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You don’t have the power? Well, there’s no need to ask Scotty – the SparkFun Benchtop Power Board Kit has your back. This board will let you take advantage of your power supply to create a benchtop power supply with enough juice to run almost any of your embedded electronics projects.
The benchtop power board kit was created to provide quick access to the typical voltages needed when developing physical computing projects (embedded systems). After assembling the kit you’ll have access to four different voltages (3.3V, 5V, 12V and -12V) each with their own replaceable 5A fuse. Each power rail has a corresponding ground connection; all of the power rails are brought out to a binding post. The benchtop power board should be powered by a standard computer power supply with an ATX connector. With this rev we have finally added a power switch and made each standoff to a more appropriate height to fit the mounting posts.
This kit is simple to put together and shouldn’t take more than 30-45 minutes for a beginner.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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Whether it's for assembling a kit, hacking an enclosure, or creating your own parts; the DIY skill is all about knowing how to use tools and the techniques associated with them.
Skill Level: Noob - Basic assembly is required. You may need to provide your own basic tools like a screwdriver, hammer or scissors. Power tools or custom parts are not required. Instructions will be included and easy to follow. Sewing may be required, but only with included patterns.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 20 ratings:
3 of 3 found this helpful:
Pretty cool little device. Build once and plug and play to save the trouble of having to mod old power supplies. Fairly easy to build too.
I guess it’s not a big deal with more modern supplies, I remember when I started converting ATX supplies many of them wouldn’t latch on without a healthy load on the 5V rail. If you run across this problem, it could be solved fairly easily by connecting a dummy load at the binding posts. I remember having less frequent problems with the other rails not being voltage stable without their own loads also, but those were kind of a case by case basis.
Words of caution: -I accidentally shorted the back of one of the 90° ATX connector pins to one of the fuse blocks with the probe when carelessly trying to probe for voltages on first use. Power supply went into protection mode so it was fine, but I’d probably recommend protecting the exposed 90° pins (taping, etc) and/or not trying to probe around them. -As a general FYI, I had a few issues on soldering the wire jumpers to the through hole spots in the board for the ground posts. Even with my decent 80W temp controlled soldering station, the heat was getting sucked up by the huge ground plane in the board (nearly the whole board was getting warm) resulting in cold joints. I had to turn my iron up to about 450°C to be able to dump enough heat into the board to get solder to stick well to the PCB pads. -Triple check orientation of fuse holders before soldering. -The black binding posts I got rotated in the board when I was trying to tighten them and their connections down (oval shaped holes supposed to prevent this). I had to hold them with a vice grip. Had no problems with the red ones. -I am also not a fan of how the instructions say to attach the wires to the bottom of the binding posts by crimping it between the two nuts. This is not a very good connection IMO, I ended up crimping a small ring terminal to the wires and secured that instead.
3 of 3 found this helpful:
1 complaint: as posted elsewhere, the nuts on the posts are too close.
1 observation: the holders for the fuses have notches and can be put in backwards. The notches keep the fuses from sliding, so they are a good thing.
2 recommendations: Add a USB power connector. Add posts to connect jumper wires. Male posts would be simplest, I think.
All in all, recommended. (and pleasantly surprised I didn’t burn anything down while assembling it)
7 of 8 found this helpful:
Couple of nitpicky things: silkscreened print suggests an orientation that is unlikely, that the powered device is away from the user while the ATX power supply is close to the user.
The banana jacks are spaced at the standard distance, but each GND+Voltage pair is placed very close to its neighbor, which visually creates pairings that don’t match the silkscreen.
It works as intended and has a very welcome place on my bench
4 of 5 found this helpful:
Works good for all electronic projects. Would like to see a version with a lm317 and variable resistor to create an adjustable voltage out.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
This was what our son wanted for a project he is building. He is very happy with the way this has preformed for him.
1 of 2 found this helpful:
I can’t use this with my power supply because it turns out the pin-out on mine is not standard ATX! I have a salvaged Apple G5 PSU (2004) that I want to use as a benchtop supply. I went ahead and modified the design of this board to suit my needs. Go open source hardware! https://github.com/dustMason/Apple-G5-PSU-Benchtop-Power-Supply-Breakout
Considering how inexpensive this kit is, it’s very versatile. Minus some awkward angles that you might get with screw down connectors, this thing is almost perfect for what I needed. I’ve got it hooked up with a nice ATX supply, and it’s a perfect stand-in for set voltages needed for my projects.
I wish the connection for the binding post didn’t require a wire. I would have much preferred a metal tab of some sorts to solder in place or include some solder eyelets. Other than this issue I find that the product is really good. I have used it for many of my projects now and i have only owned it for a couple of weeks. The fuses saved me big time. I accidental shorted a couple of wires on my breadboard and the fuse blew instead of melting components.
It lets you easily built a cheap bench top power supply. Instead of hacking up a power supply, you can just plug and play.
Assembled in about 30-40 minutes and I only have basic soldering skills. Be aware no paper instructions are included, but the online instructions are great. Also, the plug receiver has 24 slots but my power supply had only a 20 pin plug. Took a couple attempts to find the right slots to leave open but I managed. Works exactly as advertised.
Great idea! Excellent board. I bought two of these. One for myself and one for a future son in law. Assembly went like a dream right until the end. Everything worked. Then I got to the banana jacks. One had stripped threads before I started. Four of the remaining 15 stripped out as I tightened them and three of the metal threads stripped when i attached the wire to them. Sprakfun made good on the replacement parts. I was able to replace six faulty posts and they are all nice and snug now.
Sorry to hear that you had trouble with the jacks. I’m going to be contacting you directly about getting those replaced for you.
Assembled it (mostly) according to instructions. The instructions are great, BTW, you should follow them, but If you’re going to depart from them, as I did, you should still run through them in your head. My only complaint was that they were short a couple of the smaller bolts that secure the banana plugs. I didn’t need the stand-offs, so I used the bolts from them, which were the same. Altogether, a BIG time-saver. I especially like having commonly available fuses protecting the power supply. I wouldn’t have thought of that on my own, 5 stars!
I love kits, and this power board is easy to assemble. A very handy way to provide bench power.
Only gripe I have is that the screws for the stand offs were nowhere near long enough to fit 2 standoffs on. The screws only go through half of a standoff. Unless I grossly misread the instructions multiple times, I think I got the wrong screws. No big deal though, just a quick trip to the hardware store. 🙂
It went together fast and easy. The only change I did from the instructions was putting ring terminals on the ends of the wires. Then there would be no chance of them coming loose. Now I have more power for projects and rock solid stable voltages. Great product!
Easy to assemble and works fine.
I’m new to electronics in general. This was a great project to start honing my soldering skills. It works exactly as described. I couldn’t be happier with this power board. Thanks!
I had one of these lying around for quite some time and finally got around to building it. It was a little difficult to build and so I went to the online documentation on the SparkFun site to get answers.
I discovered that they had revved the board. The on/off switch seemed like a really good idea. After getting my answers & building the board, I decided to get & build the second version as well.
The improvements …. - They provided relief around the ground holes so they are much easier to solder. - They made the binding post holes oblong so they are much easier to install - The on/off switch is a nice addition and works well.
Pros - This works well with a standard ATX both 20 pin and 24 pin cable. (make sure that you check all the pins to ensure that they match as there are non standard power supplies out there. If you use the 20 pin atx, plug it into pins 1 & 13 on the board.) - Really slick idea. Makes the power supplies for old PC’s conveniently re-usable and makes for a really powerful bench supply..
Con - The nuts on the binding posts are too close together. You have to be sure that the power and grounds are not shorted.
Notes - Check your power supply specs. Some of them provide way more than 5 amps so you could change fuses. - Making the wires to the binding posts 1.125 inches long, stripping a little off one end to go through the board, and stripping enough of the other end to make one revolution around the post works well, - The board is a little longer so it won’t fit into the shipping box of the previous rev without modification and they didn’t provide the template on the box for the new rev. (On the previous rev, you could make the shipping box into the power supply “case” as they marked cut outs on the box.)