PicoPSU 160xt cable mods

rsjo

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Nov 13, 2016
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In the process of building a mini itx system using PicoPSU 160xt i wanted to make some modifications to the wires/cabling. Having never done anything like this before i have a few questions that overall falls into the 3 headlines below.

Shortening the CPU power cable - 4 pin EPS female connector
I would like to shorten the cable that connects the PSU to the motherboard and also replace the 4 pin EPS female to one that is black (this connector).
What type and size of cable would i need for that? I dont know much about AWG but it seems like AWG18 is generally used for this type of load?

Extending the power cable
The cable that is soldered onto the PSU - the black/white cable - is 10-15cm too short. I would like to avoid soldering a new pair directly on the PSU but i dont know what would be the best option for extending such a cable? Obviously the same AWG type as it ships with (which i dont know what is?) but can i simply cut the wire and extend with new cable and solder them together?
I would also like to replace the white 4 pin EPS connector it uses with a black one so my thinking was that i would cut the wire somewhere in the middle and then take the new wire and terminate in the new black 4 pin EPS and solder the other end to the original cables.

Extension cable for 6 pin EPS - powering a GTX 1060
I am trying to avoid having any connectors between any of the devices from the PicoPSU and for the 6 pin EPS that connects to the GTX 1060 i wanted to use this pin if that is a fit and then an extension cable like this where i would cut it at the molex and instead terminate it in that 6 pin EPS connector.
I am a bit worried about that "header connector" and if that is suitable for transporting that amount of power which i think is 60-80W. The EVGA GTX 1060 that i have states 3+1 under "power phase" which i assume means 3x12v and a ground?
On some if these cables that goes from e.g. 4 pin molex to 6 pin EPS i see there are some extra "bridges/loops" on the 6 pin EPS. Is that to distribute the 12v across multiple pins to lessen the load and would that be required if i where to take those 4 wires from the header on the PicoPSU and connect directly to a 6 pin EPS?

Thank you in advance
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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What type and size of cable would i need for that? I dont know much about AWG but it seems like AWG18 is generally used for this type of load?

If you're unsure, then 18AWG is a safe bet for the cable lengths and amperage you're dealing with.

Obviously the same AWG type as it ships with (which i dont know what is?) but can i simply cut the wire and extend with new cable and solder them together?

The wire should be labeled so you can see what gauge it is. Once again, 18AWG would be a safe bet.

To splice wires without soldering, this guide by @Josh | NFC may be of use:


I am a bit worried about that "header connector" and if that is suitable for transporting that amount of power which i think is 60-80W.

That connector is only rated for 3A, so 3A x 12V = 36W.

One way around it would be to use the 12V line from the hard-wired strand and combine that with the 12V from the modular connector and that should be safe. You'd have to double up one of them, preferably the soldered wire since it should have a bit more current capacity.
 
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rsjo

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Thank you for your assistance!

I looked at the power cable and it's AWG16 so ill get some of that.

One way around it would be to use the 12V line from the hard-wired strand and combine that with the 12V from the modular connector and that should be safe. You'd have to double up one of them, preferably the soldered wire since it should have a bit more current capacity.

I'm not sure i understand what the hard-wired strand refers to? Would that be the black/white cable going from the power-brick to the PicoPSU?
 

Aibohphobia

aka James
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Feb 22, 2015
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You're right, I didn't look at the picture of the other side and had it in my head that it was soldered for some reason.
 

rsjo

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Im beginning to wonder if i am better off with the HDPLEX 160W DC-ATX PSU instead of the Pico as my understanding is that it's capable of a much higher load on the 12V rail which should be able to support a GTX 1060 with e.g. 80% TDP target and a slight "undervolt"?

I have the entire setup up and running now and im using the 2 x 4 pin headers on the Pico to power the 6 pin EPS connector on the GTX 1060 (2 x Molex to 6 pin EPS) but im getting system resets even as low as 130W total power draw.
This only happens in Furmark - it resets within a few seconds even at 130-140W load. I have had DOOM running with max settings and a total power draw of 178W for 2 hours and no crashes... Same with Tomb Raider where i played 3 hours with a 168W peak and no issues what so ever.

When i had the system running with a GTX 1050 ti card the max power draw would be 160W running Furmark + Intel Burn Test or Prime95 and it would not crash even after 12+ hours.

Ill try and rule out the GTX 1060 by powering it with a regular 550W ATX PSU as the card might have some defect that only shows in Furmark.
If that works i guess it has something to do with the Pico PSU and total power draw and them im back to my first question in this post:

Would the HDPLEX 160W DC-ATX combined with the 192W brick from the Pico 160XT kit be more ideal for this kind of setup?

I saw a post where @Aibohphobia had this setup running but im not sure if that was with a GTX 1060?

Thanks -
 

rsjo

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doh - just noticed that on their product page...

trying to do some damage control so i dont have to buy a full on new PSU + brick set for this to work but it seems like that is the case.
 

Thehack

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doh - just noticed that on their product page...

trying to do some damage control so i dont have to buy a full on new PSU + brick set for this to work but it seems like that is the case.
Im beginning to wonder if i am better off with the HDPLEX 160W DC-ATX PSU instead of the Pico as my understanding is that it's capable of a much higher load on the 12V rail which should be able to support a GTX 1060 with e.g. 80% TDP target and a slight "undervolt"?

I have the entire setup up and running now and im using the 2 x 4 pin headers on the Pico to power the 6 pin EPS connector on the GTX 1060 (2 x Molex to 6 pin EPS) but im getting system resets even as low as 130W total power draw.
This only happens in Furmark - it resets within a few seconds even at 130-140W load. I have had DOOM running with max settings and a total power draw of 178W for 2 hours and no crashes... Same with Tomb Raider where i played 3 hours with a 168W peak and no issues what so ever.

When i had the system running with a GTX 1050 ti card the max power draw would be 160W running Furmark + Intel Burn Test or Prime95 and it would not crash even after 12+ hours.

Ill try and rule out the GTX 1060 by powering it with a regular 550W ATX PSU as the card might have some defect that only shows in Furmark.
If that works i guess it has something to do with the Pico PSU and total power draw and them im back to my first question in this post:

Would the HDPLEX 160W DC-ATX combined with the 192W brick from the Pico 160XT kit be more ideal for this kind of setup?

I saw a post where @Aibohphobia had this setup running but im not sure if that was with a GTX 1060?

Thanks -

Furmark is a power leech test. It's not meant to be a realistic load. So if it passes your gaming session, it should be fine. For longevity, you may want to lower the power limit on the GPU a lil' bit.
 

zhl146

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Jul 14, 2016
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Note that the the brick is the bottleneck for the pico setup, not the DC-DC converter. Switching to a HDPLEX or other DC-DC converter will not help. You should be able to run the 160XT + included brick using a 1060 if you power limit/underclock. You could also get a different brick such as the new G-unique sets.

Another thing to note: If you use a 12V PSU, you can connect it straight to the GPU if you want to circumvent going to the DC-DC unit as GPUs use 12V only.

You can definitely extend the 12V power wires by just slicing them and splicing in a longer wire. I have done this with no problems. I use 16AWG for the 12V in and 18 AWG everywhere else.
 

Tek Everything

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Dec 25, 2015
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I am running a 7700/1060 with an HDPlex 160W in my system at the moment. It handles it with no problem. You wouldn't have to underclock/volt the 1060. I acutally have mine OC'd.

I tried running the a 6700/960 off of a Pico/192W brick combo last year. Even with the power target set to 75% I was still seeing some system instability when there were load spikes. I suppose there could have been an issue with my brick, but that is what I experienced.

The 160 does get significantly hotter than the Pico under heavy load, and sits very close to your RAM.
 

rsjo

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Just to rule out any bad components i tried powering the rig with a regular 550W Corsair ATX PSU and everything runs fine (furmark, linpack) and never goes above 165W.

Also tried another Pico 160-XT (same brick) and that still resets.

The reset happens even as low as 140W and it only happens when i run furmark or furmark + linpack / prime95.
I am running the PCIE 6 pin plug from the 2 headers on the Pico unit so im guessing that somehow the 12V rail get's overloaded and then it resets.
I dont think it's the brick when the reset happens at ~140W but maybe it's a faulty brick? I've used this setup with a GTX 1050 ti running at a sustained ~160W load for 12+ hours without any resets so overall the Pico + brick should not reset at 140W.

Looking at the thread where @Josh | NFC runs the HDPLEX 160W with a 1070 he mentions that:

"The PICO 160XT can do the same, but not safely without a tricky re-wiring."

What is that re-wire trick?

Looking at the Pico 160-XT vs HDPLEX 160 the Picos stated 12V rail peak is 15A and max 8A where as the HDPLEX 160 states 15A max and 20A peak which seems to be the reason for why this might actually be a much better solution for a setup that requires 6 pin PCIE?

At this point im asking to learn what is going with my current setup but i have ordered an HDPLEX 160W yesterday and will run that with a DELL 230W brick to hopefully get a stable system i can put into my S4 Mini.

Even with 2 games running stable it bugs me that the system might reset some time in the future so i really dont want to start building everything into the case and fitting cables before i know it is rock solid.

Thanks!
 

robbee

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Sep 24, 2016
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Are you sure you're not pulling too much current through the pico connectors? AFAIK, those tiny JST connectors are only rated for 3A. It's probably safer to split the 12v from the brick output without it going through the pico.
 

rsjo

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I don't know to honest but I might be. I thought the GPU would pull 75W from PCIE and whatever else it needed from the 6pin EPS?
It resets even at 50% TDP but I
Might be drawing to much from those JST.
Could I measure that using a voltmeter?

Where would I split the 12v from the brick? Just at the plug that connects to the pico and then into it's own 6 PIN EPS?
 

Josh | NFC

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Sorry you are having so much trouble, rsjo!

With the advent of the HDPLEX 160, I am definitely retiring the Pico for all but the smallest builds. If I had seen your thread sooner, I would have recommended that.

The question is do you want a fix or do you want to figure out why your setup isn't working. I'm curious myself, but suspecting your card's 6 pin adaper, your card's stability, or your brick. I wonder if they make the bricks like they used to...

Anything is possible, but I am not thinking your PATA lines are an issue for your setup. They are extremely wimpy but the bunny ears on your DC jack coupler will far exceed them in heat long before the PATA lines start to heat up. My most recent test has been my 1070 + 6700K overclocked MELTER system to see what the Pico can handle one last time before I retire it. No issues running off a Meanwell brick. I also know from past experience that you can run a 6790 and a 980X off a Pico for a good long while (You absolutely should not, it will cause a fire).

So to me I am fairly confident that unless you have a bad unit, which I have never seen (maybe someone else has), you will want to look at the brick, 6 pin adapter (resets at 50% TDP), or the card--though from your tests the card is sounding OK. Maybe measure it's load while using your ATX psu.
 

EdZ

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May 11, 2015
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New Just to rule out any bad components i tried powering the rig with a regular 550W Corsair ATX PSU and everything runs fine (furmark, linpack) and never goes above 165W.
If the Pico is working fine when powered by an ATX supply rather than the brick, then it's likely to be the brick that is the issue. When using DC-DC with a 12V AC-Dc solution, then the AC-DC solution has to be effectively all the work in handling load spikes from the CPU & GPU. A power supply designed to handle rapidly varying loads (ATX PSU, Meanwell 12V line, etc) can do this, but many (if not most) laptop bricks cannot.
I thought the GPU would pull 75W from PCIE and whatever else it needed from the 6pin EPS?
Most GPUs are designed to draw as much as possible from the PEG connectors rather than the PCIe slot power. In the case of the 1060, Tom's testing shows a pretty equal draw of ~60W from the PCIe card-edge connector, and ~60W from the PEG connector(s). You can also see from Tom's testing that while the average power draw is 120W under load, it can easily spike momentarily to above 140W.