Power source from Dell server power source - RC Groups
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Apr 30, 2012, 11:51 AM
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Power source from Dell server power source

Hey guys. I've seen a few people build power sources from a server power source and figured I could do the same. I bought a dell DPS-500CB to get 500W out of it. I'm not charging up anything large, typically 3-4 cell <3000mah. My original power source just up and died, so I figured I'd replace it with this setup.

I got the power source in the other day, but can't seem to pull any power off of it... Would anyone have an idea of what's up or how to figure it out? (I'm nearly power illiterate). I've attached the power pin's and plugs below (a picture when I get home tonight, the little pin count may not be right). The left two big ones seem to be connected to each other (when I put a connection tester on these together my light turns on) and the same for the right two.

Thanks in advance for any help and/or direction!

Oh, a friend showed me this, which is where I got the idea...

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Apr 30, 2012, 02:10 PM
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Never mind. I asked our techy at work and he found me an rcgroups thread with the solution in minutes! I'm thinking something is up with the 'search' feature on this site, b/c I did a search and nothing popped up...
Apr 30, 2012, 10:18 PM
Registered User
For future reference, I would never recommend anyone go modding a PSU unless they know /EXACTLY/ what they're doing. Mains power is dangerous and you can literally kill yourself mucking about inside a power supply -- especially a high-powered one that would be a prime target for cannibalization for R/C use.

OP probably needed to install a switch that grounds one of the pins on the PSU to turn it on. Most don't have switches on them these days, and even the ones that do require this "soft on" switching. http://pinouts.ru/ has pinout diagrams for most common connectors used in computers and misc. electronics.

If you look around on a certain auction site, you can find Dell power supplies in 1100w, 1200w, 1400w...for under $100, so I understand why this is such a popular mod. If you're thinking about doing this, please please PLEASE just be very careful and have a qualified EE or local friendly hackerspace help you before you even pull the cover off one of these bad boys.

Also, get a good Digital Multi-Meter (DMM.) I like the Fluke 15B, which is an export-only model (though you can get them cheap again on a particular auction site), but even a cheapy from Harbor Freight (under $10) could save your life.
May 01, 2012, 12:04 PM
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ttabbal's Avatar
The nice thing about server supplies, is you usually don't have to open them up. Just jumper a couple low-voltage pins on the back. You don't mess with the mains line at all. They also have much more capability on 12V, which is what we generally want in RC. Though some people want 24V for the big chargers. Those do require opening things up. Hit the batteries and chargers forum here on RCG, there's a huge thread about server PSUs and how to activate many popular models, as well as figuring out new ones.
May 17, 2012, 08:47 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the help and advice. If only using 12V you don't have to open it up at all, so the risk is pretty minimal. Three pins needed to be wired together in order to turn the power supply on, but once that was done it was great. I spent 9$ and now have a capacity of 42 amps with little to no soldering. It was great.

Thanks again.


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