S4M + HDPlex400 brickless - powering & grounding

kyjol

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Aug 26, 2019
9
1
Hi Guys,

I've been lurking for a while without an account trying to find information for my new build (already have the case + PSU), but got stuck.
I've read through a bunch of posts that clarified a lot, but also added to more confusion in the process. I would like to admit to being a complete idiot when it comes to electricity, so please be gentle with my perhaps redundant questions.

My understanding so far:
1) HDPlex400 comes with C8 and C14 connectors, of which:
- C8 is bad, bad! no proper grounding @ brickless, asking for trouble
- C14 is good, but doesn't fit (requires to dremel into the case)
2) An alternative is to use 3-pin aviator connectors, soldering the right cables to the right pins, and be grounded:
- GX16, requires dremeling (12mm mounting points in S4M)
- GX12, should fit as-is
3) Putting in a 'mickey-mouse' C6 connector

Pretty straightforward so far, however... some doubts:
1) I was not able to find any GX connectors in my country that didn't look fishy/low quality, and even these were scarce, the availability looks low in general.
Does anyone know of a reputable source within the EU?
2) Any technical difference between GX16/12, i.e. in terms of supported current, or is this only a question of size?
3) I was looking for C14 power cables and these are barely available as well?
The most common cable I found is this:
>>> C14 Cable <<<
What the hell am I supposed to do with that...? There's no wall-plug...?
4) Will the mickey C6 fit into the S4M as-is or dremel action needs to happen? If so, to what extend, just making the hole for C8 taller?

TL;DR
I need a grounded cable, a GX connector seems impossible to aquire, C14 power cables are not a thing - they all look designed for use with an external brick and not wall-pluggable? Also not sure if C6 is viable and what amount of dremeling it requires.


Can someone please help? I've got very limited time to assemble this build before I hit the road, it's meant to be a travel rig, which is why I need it to be grounded, shielded and proper as I will be in places where the quality of the line can vary.
I'm not new in the world of ITX, previously I have successfully built in a SG13, and my current setup is within a ZABER Sentry 1.1. The Sentry is great, however it's 3x as heavy and 1/3 as big as the S4M, and as I've found out during travel every little bit counts.
 
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kyjol

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Aug 26, 2019
9
1
OK, I am an idiot - C14 is the male connector, C13 is female and I need a CEE 7/7 to C13 for power...

Now that that's out of the way, hopefully you guys can share some advice/experience on the other points.

/edit
I've found these 3-pin sets:
1) 2.6mm pins, but unknown diameter? It says max cable diameter 6.5mm but that's weird?
2) Looks like GX16?
3) Is this a GX12? Seems so from the diagram... would it work? Anything to look at specifically?

It seems they use the term 'industry connector' here, instead of GX(x)...
 
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Instran0

Master of Cramming
May 31, 2017
520
102
you don't use those power connectors, with a SkyReach 4 Mini.

you use a grounded C6 connector, which requires no modding.
 

kyjol

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Aug 26, 2019
9
1
you don't use those power connectors, with a SkyReach 4 Mini.

you use a grounded C6 connector, which requires no modding.

Thanks for the answer! Yes, I've looked into it as well, just edited my OP.

Is the C6 the same size as a C8 and will thus fit into the C8 mounting hole of the S4M? So it's just a matter of rewiring the C14 HDPlex connector onto the correct pins of a C6 and... done? Should I worry about the parameters? Most of these I see being 2.5A, but then C14 is 10A... why is this not a problem?

Something like this?

It.s 22.6x13mm, I just measured the C8 from HPlex and it's ~30x14mm...

I would gladly just order this from the NFC page:

but it's sold out since a longer while now :(
 
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Instran0

Master of Cramming
May 31, 2017
520
102
the new revision of SkyReach 4 Mini has been changed so its C6 connector compatible.

all you have to do is get this new revision.
 

kyjol

Cable Smoosher
Original poster
Aug 26, 2019
9
1
My S4M arrived last week, so I assume this is the revision I've got.

Managed to find a Schurter C6 connector on eBay and ordered that.
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Aug 16, 2017
1,182
1,175
My S4M arrived last week, so I assume this is the revision I've got.

Managed to find a Schurter C6 connector on eBay and ordered that.
Can you post pictures?
Been wanting to see how josh solves the mounting.
Here's panel mount C6 inlet dimensions:



So what you're looking at here is two things:

Screw hole distance: 30 mm
Panel cutout: 20x15.5 mm

Screw hole distance have to be exactly that.

If both is correct, than the socket can be mounted from the inside. edit: sorry it actually needs 22.5x77.5 mm to be mounted inside.

If the cutout hole is smaller, worry not, If both is correct, you can mount the socket from the outside, with a nut behind the frame.

For power cable lookup "IEC C5 power cable" or "cloverleaf power cable". They're quite common, being used for bigger laptop adaptors.
 
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R.Heart

Chassis Packer
Jun 19, 2019
15
6
Hello and welcome! I’m also new to this, just built mine within the last month (and still tweaking). I also use the HDplex 400, but I actually went with the c8. So far I see no indication of anything "bad" about this, but if you have some info to help clarify, I’m all ears. I attached the ground wire inside the chassis to one of the motherboard standoffs, but I have seen Josh take and not even do that— instead just tucking it away inside a wire sleeve.

I don’t have a watt meter or anything to check, but I’m 99% sure my power needs are below 300w. The c8 wire is rated for 125V at 2.5A, which should get me 312.5W total (power = voltage x current), and the HDplex is also “technically” rated for 300 without attaching the little fan that comes with it. If there is something I missed here, again let me know. I would like to know why the c8 is frowned upon. :S

Good luck to you on your build and your travels!
 

Instran0

Master of Cramming
May 31, 2017
520
102
Hello and welcome! I’m also new to this, just built mine within the last month (and still tweaking). I also use the HDplex 400, but I actually went with the c8. So far I see no indication of anything "bad" about this, but if you have some info to help clarify, I’m all ears. I attached the ground wire inside the chassis to one of the motherboard standoffs


C8 is not grounded, & can never be by definition.

you need at least 3 prongs on any connector, to be grounded.

C8 connectors only have 2 prongs.

it would be like if someone told you they had " hot " ice.

that's not possible, by definition ice can't be " hot " .
 

Thehack

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C8 is not grounded, & can never be by definition.

you need at least 3 prongs on any connector, to be grounded.

C8 connectors only have 2 prongs.

it would be like if someone told you they had " hot " ice.

that's not possible, by definition ice can't be " hot " .

Yup.

To be grounded means you're connected to the earth ground, the third prong on the outlet.
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Aug 16, 2017
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I attached the ground wire inside the chassis to one of the motherboard standoffs, but I have seen Josh take and not even do that— instead just tucking it away inside a wire sleeve.
Either way it's not connected to the house ground. Doesn't matter.
I would like to know why the c8 is frowned upon. :S
Floating ground is a phenomenon where a circuit's ground have a differing, usually higher potential than earth's ground.

In a properly isolated system floating ground is usually fine, as it doesn't get into contact with human.

But in a metal chassis, this means if you're grounded and you touch the chassis, a current can flow through you to the ground.

0.1 mA can be felt like a localised tingling or very small vibration.
0.5 mA can feel tingly and the sensation like it spreads under the skin.
1 mA is painful.
10 mA muscle spasm.
100 mA is entering dangerous ventricular fibrillation category.

A well designed SMPS (by definition should be a circuit isolated from mains so for simplicity we can say a minimum risk of ground fault) should have their ground close to neutral, so even if they are floating, the hazard is minimal. In fact some smaller wattage SMPS doesn't have ground input.

Some cheaper supplies is not, however, like those you'd find for led drivers or even diy CNC/Plotter/3D printers. These needs high power, low quality output (ripple wise) so expensive designs is usually out of spec. These need to and must be grounded at all times.

Because if you think about it, to have 0.5 mA run through you, a normal human with like, anywhere from tens to hundreds of kOhms resistance, it only needs floating ground potential of 10 to 50V to start feeling tingly.

A little related fact, powdercoating makes your metal chassis non conductive btw.
 
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R.Heart

Chassis Packer
Jun 19, 2019
15
6
Either way it's not connected to the house ground. Doesn't matter.

Floating ground is a phenomenon where a circuit's ground have a differing, usually higher potential than earth's ground.

In a properly isolated system floating ground is usually fine, as it doesn't get into contact with human.

But in a metal chassis, this means if you're grounded and you touch the chassis, a current can flow through you to the ground.

0.1 mA can be felt like a localised tingling or very small vibration.
0.5 mA can feel tingly and the sensation like it spreads under the skin.
1 mA is painful.
10 mA muscle spasm.
100 mA is entering dangerous ventricular fibrillation category.

A well designed SMPS (by definition should be a circuit isolated from mains so for simplicity we can say a minimum risk of ground fault) should have their ground close to neutral, so even if they are floating, the hazard is minimal. In fact some smaller wattage SMPS doesn't have ground input.

Some cheaper supplies is not, however, like those you'd find for led drivers or even diy CNC/Plotter/3D printers. These needs high power, low quality output (ripple wise) so expensive designs is usually out of spec. These need to and must be grounded at all times.

Because if you think about it, to have 0.5 mA run through you, a normal human with like, anywhere from tens to hundreds of kOhms resistance, it only needs floating ground potential of 10 to 50V to start feeling tingly.

A little related fact, powdercoating makes your metal chassis non conductive btw.

Thank you. I do have continuity at least through the mid-frame in my S4 (the shell pieces show open on my meter), is it too small in mass to function as a chassis ground?

In reading HDplex's own website, it says (tl;dr) the power supply is designed to handle itself without the need for a proper earth, so I'm at least confident saying you just don't need it. I mean, maybe unless you are running a 1080ti mini.
 

Instran0

Master of Cramming
May 31, 2017
520
102
Thank you. I do have continuity at least through the mid-frame in my S4 (the shell pieces show open on my meter), is it too small in mass to function as a chassis ground?

In reading HDplex's own website, it says (tl;dr) the power supply is designed to handle itself without the need for a proper earth, so I'm at least confident saying you just don't need it. I mean, maybe unless you are running a 1080ti mini.


dude, open up your case, and re-do the wiring with a C6 connector.

there's a reason why Josh | NFC made this new SkyReach revision C6 compatible.

ungrounded power is not safe.

dude, just re-do it !!!
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Aug 16, 2017
1,182
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Thank you. I do have continuity at least through the mid-frame in my S4 (the shell pieces show open on my meter), is it too small in mass to function as a chassis ground?

No you don't get it. The chassis is connected to the brick's case so the chassis have the potential of your system's ground. The mass doesn't matter.

But we're talking about ground as in earth's ground potential. Which your power company tie the ground cable going to your house, to, well, ground. Even your house might have the ground tied to actual ground rod buried deep below.

In this case, "grounding" your case means connecting the ground pin from your wall socket to your chassis. Which you do by using a three pronged plug.

Well anyway - your second point about hdplex is also correct, it seemed to be one of those adequately designed supplies which kept its ground close to neutral.

I cannot speak about the 400W unit since I only have and use the 160 (now 200) W unit, but I tried running my system without ground connected and tried grounding myself (best way I know is outside, barefooted on concrete floor) then touch the brick, I don't feel a thing.

So yeah one can say it may not be needed in this case, but the right way always have to be acknowledged. Otherwise people would start to downplay it and get bitten when they least expect it.

Personally my suggestion to people (@Thehack might disagree) is, below 200W, don't bother, otherwise, always ground your system.
 

Thehack

Spatial Philosopher
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Grounding is not aatr
No you don't get it. The chassis is connected to the brick's case so the chassis have the potential of your system's ground. The mass doesn't matter.

But we're talking about ground as in earth's ground potential. Which your power company tie the ground cable going to your house, to, well, ground. Even your house might have the ground tied to actual ground rod buried deep below.

In this case, "grounding" your case means connecting the ground pin from your wall socket to your chassis. Which you do by using a three pronged plug.

Well anyway - your second point about hdplex is also correct, it seemed to be one of those adequately designed supplies which kept its ground close to neutral.

I cannot speak about the 400W unit since I only have and use the 160 (now 200) W unit, but I tried running my system without ground connected and tried grounding myself (best way I know is outside, barefooted on concrete floor) then touch the brick, I don't feel a thing.

So yeah one can say it may not be needed in this case, but the right way always have to be acknowledged. Otherwise people would start to downplay it and get bitten when they least expect it.

Personally my suggestion to people (@Thehack might disagree) is, below 200W, don't bother, otherwise, always ground your system.

Grounding is not a matter of wattage.

Whether the psu is 200w or 400w, the same amount of AC potential is in your chassis.

Grounding is a matter of how exposed the electrical system is and the importance of safety.
 

R.Heart

Chassis Packer
Jun 19, 2019
15
6
..........Ahhh, huh. I admit my mindset was more.... "how does this affect functionality, efficiency, voltage sag, etc?" A quest for information, nothing more. I already put it together and not going to change what I did with the ground wire...... I see now that it is simply redundant, if anything.

As for the danger to life and limb.... I will promise you, your bare metal computer case is not going to shock and kill you without a ground. There's... a significant number of things that would have to go wrong first, and you will notice. Worst, it sets on fire, lets out the "magic smoke," etc. At best... it doesn't even power on, and hopefully the sense to unplug anything electronic before looking at it is common enough.... As Choidebu mentioned, a cheaper switching power supply won't have any protections, but by their very nature they will do a number of gymnastics to ensure and maintain a constant voltage output: 19Vdc to feed to the rest of the components. The "tingly" range at worst. Any danger would come from the AC side-- inside the AC-DC converter, and just don't stick your fingers in there and the chunky metal casing will protect you just dandy. There must be.... thousands of consumer electronics that only use 2 prongs-- stereos in particular are also high-wattage-- as well in many case use cheap plastic for the housing, which can be conductive. Unless you are getting the most cheapest phone charger or something from Aliexpress, you need not worry.
 

Instran0

Master of Cramming
May 31, 2017
520
102
..........Ahhh, huh. I admit my mindset was more.... "how does this affect functionality, efficiency, voltage sag, etc?" A quest for information, nothing more. I already put it together and not going to change what I did with the ground wire...... I see now that it is simply redundant, if anything.


so i don't wear my seatbelt while driving.

then i come to this forum asking if its safe.

then after everyone says its not safe, i state i'm still not wearing a seatbelt.

is there any point to this ??
 
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Thehack

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..........Ahhh, huh. I admit my mindset was more.... "how does this affect functionality, efficiency, voltage sag, etc?" A quest for information, nothing more. I already put it together and not going to change what I did with the ground wire...... I see now that it is simply redundant, if anything.

As for the danger to life and limb.... I will promise you, your bare metal computer case is not going to shock and kill you without a ground. There's... a significant number of things that would have to go wrong first, and you will notice. Worst, it sets on fire, lets out the "magic smoke," etc. At best... it doesn't even power on, and hopefully the sense to unplug anything electronic before looking at it is common enough.... As Choidebu mentioned, a cheaper switching power supply won't have any protections, but by their very nature they will do a number of gymnastics to ensure and maintain a constant voltage output: 19Vdc to feed to the rest of the components. The "tingly" range at worst. Any danger would come from the AC side-- inside the AC-DC converter, and just don't stick your fingers in there and the chunky metal casing will protect you just dandy. There must be.... thousands of consumer electronics that only use 2 prongs-- stereos in particular are also high-wattage-- as well in many case use cheap plastic for the housing, which can be conductive. Unless you are getting the most cheapest phone charger or something from Aliexpress, you need not worry.

You have some good points but I'd like to make a couple comments on them.

1. Stereos are not that high wattage. I assure you a modern high wattage one will use a third prong. A lot of the older designs aren't grounded just due to be an antiquated design. AC hand drills used to not be grounded, especially when they were made of a full casted metal design and are considered dangerous by modern safety standards.

2. The other thing is if the device is handled frequently and how exposed it is. If it is something you often handle then it becomes more important to add the third prong. If the chassis is exposed or in close to water, grounding prong. In hospitals, due to sensitive patients the safety standard is quite high, so there are stricter requirements there as well.

3. Plastic is non-conductive. Conductive, or semi-conductive plastic would not be cheap, since it requires to be painted or mixed with metals, which is more expensive than pure plastics. The issue with cheap plastic is when you need it rated for high voltage protection or heat/fire resistant.

4. Yes. You are quite right that the risk of injury is small with most consumer devices that uses AC, but the cost to add it is about 50 cents to $1, so I don't see the reason to skimp it.
 

R.Heart

Chassis Packer
Jun 19, 2019
15
6
so i don't wear my seatbelt while driving.

then i come to this forum asking if its safe.

then after everyone says its not safe, i state i'm still not wearing a seatbelt.

is there any point to this ??

I wouldn't say don't wear a seatbelt, I would say it's more like........ Most cars have a 3-point belt, and this is adequate........ Racing cars have a 5-point harness....... Sure it never hurts to have more, but you don't really need it on the day-to-day.
 

Choidebu

"Banned"
Aug 16, 2017
1,182
1,175
Agreed with @Instran0 here.You ask, we try to explain. What even is the point on asking then?

Like I said, you're probably fine without it but the right thing must be stated otherwise people will downplay it and get bitten when they least expected it.

A tingly for an adult is just an inconvenience at best. But what if you have a little kid? Or an elderly with a pacemaker? A weak heart in general?

You can do whatever you want with your system out of your own risk but please don't dismiss basic electrical safety publicly lest someone less educated than you make the wrong decision out of your dismissal.