Here's a summary of my power supply problems:
- With only 1 or 2 drives, I powered the thing off USB. No problems.
- When more drives and percussion came in, USB no longer gave enough power. I tried to use an external power supply, and this helped, but not by much.
- I then took an old ATX power supply, hooked that up to a Pi and used that to power the thing. This worked, but eventually I accidentally broke the power supply from too little current. Whoops.
- I then went to the flea market and bought an old second hand power supply, dirt cheap. This one was more blown up than the previous one, and looking at the internals, it's not too surprising why:
- Desperate to get this project working, I decided to perhaps buy the cheapest knockoff no-name Chinese brand PSU money could buy, but decided against it when realising that even those were still pretty expensive, and could blow up even more dramatically from the lack of safety features for cost cutting. It would also go against the spirit of recycling in this project.
Finally, I got an old PSU from a friend. This time, using load resistors to keep the power supply alive. This works. I can finally run my floppy drives. Hurray!
Those load resistors get pretty hot though. They're rated 10W and each has about 7.5W going through them, but even when zip-tied to the fan they get up to 95 degrees celsius, or 203 fahrenheit!
Admittedly, that's not the ideal heat sinking method, but it's better than nothing.
Progress wasn't completely stopped while I lacked power, though. I've completely overhauled major parts of the control software. It can now work with any number of floppies, any number of floppy/percussion controllers, and any number of 3D printers and/or CNC routers (and other devices that accept G-code though the standard Serial protocol). I only own one CNC type device though, so I can't test this yet. The whole note mapping system's been redone as well, but I'll discuss this in detail in another project log once I know it's all working properly.