Do-It-Yourself Solar-Powered PC: Hardware

Major Differences Among Hard Disks: WD Comes Out Best

When it comes to energy consumption from hard disks, there are major variations among makes and models, with a range of 3 to 10 watts.

Hard disk energy consumption at idle, and when copying files" /> As you'd expect, the hard disks with the lowest energy consumption are 2.5" notebook drives. We skipped those for our solar-powered PC, however, because we wanted to use standard desktop components throughout.

Among the 3.5" hard disks, the WD1600AAJS - built around a single disk platter - fares particularly well when the system is idle. Because most hard disks are idle most of the time, we chose this drive for that very reason. Its 160 GB capacity is fine for our solar-powered PC, but the 320 GB WD3200AAJS consumes the same amount of power when idle, so it could have just as easily been used instead.

We chose the WD1600AAJS

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12 Volt Solar-PC-System
ComponentIdleMax load
PSU5.00 W14.20 W
CPU8.49 W38.66 W
Cooler1.00 W1.00W
Motherboard7.78 W19.71 W
RAM6.06 W6.23 W
HD5.93 W7.59 W
Total:61.23 W115.60 W
max. 160 Watt Custom PSU
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  • Raigedas
    i bought this M2-ATX PSU (actually to of them). but i was unable to start it.

    1. first quick question: is it possible to start (for testing purposes) the PSU without connecting it to the computer? is it enough to short circuit J8 only to start?

    2. docummentation is unclear about 10 (J6). it looks like J6 is purely for controlling stereo amplifier. but other place of the manual says "if J6 is cnnected to the motherboard". where to motherboard?

    3. how should PSU be connected?
    for testing i have taken 12V 7Ah lead acid battery fully charged.
    connected battery "-" to J4.
    battery "+" to J1.
    J3: tried to leave not connected and tried to connect battery "+".
    disconnected power switch cable from motherboard and connected it to J9.
    connected J8 with motheboard (using little cable included in the package) where power switch was originally connected.
    left J6 not connected.
    J10 not connected (P0 mode). also tried P1 mode.
    connected ATX and P4 (J2).
    pressed power on my pc but nothing happened and no voltage on MOLEX cable.

    could authors of the article (or maybe other owner of the PSU) describe how did they start the PSU?