I can do the maths, I get near 90W, but I'm only planning to draw under a quarter of the power supplies (ebay link) rated max of 5V/12V combo (estimated load 30W). I therefore consider my 19V old laptop supply adequate plus a little overhead. Reading the listing I see a power rating of 150-250W, I expect that translates to 150W continuous and 250W peak, but who knows right now. I did debate splicing two old laptop chargers together, but worry although it would work I probably should have some protection circuitry to stop them fighting each other.

Am I an idiot? (I accept that I am idiotically frugal to attempt to use old laptop chargers instead of a dedicated high load supply but the cost to recycling ratio doesn't add up)

I understand to a level of intermediate electronics but always considered that an underpowered supply was only a problem if it was truly unmatched. i.e. you were expecting the device to draw the full load or have a relatively high startup(or intermittent) draw then your supply should match otherwise load dependent. Reading Voltage at what Amperage made me question my sanity and proneness to unnecessary fire risk.

Don't get me wrong, I've always advised to have a suitably matched rating on supply and device or ideally over-rated supply to avoid running hot.

End use devices are various voltage hobby microcontrollers and SATA drives via https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07R8S8VTT

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site, unfortunately it is not clear what you are asking? Are you saying you need a 30W supply and you have a 90W adapter? If so it should work fine... \$\endgroup\$ – MadHatter Jan 4 '20 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I hope you are using SMPS converters. Maybe a smarter recycle method would use an old surplus 300W+ ATX supply with Pon jumper. \$\endgroup\$ – Tony Stewart Sunnyskyguy EE75 Jan 4 '20 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am using an old ATX supply but want silence ideally, and portability in future with just one adapter.Power rail estimates based on an ATX 300W continuous supply scaled down. End use is hobbiest power supply plus server devices using 12/5v microcontrollers and SATA drives. \$\endgroup\$ – Tyeth Jan 5 '20 at 15:25

If I understand this correctly, you intend to use this "PeakPSU", apparently a cheap PicoPSU knockoff:

enter image description here

...which is a board with a bunch of DC-DC converters intended to generate the usual voltages to power a PC motherboard from a 19V laptop power supply.

The "specification":

enter image description here

Note it doesn't spec all the stuff you'd really like to know about a switching converter or power supply, like how much current each output can provide, output voltage accuracy and ripple, efficiency, acceptable ambient temperature, etc. So you can't know if it will make your motherboard happy.

Also it seems full of cheap "general purpose" capacitors of unspecified origin. Maybe they're the low-ESR models, but there is no way to know. If they are not rated for the ripple current they will take in use, then they will die.

Maybe if you power a motherboard that only requires 30W they will die a bit slower... but they look disturbingly similar to the caps on these ubiquitous fake "LM2596" modules that are everywhere these days, and these are trash. They could at least have invested in a bit of purple paint to make them fake OSCON's.

Why not buy the genuine instead of the knockoff? It will work with your 19V power supply (it says "12-32V input") and it comes with full specifications so you can check the current on each output will be what your motherboard requires, a manual, etc... and it's almost the same price!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I was unaware of the genuine article. Power rail estimates based on an ATX 300W continuous supply scaled down. Actual devices are 12/5v microcontrollers and SATA drives. I also use the current ATX power supply for 3.3v stuff too via amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07R8S8VTT \$\endgroup\$ – Tyeth Jan 5 '20 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome! I haven't tried PicoPSU so all I can say is it has good reputation and it looks like good quality. However there are lots of horror stories about cheapo DC-DC converters from aliexpress and ebay, usually the capacitors are the wrong type with ESR too high so they get very hot and die... The "LM2596" on the aforementioned "LM2596" modules is also definitely not a LM2596... \$\endgroup\$ – bobflux Jan 5 '20 at 17:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Happy to risk cheapo caps, and smoky ICs, I've replaced my fair share... the devices connected are all highly tolerant except maybe the disk drive. The price difference is still a fair chunk, when you don't got it lying around. \$\endgroup\$ – Tyeth Jan 8 '20 at 14:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.