calculate the worst case current draw - typically all motors on simultaneously under maximum load - size your wiring appropriately and use an adequately rated power supply. i.e., Get a power supply of the required voltage output and a current rating greater than or equal to your maximum calculated load.

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