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There's only room for a very simple regulation circuit on the picoPSU. Two parallel
circuit boards are used. Approximately half of each board is devoted
the generating +5V, while the other half contains similar circuitry for the
The -12V and +5VSB lines are not immediately visible. It is plausible that
the standby line uses the same circuitry as the main +5V line. The appropriate
pins would be disabled when the power supply is not active.
Up close and personal.
+12V input is on the top left, while the four wires on the right carry +5V
Two PCBs provide all the power that is needed.
All hooked up and ready to go.
CABLES AND CONNECTORS
Numerous adapters offset the lack of cable sets.
As is fitting for such a tiny power supply, the number of cables is kept to
a minimum. In fact, aside from the main ATX connector, the only other output
plugs are two IDE drive connectors and a floppy connector, all on the same short
cable set. Another plug on a separate cable accepts the +12V input. The plug
is designed to be mounted on a metal panel. A PCI slot cover would be ideal,
but the appropriate metal bits were not included.
To make up for the lack of cables sets, a number of adapters are included so
that different kinds of devices can be connected. Most important of these is
an adapter for the +12V AUX plug found on nearly all mainstream motherboards.
A 20-pin to 24-pin adapter is also included, although most 24-pin boards will
function just fine without the extra four pins connected. Only systems with
a high-powered PCI Express graphics card are likely to need the extra four pins,
and this kind of system is likely to overload the picoPSU anyway. Surprisingly,
a PCI Express adapter is also included, although any card that requires the
external power connector is likely to be too much for the external power brick
Another advantage of the adapters is their ability to extend the length of
the single cable set, which needs to be everywhere at once. Luckily, the ATX
header, which is where the cables start from, is a much more central location
than where the power supply is usually located, so the short cable was less
of an issue that it might have been.
Even with the numerous adapters, a couple of adapters are sorely
missed. One is an adapter for SATA drives. The other is a Y-splitter, so that the number of IDE
connectors could be increased. With one connector occupied by the +12V AUX plug
and the other by the hard drive, there were simply not enough plugs to go around
to add an optical drive. This is a serious oversight, as even a low powered
system is likely to require all three of these. Only VIA-based systems, which
do not require the +12V AUX connector are safe in this regard. Keep in mind that both SATA adapters and Y-splitter are available for purchase from most computer component stores.
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