If you’re looking to buy a PSU for your DIY case, or searching for a replacement, I might have some info for you!
UPDATE 1 (July 2015): the list has been updated with the Mean Well P50A13D-R1B, a more skiff- and beginner-friendly counterpart to the popular RT-65B that comes as an external power brick with 5-pin DIN connector.
UPDATE 2 (September 2015): the list has been updated with the Synthrotek Deluxe Power.
UPDATE 3 (January 2016) lots of new info added by John Loffink, see end of article for a complete changelog.
First, a little background
In the past I have been repeatedly doing some research to find the most appropriate power supply solution for my eurorack modular. While on the search, I collected all of my findings in this thread over at the Mutable Instruments Forums and later also on Muff Wiggler. The list started to grow thanks to other forum member’s contributions and suggestions, turning what started as a simple discussion, into a long list of possible choices.
To make this list accessible for everyone I decided to collect all this info into an online document, which can be accessed through the link at the end. Despite this list being pretty long, I’m sure there’s probably even more solutions out there, so please feel free to add links and specs in the comments
Some general thoughts and guidelines
- If you’re not very experienced, please avoid anything that will involve mains voltages (remember it’s up to 230V, depending on where you live). PSUs like the Meanwell RT-65B need to be connected directly to mains, which can be a risky thing if you’re not sure what you’re doing. There’s safer PSUs out there, which will work with external 12-15V power bricks.
- If you search online, you’ll find a lot of people arguing over switching vs. linear PSUs. To make the long story short, the main advantage of linear is that it delivers a more stable current, the advantage of switching is low heat dispersion and better efficiency. There’s a couple of really good switching PSUs out there, like the aforementioned Meanwell, but there’s also some pretty bad ones, so be careful when choosing. The side effects of a bad switching PSU can be ripple noise and high minimum load requirements. If the minimum load is not met, this might result in modules going crazy, especially digital ones . To work around this problem, some PSUs like the Tip Top uZeus will let you add some resistance to the circuit, so it will work even if you only have a handful of modules to power. Others, like the Tracopower one I’ve tested, won’t. So check the specs before buying.
Which PSU type is good for me?
First of all, let’s see what the main types for modular cases are:
- Self-enclosed switching PSUs (e.g. Meanwell RT-65B), these need to be connected to the mains directly
- Self-enclosed linear PSUs (e.g. Doepfer PSU2), these need to be connected to the mains directly
- PSUs with external power bricks (e.g. Tip Top uZeus)
- other types of PSUs (e.g. Elby Designs ED126), including power distribution boards with built-in PSUs
Which type of PSU is right for you might depend on many factors, but here’s some suggestions:
- How big is your system? is it a 84HP 6U case or is it bigger. Check the current draw on Modulargrid and adjust your choice accordingly. It might make more sense to distribute the power for one huge monster case onto more than one PSU.
- If you’re looking for a PSU for a skiff, then something like the Synthrotek 5A PSU or the 4ms ROW Power 30W/40W could be a good solution. If you go with the Synthrotek please make sure you get a high quality, regulated 12V power brick, since the +12V will come directly from it. If the voltage is wrong or unstable it will make your modules go all bonkers.
- Having a PSU that delivers 5V is handy but not really essential. Only few modules need 5V and even if they do, they only draw little current on that rail.
- If you need power for a small skiff, there’s a bunch ofvery compact PSUs like the 4ms mini power.
- If you got some money to spend, then apparently the Hinton PSUs are the best ones around! There’s a big discussion going on about it being worth it or not, the price difference between that and a Meanwell is huge, but honestly I’m not an expert enough to take a side.
- Again: If you don’t know what you’re doing, get something with an external power brick that will prevent you having to handle mains voltages. Remember if you do something wrong, it might not only fry your modules, it could also kill you.
The big PSU list
The Big Eurorack PSU List on Google Docs
Update 3 – January 2016
Doeper DIY Kit 1/10/16 – updated details, no internal only switching version
Doepfer PSU2 1/10/16 – updated details, separated new unit to PSU3, added PSU3 line item
Synthrotek Deluxe Power 1/5/16 – confirmed switching
4ms ROW Power 30W 1/5/16 – type unknown, 1/6/16 note on type, AC & DC external lumps
4ms ROW Power 40W 1/5/16 – type unknown, 1/6/16 note on type, AC & DC external lumps
4ms mini power 1/5/16 – Deleted, not on web site
1/5/16 – added Intellijel TPS80W
Intellijel TPS80W 1/5/16 – switching, details.
Elby Designs ED126 1/5/16 – linear, 1/6/ 2016 updated details, price
Elby Designs ED111 1/5/16 – linear, 1/6/ 2016 updated details, price
Elby Designs ED122 1/5/16 – linear, 1/6/ 2016 updated details, price
TRACOPOWER – TXL 035-1212D 1/5/16 – switching
EOWAVE DIY PSU 1/10/16 – updated to switching, added details.
FC Power DIY 1/5/16 – Linear type, wall wart and regulator details in description
Acidlabs PSU module 1/5/16 – Linear type, wall wart info
HBB15 1.5 AG 1/5/16 – updated note for sources, description
Hinton Instruments PSUs 1/5/16 – added multiple details
MFOS Wallwart PSU 1/5/16 – added linear, regulator part numbers
MFOS LM317/LM337 Supply 1/5/16 – added linear
Erica Synths PSU 1/5/16 – updated linear, name, details
1/5/16 – Froze top row and two columns
1/6/16 – added Pittsburgh Cases
1/6/16 – Added Zeus Studio Bus, 1/10/16 updated detailes
1/9/16 – added Make Noise Skiff, 1/10/16 added measurements
1/9/16 – added 4ms cases
1/10/16 – added Monorocket cases
1/10/16 – added Goike cases
1/10/16 – added eowave case
Thanks to all Mutable Instruments and Muff Wiggler forum members who have contributed to this list with their findings and feedbacks! Thanks for John Loffink for taking this list to a whole new level of completeness!
Cover photo by Elizabeth Busani