Computer Components and Interfacing The Power Supply – Lecture 9 The internal power supply is responsible for converting

your standard household power (AC) into a form that your computer can use (DC). The power supply is responsible for powering every device in your computer. The power supply plays an important role in the following areas of your system: • Stability: A high quality power supply with sufficient capacity to meet the demands of your computer will provide years of stable power for your PC. For example, power supplies can cause system crashes. • Cooling: The power supply contains the main fan that controls the flow of air through the PC case. • Expandability: The capacity of your power supply is one factor that will determine your ability to add new drives to your system, or upgrade to a more powerful motherboard or processor. Many people don't realize, for example, that a high-speed Athlon CPU and motherboard consume far more power than a similar Pentium-based system, and the power supply needs to be able to provide this power.

These pie charts show why you should pay attention to your power. Despite their low cost compared to other PC components, power and cooling are responsible for a large percentage of overall system problems. AC-DC Voltage Conversion The electricity you get from your utility company is in the form of alternating current (AC), while the electricity your PC requires is direct current (DC).

In fact, the supply normally provides several different voltage levels, to meet the levels demands of different components in the machine. machine The indicator that a device actually uses DC inside is: the ability of the device to run on batteries. PCs use switching power supplies The switching power supply uses a transistor supplies. switch and a closed feedback loop to produce DC output.

Simplified block diagram of one design for a switching power supply. The main advantage of a switching power supply is that it is far more efficient than a linear design (AC Adapter: change AC DC). The second advantage is that all the energy wasted in the power supply as heat has to be removed by the PC's cooling system. Therefore, more efficient power . supplies produce less heat. The main disadvantage of a switching supply is that it generates high-frequency high signals within it as part of its conversion process, which can radiate out of the unit and cause interference to other electronic devices (inside or outside the PC). For ce this reason, you will always see PC power supplies encased in metal boxes for shielding. The power factor of a device refers to the ratio of the actual power used by the device to the product of the current and voltage supplied to it. Traditional power supplies have a power factor of about 0.6 to 0.7. 0.7 Standard Output Voltages: Voltages PCs use several different voltages to power their various components. Most of the power provided by the power supply is in the form of positive voltages, but some is in the form of negative voltages. , Negative voltage is a slightly strange concept when used in reference to a DC current. It just means that the voltage potential is measured from ground to the t signal, instead of the signal to ground.

Scale illustration of the various voltages provided by a typical, modern power supply. The color of each line corresponds to the color normally given wires carrying that voltage in the supply's motherboard connectors. The black zero voltage line represents the system's ground, which is the reference point. Here are the details on the various voltages provided by today's power supplies: • -12 V: This voltage is used on some types of serial port circuits, whose amplifier circuits require both -12V and +12V. • -5 V: -5 V was used on some of the earliest PCs for floppy controllers and other circuits used by ISA bus cards • 0 V: Zero volts is the ground of the PC's electrical system, also sometimes called common or earth. The ground signals provided by the power supply are used to complete circuits with the other voltages. • +3.3 V: The newest voltage level provided by modern power supplies, it was introduced with the ATX form factor and is now found on the ATX/NLX and SFX form factors. It is not found in Baby AT or older form factors. • +5 V: Used on older form factor systems (Baby AT and earlier) , this is the voltage used to run the motherboard, the CPU and the vast majority of other components in the system. • +12 V: This voltage is used primarily to power disk drive motors. It is also used by fans and other types of cooling devices. Originally, the lowest regular voltage provided by the power supply was +5 V, which was used to provide power to the CPU, memory, and everything else on the motherboard. Starting with the second generation Pentium chips, Intel went to a reduced 3.3 V voltage, in order to reduce power consumption as the chips got faster. This required motherboard manufacturers to put voltage regulators on their boards

to change the +5 V to +3.3 V. It is used to run most newer CPUs, as well as some types of system memory, AGP video cards, and other circuits. On newer systems, many of the components, especially the CPU, have migrated to the lower +3.3 V described above, but the motherboard and many of its components still use +5 V. Soft Power (Power On and 5V Standby Signals): Early PCs using the PC/XT, AT, Baby AT and LPX form factors all use a mechanical switch to turn the computer on and off. Newer form factors, starting with the ATX/NLX, and including the SFX, have changed the way the power supply is turned on and off. HOW?? Instead of using a physical switch, these systems are turned on by a signal from the motherboard telling the power supply what to do. This is what allows Windows to shut the power down to a PC, or what allows such features as turning a PC on from a button on the keyboard. This feature is called "Soft Power" and the signal that controls the power supply is called "Power On", or alternately, "PS On" or "PS_On". How can the motherboard tell the power supply to turn on, electronically, when the motherboard is also off due to not having any power from the supply? The answer is the other "Soft Power" signal, which is called "+5 V Standby" (or "+5VSB", or "5VSB", etc.) This signal is always ON, even when the rest of the power supply is turned off. A small amount of current on this wire is what allows the motherboard to control the power supply when it is off. Redundant Power Supplies One advanced feature available on high-end machines (especially servers), is a redundant power supply. In essence, this is a power supply that actually includes two (or more) units within it, each of which is capable of powering the entire system by itself.

A redundant ATX power supply with two removable power modules.

If for some reason there is a failure in one of the units, the other one will seamlessly take over to prevent the loss of power to the PC. You can usually even replace the damaged unit without taking the machine down. This is called hot swapping. Obviously, this sort of option isn't for everyone, and these units are not cheap. Power Supply Form Factors The form factor of the power supply refers to its general shape and dimensions. The form factor of the power supply must match that of the case that it is supposed to go into, and the motherboard it is to power. Also, newer power supply form factors can often work with more than one type of case. PC/XT Form Factor The power supply found into the rear of the case on the right-hand side, and controlled via an up/down switch.

Diagram of the side and rear views of a PC/XT form factor power supply, with approximate dimensions. The "bulls-eye" on the right is the fan outlet. The voltage selection switch is at the top in the middle, and the connections for the power cord and monitor pass-through are on the bottom.

LPX Form Factor

Diagram of the side and rear views of an LPX form factor power supply, with approximate dimensions. Note the much smaller height dimension compared to the AT or Baby AT form factors; the power cord outlet and monitor passthrough have been moved next to the power supply fan vent instead of below it. This is key to allowing the production of smaller, "slimline" PC systems. ATX (NLX) Form Factor

Rear view of an ATX power supply, showing its motherboard and drive connectors. This power supply blows air out of the system; the vents on the side are for drawing air from the inside of the system case.

Comparison of Power Supply Form Factors This table is a summary comparison of the different power supply form factors. SFX and ATX power supplies can generally be interchanged in systems sized to hold them because their 20-pin main motherboard connectors are almost identical. They are not however exactly identical: the SFX power supply does not provide the -5 V signal that may be required for some systems that use certain ISA bus expansion cards. Form Factor PC/XT AT Typical Dimensions Usual Motherboard (W x D x Style(s) Connectors H, mm) 222 x 142 x Desktop AT Style 120 213 x 150 x Desktop AT Style 150 165 x 150 x Desktop 150 AT Style Match to Case Form Factor PC/XT AT Match to Motherboard Form Factor PC/XT AT, Baby AT

Baby AT


150 x 140 x Desktop 86

AT Style


150 x 140 x Desktop 86

ATX Style


100 x 125 x Desktop 63.5

ATX Style

Baby AT, AT, Baby AT, AT, AT/ATX AT/ATX Combo Combo LPX, some LPX, AT, Baby AT, Baby AT, AT/ATX AT/ATX Combo Combo ATX, Mini-ATX, ATX, MiniExtended ATX, ATX, Extended NLX, ATX, NLX, microATX, microATX, AT/ATX FlexATX Combo microATX, microATX, FlexATX, FlexATX, ATX, ATX, MiniMini-ATX, ATX, NLX NLX

Parts of the Power Supply

ATX/NLX power supply Case and Cover Every PC power supply comes surrounded by a metal case with a metal cover. The case isolates the components inside the power supply from the rest of the PC. This serves to keep from harmful electromagnetic interference inside the box.

A baby AT case

The design of the case and cover are also important because they play a role in cooling the power supply components. Power Cord and Power Pass-Through Virtually all PCs come with a standard black power cord that runs from a receptacle on the power supply to a power outlet in the wall. All PC power cords are three-pronged.

A standard PC power cord, oriented to show its two ends. Some power supplies, especially older ones, have a "pass-through" connector on the back into which you can plug the monitor's power cord.

Power cord (left) and pass-through (right) on a tower-style Baby AT power supply. The Red piece between them is the voltage selector switch.

Power Switch Older form factor desktop PC/XT cases had the power switch at the back of the machine, usually on the right side of the case. Starting with the AT form factor, tower cases changed to a remote, physical power switch that was connected to the power supply using a cable. The remote switch cable has four leads that run to it (with a fifth ground lead, to ground the power supply to the case, optional). One pair of these (the brown and blue) The other pair (black and white) . When the switch is ON, brown connects to black, and blue connects to white, and the power supply is energized. The brown and blue leads to the remote power switch on an AT-style system carry live 110V (or 220V) AC power.

A remote PC power supply switch, showing its four connectors and attached wires. Starting with the ATX/NLX form factor, the way the power switch works has been changed altogether. Instead of using a physical switch connected to the power supply, on modern systems the power switch is electronic. It connects to the motherboard, using a feature called soft power. So on an ATX system, when you press the power switch, you aren't really turning on the power supply; it is more like sending a "request" to the motherboard to turn the system on. With an ATX/NLX, SFX form factor supply however, the power supply would sit there waiting for a "turn on" signal from the motherboard! This is not much of an issue for most personal PCs, but is a big problem for business Servers. To solve this problem, some high-end power supplies include an Auto-Restart feature that powers up the system immediately when the system detects that there is a power failure. External Voltage Selector Switch PC power supplies support 110V input, 220V input or both. Dual-voltage supplies normally have a selector in the back that controls which voltage you are using. There are also some supplies that will automatically support either 110V or 220V without a selector switch

Voltage selector switch. Warning: If your power supply does have a 110/220 switch, make sure it is set correctly. Running a power supply set to 220 on 110 V power will probably cause it just to not work, but if you set the switch to 110 and run it on 220 V, damage might result. Motherboard Power Connectors Let's look at the connectors, starting with the oldest style. The PC/XT, AT, Baby AT and LPX form factors all use the same pair of 6-wire connectors, usually called "AT Style" connectors. They are typically labeled either "P8" and "P9".

Drive Power Connectors The power supply provides power to internal hard disk, floppy disk, CD/DVD and other drives directly, through four-wire connectors that are designed to attach to the rear of each drive. The four wires provide +5 V and +12 V power, along with two grounds, to the various drives that use them. The connectors themselves come in two basic styles: The larger size, often called a Molex connector is keyed by virtue of the connector itself being "D-shaped", and is used on most internal drives, including hard disk, CD/DVD and the older 5.25" floppy disk drives.

Hard disk drive cable connector The smaller size, typically called a "mini-plug", is used for the newer style of 3.5" floppies. It is also keyed, but in a different way than the larger connector.

Large and small disk drive connectors. Power Supply Fan Since the earliest PCs, the power supply fan has been the Primary cooling source for the entire PC. Today's PCs of course incorporate additional cooling methods, including auxiliary fans and CPU cooling devices, but the power supply fan remains an important factor in the overall cooling equation. Most fans use +12 V power to operate, despite the fact that the wires that run to them are normally Red for the +12 V line, and black for the ground.

Power supply fan viewed from the inside of a tower AT form factor power supply.

A very important quality in fan consideration when it comes to PC cooling fans is the quality of construction of their Motors. Another quality consideration of a fan is how much air it can move. Many power supplies also have Automatic thermal control: they reduce or increase its Speed based on internal temperature.

A high quality, ball bearing fan this can be used as an auxiliary cooling fan. A PC that makes use of the optional fan monitoring signal FanM can detect a fan failure and sound an alarm to the user, or shut down the PC. A possible solution to a bad fan that does not involve opening the power supply is an add-on external fan.

An external, add-on cooling fan Power Supply Fuse A fuse is a device designed to protect other components from Accidental damage due to excessive current flowing through them.

Each type of fuse is designed for a specific amount of current. The current in the circuit is kept below this value. Inductor An inductor is essentially a coil of wire. When current flows through an inductor, a magnetic field is created, and the inductor will store this magnetic energy until it is released. In some ways, an inductor is the opposite of a capacitor. While a capacitor stores voltage as electrical energy, an inductor stores current as magnetic energy.

Diode: A diode is a device, typically made from semiconductor material, that restricts the flow of current in a circuit to only one direction; it will block the current that tries to go "against the flow" in a wire.

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