How To Pick The Right Power Supply

 

Here are 5 of the best power supplies on the market… and one you should stay away from!

 (Image: © Flickr Commons Image via Nice Rack Canada)

(Image: © Flickr Commons Image via Nice Rack Canada)

When you pick the power supply, you need to consider these 3 key features. As many of the power supplies are different in size and specs, there are few key characteristics that you need to look into.

Many of the daisy chain power supplies which connect pedals in line, tend to have increased hum with each consecutive pedal you connect, therefore I don't recommend using any of those at all, even though the price might be motivating.

How to pick the right power supply?

Isolated Power

One of the most important "feature” you need to look into before buying a power supply, is whether it is isolated or not. If you have an issue with a noisy guitar rig, it is likely because of the source of power of each pedal, which is likely not isolated.

The fix is easy.

Power supplies with isolated power, as you might have guessed, provide each of the stomp boxes with an isolated source of power, which does not interfere with other pedals. This is especially crucial if you are running a high gain circuit with fuzz and overdrive pedals.

Size

If you are running a small board with 5 or 6 pedals, you are able to get a good power brick for a very reasonable price, which will not take too much space on your board. With the increased number of power sockets, the size of the supply increases too.

If you can't fit the power supply on top of the pedalboard, you might need to improvise a bit and fit it underneath the board. Depending on the weight of the brick, you can use either Velcro tape or in case the brick is too heavy, few screws.

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9V and 12V, negative and positive ground

Even though most of pedals are running at 9V, if you are looking into purchasing something larger, such as Dual Tube Overdrive pedal, you need to get a power brick that can support a 12 Volt power for such pedals.

Some of our picks provide you with 6 standard, 9V outputs and two extra 12V outputs.

You can find on back of your pedal, whether it is a positive or a negative grounded pedal. When a pedal is negative grounded, it means that the signal running through it is also negative.

If you connect a negative ground pedal, such as Fuzz Face, it will short circuit your whole board. You don't want that to happen!

In case you have a pedal with negative ground, get a separate power source or pick a power supply with an optional negative output.

Here are our picks for the best power supplies on the market.

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  1. T-Rex Fuel Tank Chameleon

    Price : 138Eur

Great value for a reasonable price if you are running a small board with only few pedals.

“This is a fantastic power supply with a lot of options for powering whatever you can throw at it. It's very neat and small and the range of cables included in the box really should cover everything. It buzzes a little, but imparts no sound on the audio signal. 

The only issue I have with this is the heat; it gets VERY hot. I'm running it on 230V, using 5 outs (9VDC only), but only drawing 1.1A of the available 1.5A, with none of the individual outs drawing more than 265mA. After an hour or so this gets so hot that it would burn your hand. It worries me to the extent that I won't leave this switched on unattended. For this reason it would be nice if it included an On/Off switch.”(review on Thomann.de)

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2. Strymon Zuma

Price : 275Eur

This will fit into every pedalboard with more pedals, and won't make them hum in the process.

“Previously i had one cheaper power supply for multiple effects, but it was daisy chain circuit and some effects were affecting other ones. And it also died in middle of gig so i started looking elsewhere. Then my eyes seen Strymon Zuma. 

Using it for last year as my go-to power station for 8 different pedals(EHX, Strymon, DOD, TS, Boss, TC electronic) and can't be more happy. 

There is no buzzing anywhere, build quality is amazing and all my pedals are happy with what they get. It's a bit pricey, but it's definitely worth every $. 

If you have money to get one, don't hesitate.” (review on Thomann.de)

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3. Woodoo Lab Pedal Power 4x4

Price : 198Eur

A bit cheaper alternative to Strymon power supply, with slightly smaller body.


”As soon as i opened the packing you can see that this power supply is quality built. 
I bought this one after reading a lot of positive reviews and i can say that i had no issues since getting the power supply. 
Settings up your pedals according to the power needed is quite simple and without any issues. 
The only thing i would recommend is being careful if you plan on drilling holes in your pedal board the attach the power supply. 
Make sure you dont cover the air cooler of the power supply. 
Otherwise a great buy,would definitely recommend it. (review at Thomann.de)”

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4. Harley benton PowerPlant Junior

Price: 29Eur

This tiny "PowerPlant” will provide you with enough power for a small board if you are in need of something less pricey. It won't get much cheaper than this!

“The five 9V DC ouputs are all tip negative, as most pedals require, and are ideal for powering a reasonable sized selection of pedals. Each output is isolated from each other, so this stops ground loops forming, which usually result in obnoxious hum. 

A good selection of power cables are provided. There are two sets of standard DC cables (5 short and 5 long), terminated with barrel connectors (right angle at one end and straight at the other). Having both lengths make for neater wiring on a pedal board, without excess cable needing to be coiled up. A "Y" cable is supplied, for powering pedals that need more than 120mA of current. Lastly, a daisy chain cable is included so you can power more than 5 pedals. Some pedals suffer less with ground loops, and the daisy chain will work for those. 

In use, my pedals are super clean and quiet with the PowerPlant Junior. It's a huge improvement over batteries, a daisy chain cable, or using multiple power supplies. 120mA per output seems fine for my pedals. It might struggle on some power hungry pedals but the current doubler cable is there for those situations. The standard 120mA output powered a digital delay of mine with no problems.” (review on Thomann.de)

5. Voodoo Lab power mondo

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price: 269EUR

This analogue circuit gives you everything you need to a large sized pedalboard. Three 12V outputs will power all the large effects you are running and all of them are isolated, so you will not be left with any unnecessary hum.


”Voodoo Lab has been in the pedal powering business for quite some time now, and still delivers. 

What I especially like about their product line is that every output starts from 9V, but can still deliver increased voltage - either through the dip switches, or by combining outputs through their special cables. 
This makes that every output has a potential usage. While it may seem convenient from other manufacturers to provide 18V outputs, such outputs might be wasted if you only have 9V effects on your board. 

The unit is perfectly silent and, as can be expected, each and every output is isolated. 
Lastly, their customer support is excellent. Their response to my inquiry was fast, clear, friendly and with a sincere undertone to really want to help me along with my question.” (review at Thomann.de)

…but stay away from this power supply

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Mooer micro power

Price: 66Eur

This power supply is not worth the money, unless you are running only micro pedals, which are mostly not worth the money either.

Unless you are looking for a very small option to power few micro pedals, you should not waste your money with this supply. For the price, you can get regular, islovated power supply which can support up to 8 pedals without any noise or buzz.

If you got this pedal recommended at guitar centre, find a new one.

Share this with someone who is about to buy a power supply!