[sdiy] use pc psu's as EMI chassis for synth modules

megaohm megaohm1 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 28 00:47:48 CET 2010

Good ideas!

I have an armful of these empty shells. I've been using them for power
supply pieces. I keep the IEC and switch, throw a fuse in and it acts
as the front end to my PSU's. I run wires out of the back hole and
hook those to the actual supply. I like my power supplies outside the
cab. I put them in old computer towers (metal towers) and stick them
under the table the cabs sit on.
  I have one of the PSU shells with an entire Power One +5V supply inside.
Definitely useful pieces to have around.


On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 2:32 PM, cheater cheater <cheater00 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi guys,
> I've had a look at those old broken power supplies that will never
> come to life, and I have had the perfect idea - you can use the
> chassis for something nice! It's much shorter than one dotcom unit,
> and a bit wider. More like 1 1/2 dotcom unit wide, or just under 2U of
> MOTM. Still, most of the modules could probably fit in very easily.
> Pro's:
> - the module is nicely shielded from others and from outside interference
> - the module gets some nice thermal stability
> - if the module gets very hot, you can mount a Noctua P12 fan
> (inaudible) and cool it
> - the module is sturdier. It can sit on a shelf without you fearing
> that the fragile PCBs will be destroyed.
> - the module doesn't have wires sticking out! Installing new modules
> and messing about inside a synth while it's turned on is not a problem
> anymore
> - generally, electrical safety is a big plus.
> - you get a nice, sturdy frame for your module.
> - the metal is usually just thick enough to be sturdy, but it's thin
> enough to be easily punched.
> Cons:
> none
> OK, those things are big, but then you don't have to use em for every module.
> Regarding panel size etc: you can have one of several options:
> 1. use this size as your modular's panel size. Easy.
> 2. Dotcom: Use a cheap plastic panel and mount it to the chassis
> stand-offs of about 1". This does two things: it gives you space to
> mount front-panel controls; and additionally, if your module
> front-panel is not as wide as the ex-powersupply chassis, you can
> mount another, shallow, module next to it
> 3. Dotcom: use a cheap plastic panel and simply screw it onto the chassis.
> 4. Dotcom: take one row of your Dotcom chassis, and fill it with
> modules of exactly this height. Use the remaining space for mults etc.
> 5. Eurorack: The side plate is slightly higher than eurorack. It's
> also exactly 8 cm wide. Use the thing as a portable 4U eurorack synth.
> Or, if your modules are not deep at all, then you can use it as 7U.
> There's enough space there to house a small PSU as well, based off
> e.g. a couple laptop power supplies (they have very flat toroids).
> Even better, you get an IEC plug, and usually a fuse holder, so that
> you don't need to take care of that.
> 6. Fracrack: same as Eurorack. Houses 1U of a deep module, or nearly
> 2U of fairly shallow modules. Having a tiny amount of overhang
> (0.125") on the side shouldn't bother anyone.
> Happy hacking!
> D.
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