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Running a PRO100 at 13.6VDC

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    Running a PRO100 at 13.6VDC

    I have a PRO100 S4 and would like to run it from a 12V power system instead of 120VAC and the AC adapter. The problem is that the 12V system varies from about 12.3 to 13.6 volts. The spec on the PRO100 motherboard is 12V +/- 5% which would be up to 12.6. Would running it at 13.6 cause a problem?

    Well if it is running out of spec then that spec is there for a reason, who knows what will happen, could run OK or could melt something. If I had a device that expensive then I would want some sort of regulation if the voltage varied a lot. Is this in a car or something? If it is then there is a lot more to think about than just the voltage, all sorts of nasties happen in car electrics.


      Nope it's not in a car.

      I live on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington in a semi remote forested area and we have LOTS of power bumps and outages lasting from a few minutes to several days and sometimes a week or two.

      What I'm doing is converting my entire system from 120VAC primary power to 12VDC. I've been working toward this for years. Almost every component in my system runs at either 5, 9 or 12VDC. I've already done away with all of the 5 and 9 volt wall warts by using regulators from my 15Amp 12V Astron power supply. The Astron puts out 13.8 volts so as to keep my bank of batteries charged. I use this device > to provide the automatic switching from the power supply to the batteries when we have a power bump or outage. I am setting up a new battery bank with deep cycle marine batteries. I'm shooting for 24 hours of run time. (I'm also thinking about putting in an automatic back up generator to replace my manual lug it out of the garage generator.)

      So, now I want to get my two microITX boxes off of the 120VAC which is why I started this thread. I contacted the manufacturer of the PRO100 board yesterday (actually one of their reps) and found out what I already suspected which is, as you suggested, running the board at 13.6 (as measured at my distribution panel) could cause a dissipation problem. I'm fishing for a way to do this which is why I started the thread.

      The combo of the Astron and battery bank provides a voltage between about 12.3 and 13.65 depending on whether the system is running from the power supply or the batteries. I am using this a Samlex Battery Guard BG-40 to cut off the power when the battery gets down to about 12.3 volts. This does not provide enough head room for a regulator to provide a constant 12 volts for the computers and other equipment that requires a regulated 12V supply. There needs to be at least 3.5 volts headroom. I need a switching power supply to boost the voltage.

      I think I have found a good solution by using a DC to DC step up converter (switching power supply) such as the DROK DC Converter Voltage Regulator sold by Amazon followed by a 12V regulator. With this combo and a few added protection diodes, I will be able to power both my PRO100 and my other microITX box from my 12V power system.

      By the way, if anyone is interested, I discovered the manufacturer of the PRO100 case and motherboards and where you can get them.

      -- greg


        Very interesting setup, in my next house my intention is to go 12v LED on all of the lighting to avoid any problems with power outages (which to be honest is very rare) but I think it has other benefits not just for power outages.

        I think your approach sounds the best, even dropping a diode across the supply would give between 11.6v - 12.9v which is just outside of the top limit (12.6v) and I am not sure you would really want to dissipate that amount of power through one.


          I received a couple of DROK DC Converter Voltage Regulators. Their build quality is ok and they work great. Very simple to use. They have a pot to adjust the output voltage. I will be adjusting it to boost the 12V supply system by only about 4V. Using these along with a good regulator such as a LT1084CT provides a stable and protected 12V with better than .1% regulation. Using just a diode drop would probably work but it would stress the microITX onboard regulator a bit and it wouldn't be as safe from over and under voltage situations. I'm not sure of the reliability I'm going to get from the DC Converter boards, so having the additional regulator ensures that the costly computers won't be damaged.