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What is a picoPSU?

By ·Categories: Tech Explained·Published On: August 8th, 2022·1.6 min read·

As the name would suggest, a picoPSU is an ultra small DC-DC power supply designed for use with embedded PCs and small form factor motherboards such as nano-ITX or mini-ITX boards. Plugging directly into the motherboard’s ATX connector, a picoPSU can provide up to 160 W of power, allowing ample power overhead for many of today’s Mini-ITX systems. In addition to standard power supplies, there are picoPSUs designed for wide input and automotive applications.

What are the Advantages of using a picoPSU?

Because of their size, fanless design and high efficiency, a picoPSU is a great choice for small form factor (SFF), active or passively cooled (aka fanless) computers. Many small form factor systems require less than 30 Watts of power. picoPSUs are an increasingly popular choice for a wide range of hardware projects because they are:

  • Small – Most picoPSUs are about the size of 2 AA batteries – less than 2″ wide and 1.5″ tall.
  • Fanless – They make no noise and there’s no fan to potentially fail due to dust or other airborne debris.
  • Universal – picoPSUs can be utilized by nearly all platforms with a standard ATX connector.
  • Highly Efficient – These tiny PSUs average between 75% and 90% power efficiency depending on the application.
  • Free of Excess Cables – The power supply plugs directly into the ATX connector.

picoPSU showing connectors

How to install a picoPSU

Because of the direct plug-in design of a PicoPSU, installation is very simple.

  1. Slot the picoPSU into the ATX connector on the motherboard and ensure it is fully seated and clicks into place.
  2. Attach the SATA and/or 4-pin molex connector to your drives.
  3. Connect a 12 VDC power adapter (or any 12V source) to the DC-to-DC connector (center pin/white wire is positive)

Explore our PicoPSU selection and if you are looking for more information on small form factor industrial computers, contact a solution specialist today!

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About the Author: Sarah Lavoie

Sarah Lavoie is a content creator for OnLogic. When not writing, she can usually be found exploring the Vermont landscape with her camera looking to photograph something amazing.