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Look online or at your local computer store for an ATX computer power supply, or dismantle an

old computer and remove the power supply from the case.

Unplug the power cable from the power supply and turn off the switch on the back (if there is
one). Also, be sure you are not grounded so that remaining voltage doesn't flow through you to ground.
Remove the screws that attach the power supply to the computer case and remove the power
Cut off the connectors (leave a few inches of wire on the connectors so that you can use them
later on for other projects).
Discharge the power supply by letting it sit unconnected for a few days. Some people suggest
attaching a 10 ohm resistor between a black and red wire (from the power cables on the output side),
however this is only guaranteed to drain the low voltage capacitors on the output - which aren't dangerous
to begin with! It could leave the high-voltage capacitors charged, resulting in a potentially dangerous - or
even lethal - situation.

Gather the parts you need: binding posts (terminals), a LED with a current-limiting resistor, a switch
(optional), a power resistor (10 ohm, 10W or greater wattage, see Tips), and heat shrink tubing.

Open up the power supply unit by removing the screws connecting the top and the bottom of the
PSU case.

Bundle wires of the same colors together. If you have wires not listed here (brown, etc), see the Tips.
The color code for the wires is: Red = +5V, Black = Ground (0V), White = -5V, Yellow = +12V, Blue = -12V,
Orange = +3.3V, Purple = +5V Standby (not used), Gray = power is on (output), and Green = PS_ON# (turn
DC on by shorting to ground).

Drill holes in a free area of the power supply case by marking the center of the holes with a nail
and a tap from the hammer. Use a Dremel to drill the starting holes followed by a hand reamer to
enlarge the holes until they are the right size by test fitting the binding posts. Also, drill holes for the power
ON LED and a Power switch (optional).

Screw the binding posts into their corresponding holes and attach the nut on the back.

Connect all the pieces together.

Connect one of the red wires to the power resistor, all the remaining red wires to the red binding


Connect one of the black wires to the other end of the power resistor, one black wire to the
cathode (shorter lead) of the LED, one black wire to the DC-On switch, all the remaining black wires to the
black binding post;

Connect the white to the -5V binding post, yellow to the +12V binding post, the blue to the -12V
binding post, the gray to a resistor (330 ohm) and attach it to the anode (longer lead) of the LED;

Note that some power supplies may have either a gray or brown wire to represent "power good"/"power
ok". (Most PSU's have a smaller orange wire that is used for sensing-- 3.3V- and this wire is usually paired
at the connector to another orange wire. Make sure this wire is connected to the other orange wires,
otherwise your lab power supply won't stay on.) This wire should be connected to either an orange wire

(+3.3V) or a red wire (+5V) for the power supply to function. When in doubt, try the lower voltage first
(+3.3V). If a power supply is non ATX or AT compliant, it may have its own color scheme. If yours looks
different that the pictures shown here, make sure you reference the position of the wires attached to the
AT/ATX connector rather than the colors.

Connect the green wire to the other terminal on the switch.

Make sure that the soldered ends are insulated in heat shrink tubing.

Organize the wires with a electrical tape or zip-ties.

Check for loose connections by gently tugging on them. Inspect for bare wire, and cover it to prevent a
short circuit. Put a drop of super-glue to stick the LED to its hole. Put the cover back on.

Plug the power cable into the back of the power supply and into an AC socket. Flip the main cutoff
switch on the PSU if there is one. Check to see if the LED light comes on. If it has not, then power up by

flipping the switch you placed on the front. Plug in a 12V bulb into the different sockets to see if the PSU
works, also check with a digital voltmeter. Make sure you do not short any wires out. It should look good and
work like a charm!

things needed are

1 x AT PSU
2 x Red bannana Terminal Posts
2 x Yellow bannana Terminal Posts
1 x Blue bannana Terminal Posts
1 x White bannana Terminal Post
1 x Black bannana Terminal Post
1 x (120mm x 70mm x 40mm) Hobby Box
2 x Panel Mount Fuse holders (Small)
2 x 5mm LED's (green + amber)
2 x 120ohm .75watt resistors
1 x 2amp small glass fuse
1 x 5amp small glass fuse
2 x 10 Ohm 10 Watt Load resistor
1 x 16Amp 240volt DPDT toggle switch
10 x 4mm ring crimp lugs
1 x 20mm Blank pvc plug
Zip ties for wire management ect.
1 x SPST small toggle switch (optional)
1 x 3pin Fan header (optional)
A soldering iron, Solder, Shrink tube various sizes,
Heat Blower to use on shrink tube, Multimeter

ATX to Lab Bench Power Supply Conversion

In my sophomore year of college at the University of Minnesota, I started into my main electronics classes, and needed a good power
supply for working on the lab projects at home in my room. My roommate Adam told me about somebody online who had converted a
spare ATX computer power supply into a lab bench power supply, so I decided to try and do the same thing. I scrapped the power supply
from the PJRC MP3 Player, and started the conversion.
When I opened up the power supply, I found the following wires inside:

+5V Standby (Always On)

I connected the +5, +12, -12 voltage rails through individual 1 Amp fuses to the front binding posts. I connected the ground connection
directly to the front binding post. I connected the switch between the Power_On signal and Ground. When the Power_On signal is
connected to Ground, the power supply will turn on. I connected the +5V Standby through a resistor and LED to ground, which is useful
as a "plugged in" indicator LED. The Power_Ok signal goes high (+5V) when the power supply has settled down after startup, and all
voltages are in their proper ranges. It is connected to the other LED through a resistor. There is also a 10 Ohm, 10 Watt power resistor
between +5V and Ground. It is used to provide a small load to keep the power supply in the On mode.
Note: While the diagrams show fuses on all voltage rails and no fuse on the ground line, when I actually built my power supply, I was
young and foolish and only put a fuse on the ground wire. It's much safer and a better idea to put fuses on all signal lines and not the
ground line. Thanks to many emails and messages on Instructables about this oversight.

I have included a handful of pictures here with descriptions, but all the pictures are available in my Lab Bench Power Supply group on
This project is also documented on the Instructables website.

This is the original drawing I made to plan out the conversion.

This is the circuit diagram to show how to connect everything.

Here you can see my drawings on the side of the case. I had removed
the insides so I could safely drill the holes. In this picture, the hole
for the first binding post has been drilled, and I have marked out the
locations of the fuse holder and power switch.

Finished drilling all four binding posts, as well as the pilot hole for
the power switch. Yes, I am working in a garbage can, so the metal
shavings don't get in the carpeting.

Test fitting all four binding posts, the fuse holder, and power switch.

I added two LED indicators to the front. Here you can see the backside of the LED holders. They will be used to indicate "Standby
(Plugged In)" and "Power On (Switch On)".

Here, I started to connect the binding posts to their proper wires. I

have connected the +5V and GND in this picture. You can also see
the LED's on the right side of the picture.

In this picture, you can see two green LED's in the holders. I
eventually switched to red LED's because I have many more red
ones than green ones. At this time I had already finished connecting
all four binding posts.

Here, I have connected all the binding posts, the indicator LED's, and
the power switch.

You can see the 10 Ohm, 10 Watt, power resistor connected to the
back wall of the power supply. It connects 5V and GND, which
provides a load to keep the power supply operating when I don't have
anything connected to it.

I used regular breadboard wire to attach the power resistor to the

back wall of the case.

The finished product, with the lid off.

Another view of the finished power supply.