My PSU has connector for GPU. It has +12V, +3.3V and GND pins (according to volt meter). I need to connect cages with HDDs to this connector. HDD requires +12V and +5V. Because PSU doesn't provide +5V I'm going to convert either +12V or +3.3V to +5V. Usually PSU specifies limit of current for given line (say 20A for +5V or 40A for 12V). Specification for my PSU has no information about such limits for 3.3V or 12V - it only says that it's possible to connect 300 Watt GPU to aforementioned PSU connector. I think that +12V line allows more current then 3.3V line.

I hope it's possible to use DC DC convertor to get +5V from +12V. +3.3V is closer to 5 but likely +12V allows more current. All HDDs consume about 30A. So I think it's better to convert +12V to +5V. I'm going to use something like this DC DC converter

I believe that I need to connect +12V wire and GND wire from PSU connector to input of this converter and two output wires to SATA connector - please see schema below. Will it work? Is this schema correct in general (my concern is the way how wires connected to converter. Whether it's correct to connect first pair GND/+12V to converter and another pair GND/+12V to SATA connector)? Is it safe? Sorry for naive question - I have no experience in electronics.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It should be fine as long as your load's power consumption is lesser than the max output power of the PSU and DC-DC converter. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 5:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Prathik Prashanth Thank you! \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 8:08

There's no question what to convert here: the specs for the ATX Optional power supply specifies only 12 V power and sensing lines, from which you can't draw power. The HP-specific 10 pin version of that almost certainly doesn't provide much power over 3.3V over a long distance - that would be risky, as a 0.5V resistive drop due to cabling resistance is more sever at 3.3V than at 12V.

So, buck-convert your 12 V. (also, boosting 3.3V to 5V is usually technically more involved than going down in voltage).

Word of advise: 30A (at 5V: 150W!) is a lot, and these drives will all draw that at the same instant, namely on power on. make sure your power supply is potent enough to offer that amount of power!

I wouldn't even trust random amazon power supplies for private projects; for supplying hard drives in a server: certainly not. Get something from a name-brand power supply producer, through a reputable seller, like digikey, mouser, farnell, (tme), rs components…

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. got it - buck convert 12V. I'm searching among converters that promise > 500 Watt (with high voltage). I selected most expensive converter from what is available here. My current configuration is two PSU: embedded in server (4x1200W) and external ATX that provides 5V. They have no common GND wire - therefore I try to power everything from HP embedded PSU. ATX is 850W and is capable to run 6 cages with 4 HDDs each. Likely server can spin up drives not simultaneously - the led lights blink sequentially - cage after cage. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 7:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ When you say about reputable seller - do you mean PSU or buck-converter? Schema is correct(in general, regarding GND wires from SATA connector - one to converter, another directly to PSU)? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 7:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see that converters with > 800 W support input voltage range higher then I need. Converters for 12V usually allow about 15A limit - therefore I think to divide cages into 2 sets and use 2 HP 10-pin connectors (each with its own buck-converter) Should I pay attention for frequency of buck converter?(I read that HDDs are sensitive to power quality ) \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 7:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry - too many questions )) How reputable producers call such device - just buck converter? Maybe it's possible to extract good converter from ATX PSU like seasonic? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 8:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ And last question :) What do you think is better: use two PSU with connected GND wire (internal and desktop PSU with native 5V) or use buck converter and power everything with 4x1200W internal HP PSU? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 21 at 8:19

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