Concept Project Thundercreck | Designing an 200W - 400W active cooled ac-dc brick.

Thehack

Shrink Way Wielder
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Mar 6, 2016
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I have also thought about pursuing such a project.

It's AC-DC brick. Generally concerning safety factors, an external brick is expected to have more safety features. For example, the Meanwell bricks are fully sealed and thus double insulated (physically and electrically isolated). So the expectation is that it's a highly safe device. I think the DIY community has an expectation of higher risk but it's something to think about.

The other is that you'll have to properly spec a high current 12V wire assembly. In such low quantities it's fairly expensive. The XT60/90 is very popular but dual contacts leaves no room for a safety factor. A couple users have experienced a melted connector housing, likely to a bad contact. The lack of positive lock doesn't help each other. The solution is to use an 8-12 pin connector assembly, like GX-16 12 pin or Mini Fit Jr. Low quantity assemblage is expensive, and you'll need to have good quality control.

Finally, external bricks are less and less popular nowadays. When I originally designed the Distro 400, many people were considering using a brick. With the release of the HDPLEX 400W AC-DC, external powered builds have dropped off a cliff. You do need to reach a critical quantity of buyers before it makes sense.

So it is a bit of uphill factor. If you're willing to finance it and have enough buyers, I can work with you with my PicoPSU design. The M2427 picopsu is actually compatible with the MW without additional costs for higher wattage units. Customized picopsu would be around $40 and fully compatible with up to 500W. You will need a secondary filter board for the 500W version due to the high ripple. Up to 400W you need wire assembly or a breakout board to supply all the mini fit jr connectors, but otherwise, it is much cheaper than a $100 HDPLEX 400W.
 

CC Ricers

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Nov 1, 2015
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I'd like a brick that is versatile enough for interior mounting. Nothing crazy just have screw holes/points but hey some people are just find velcro-ing to the side of their case. My Seasonic Flex PSU is hit-and-miss so far and replacing it with an EPP 300 would be ideal but then I'll also have to buy a HD-PLEX 400W DC or the G-Unique now cuz it's probably cheaper XD
 
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graphichasan

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Jun 26, 2019
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I'd like a brick that is versatile enough for interior mounting. Nothing crazy just have screw holes/points but hey some people are just find velcro-ing to the side of their case. My Seasonic Flex PSU is hit-and-miss so far and replacing it with an EPP 300 would be ideal but then I'll also have to buy a HD-PLEX 400W DC or the G-Unique now cuz it's probably cheaper
interesting ..... Drawing is not the final design .... but hey a lot small & reliable as Mean-Well unit compared to other 330W bricks .... is active cooled with a 80mm sp fan ..... so should be dead silent ... never thought about mounting on the side of the case

I'd like a brick that is versatile enough for interior mounting.
you talk about versatility! 😉 my thought with this that I will add a pcb to filter ripple & balance load of 1/1, 1/1.5 & 1/2 ratio from 2 different bricks .... so much so that we can build with 300W now .... then later just add a 500W unit & you get yourself a 800W capable upgrade without paying for full replacement 800W unit .... I believe desktop should be all about upgrade ... 😁
 

graphichasan

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Jun 26, 2019
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The other is that you'll have to properly spec a high current 12V wire assembly. In such low quantities it's fairly expensive. The XT60/90 is very popular but dual contacts leaves no room for a safety factor. A couple users have experienced a melted connector housing, likely to a bad contact. The lack of positive lock doesn't help each other. The solution is to use an 8-12 pin connector assembly, like GX-16 12 pin or Mini Fit Jr. Low quantity assemblage is expensive, and you'll need to have good quality control.
I thought of going with Mini Fit Jr for 400W unit like dell 330W brick using mega-fit molex connector ... they give about 23A per line to play with ... so 550W spike with 4pin connector should not be a issue & also with 12awg 4 wire & 22awg for 2 signal wire .... total of 6pin connector for 500W with 550W spike ....

Finally, external bricks are less and less popular nowadays. When I originally designed the Distro 400, many people were considering using a brick. With the release of the HDPLEX 400W AC-DC, external powered builds have dropped off a cliff. You do need to reach a critical quantity of buyers before it makes sense.
I think this is due to how bulky & costly dc-dc with external bricks can be .... also the reliability & availability must be a factor ..... we can come close to a sfx psu prices ..... but cannot beat an sfx psu's pricing with quality component's. what we can destroy a sfx is in upgrade-ability & modularity ... A 400W sfx system need to upgrade a 800W sfx to work at cost of $90(400W) + $280(800W) .... while our set-up can use $50(pico) + $100(400W brick) ..... then down the road just buy an additional +$100(400W brick) .... & you get yourself a 800W system ... on total $370 for sfx upgrade while our's at $250 ....

You will need a secondary filter board for the 500W version due to the high ripple. Up to 400W you need wire assembly or a breakout board to supply all the mini fit jr connectors, but otherwise, it is much cheaper than a $100 HDPLEX 400W.
That is the molecularity & upgrade-ability I am talking about ...
 

graphichasan

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Jun 26, 2019
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The other is that you'll have to properly spec a high current 12V wire assembly. In such low quantities it's fairly expensive.
Buddy wire cost is no factor .... at 4 feet 4x2.5rm cable will cost less around $2 .... with BRB Cables (beast in our region) .... that cable compo can easily handle 20A per core at 4feet with voltage drop of 0.20V .... but kind of wearied about mega-fit molex connectors .... if some body could hook me up to them for 1k price quote .... that would be grate ...
 

Necere

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Feb 22, 2015
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That fan won't be doing much with a small gap between it and the shell. I'd recommend adding some ventilation holes in front of the fan itself. Or downsize to a 60mm and put it on the end.
 
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graphichasan

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That fan won't be doing much with a small gap between it and the shell. I'd recommend adding some ventilation holes in front of the fan itself. Or downsize to a 60mm and put it on the end.
v0.20 is on the way with airflow improvement's & separate rail mounting system for strip down version to mount internally .... less cost, less diy, less hassle, happy life ... 🥳
 

graphichasan

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Finally some good news ..... we are working on a load shearing circuit with Mosfet/BJT that can auto detect & share the load on daisy-chain configuration up to 3 bricks ..... with a sli like 2 cable sense line form brick to brick .... like a 100W + 200W + 300W = 600W. But the problem is that we can not get it at it's full rating at 600W without overloading one .... currently this config can handle 20-30W less at ~570W ..... what do you think guys ...
 

duynguyenle

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Aug 20, 2019
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Finally some good news ..... we are working on a load shearing circuit with Mosfet/BJT that can auto detect & share the load on daisy-chain configuration up to 3 bricks ..... with a sli like 2 cable sense line form brick to brick .... like a 100W + 200W + 300W = 600W. But the problem is that we can not get it at it's full rating at 600W without overloading one .... currently this config can handle 20-30W less at ~570W ..... what do you think guys ...
TBH 600W is probably enough to cover most CPU+GPU combos out on the market right now assuming you're not going balls to the walls overclocking (my tower at home with and overclocked 8700K and 1080Ti rarely ever pulls more than about 450W under unrealistic 'power virus' type workload) so 600W I think should be enough to power anything you'd consider fitting into an SFF enclosure
 
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graphichasan

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I have a question. do you let the brick to stay on all the time? how does it turn off?
Working on a load switch .... currently yes .... always on .... will have 6pin out to connect on pc .... 4pin will be for 12v + Ground & other 2pin is for +5vbs & PS_ON sense line .... but that is not final yeat .... now working with load shearing & ripple fieltaring for MeanWell units with max 400mv ....
 
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graphichasan

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TBH 600W is probably enough to cover most CPU+GPU combos out on the market right now assuming you're not going balls to the walls overclocking (my tower at home with and overclocked 8700K and 1080Ti rarely ever pulls more than about 450W under unrealistic 'power virus' type workload) so 600W I think should be enough to power anything you'd consider fitting into an SFF enclosure
Yeap .... As you see I plan is to have 200W, 300W & 400W model ... so you can mix match anything up-to 800W .... same circuit just difference on resister values .... Also we are having 400W model anyway ..... so why not go "balls to the walls overclocking" .... Removing the barrier of power limit on sff pico build is my goal ....
 

graphichasan

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Revision 0.2 Concept & AC-DC Brick Design is here .. Please take a look & help me with some boundaries .... Please do not forget to ask question & any feature that I am missing ....

Boundaries / Help :
  • Need help with filter guys. UNIVERSAL AIR FILTER CO. seems to be producing Hydrophobic Mesh Air Filters. Which is a vary good solution.
  • But not able to connect with them. Need to know 1k pricing.
  • Please help me with any other idea's & Filters.


Project Thundercreck
400W active cooled ac-dc brick || Mini 6L Awesome Workstation
Why there is not much hype on active cooled ac-dc brick ? doesn't they make cases more smaller ?