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Author Topic: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking  (Read 10442 times)

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Offline Jon Chandler

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Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« on: May 05, 2012, 04:10:35 AM »
Kensington and iGo both make universal power supplies that can be used to power various devices using special tips to configure voltage and current settings.  I've often wondered if these could be hacked to use as lab supplies.  A recent find of a Kensington 70 watt supply led me to do some experimenting.

I'm happy to report that both of these power supplies can be used as low-cost bench power supplies with adjustable voltage and current limiting.  The Kensington types in particular are great building blocks for simple knob(pot)-controlled to more featured microprocessor-controlled supplies.

Kensington supplies provide 0 - 25 volt outputs at up to 6 amps.  Voltage and current are each controlled by a pair of resistors in a voltage divider arrangement.  A digital pot or DAC output can easily control these supplies.

iGo makes two types of supplies - a laptop supply and an "accessory" supply.  The second is what I experimented with.  It's more limited with a 3.1 - 9 volt range at up to 1.5 amps.  Voltage and current are each controlled with a single resistor.

The details can be seen here:

Kensington Supplies

iGo Supplies

Either type of supply can be bought new for $15 or less.  Add a few parts and you can have a nice bench supply.
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 04:44:41 AM »
Hmm, i'll try and find one of them in my city  :o

Man, kensington no longer sells them so no go.
If anyone is willing to sell me one, i'm all up.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 04:53:55 AM by Dave.S »
http://the4thpin.comeze.com <-- Rants and Reviews! sorry my english  :palm:
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 06:50:50 AM »
I dug up an old Belkin Universal Adapter I had and it was identical right down to the pin-out of the connector.  These instructions worked beautifully.  Unfortunately I killed a component whilst trying to tear it apart. Can someone help me figure out what the little coil next to the mains inlet labeled 470 is?  I want to try my hand at replacing it.



Says made in the USA!!!




In this pic you can see the component I broke;


BigER pics here;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thespeedphreak/sets/72157629973057051/
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 07:11:33 AM »
Hmm, i'll try and find one of them in my city  :o

Man, kensington no longer sells them so no go.
If anyone is willing to sell me one, i'm all up.

Here you go Dave.  I just ordered 2 for myself.
http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Kensington-33336-Wall-Ultra-Portable-Notebook-Power-Adapter/2628463/product.html
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 08:12:58 AM by terabyte »
 

Offline sonicj

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 07:23:45 AM »
i made something similar out of a targus 90w supply a while back. its adjustable from 15 - 24V, but i don't recall pins for current. i'll have to take another look....
-sj
 

Offline T4P

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 07:33:36 AM »
Hmm, i'll try and find one of them in my city  :o

Man, kensington no longer sells them so no go.
If anyone is willing to sell me one, i'm all up.

Here you go Dave.  I just ordered 2 for myself.

Send me a message. How much did you pay for it?
http://the4thpin.comeze.com <-- Rants and Reviews! sorry my english  :palm:
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2012, 08:12:29 AM »
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2012, 08:15:11 AM »
I dug up an old Belkin Universal Adapter I had and it was identical right down to the pin-out of the connector.  These instructions worked beautifully.  Unfortunately I killed a component whilst trying to tear it apart. Can someone help me figure out what the little coil next to the mains inlet labeled 470 is?  I want to try my hand at replacing it.



Says made in the USA!!!




In this pic you can see the component I broke;


BigER pics here;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thespeedphreak/sets/72157629973057051/

Its just an inductance or choke if you are old like me. 470 micro Henry I would think.
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2012, 08:36:33 AM »
Its just an inductance or choke if you are old like me. 470 micro Henry I would think.

Thank you sir.
 

Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2012, 04:18:54 PM »
I've heard these things are pretty fragile when out of the case.  I'm going to leave it intact and connect it via the cable.
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2012, 05:08:27 PM »
its pretty much useless outside of its case
fragile is an understatement
 

Offline george graves

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2012, 06:39:19 PM »
Whats with all the ICs?

Offline SeanB

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2012, 07:21:13 PM »
Those are active switches, used to improve conversion efficiency by removing the diode drop.  Nice PCB planar transformers there, that board must be multilayered, 12 at least, to get the primary side small enough to fit in the layering under the ferrite caps.
 

Offline george graves

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2012, 07:24:09 PM »
12 layer ?   :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

I'm wondering if it would be a good starting point for a programmable power supply.

Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2012, 03:32:53 AM »
12 layer ?   :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o

I'm wondering if it would be a good starting point for a programmable power supply.

Ummm...what can I say....wait, I already did!

...The Kensington types in particular are great building blocks for simple knob(pot)-controlled to more featured microprocessor-controlled supplies...
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2012, 04:13:50 AM »
Sorry I meant to post the link; http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Kensington-33336-Wall-Ultra-Portable-Notebook-Power-Adapter/2628463/product.html

I paid $35 for 2 shipped to my door.

These came in and they worked a treat.  Same coloring on all the wires.  With no load @ 24V and a short going through the Fluke 87V I got a hair over 7Amps, it got pretty warm and you could hear the high frequency switching very clearly whilst doing do.

 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2012, 04:40:33 AM »
Good thread.  I just bought one of these to fool around with.
 

Offline DaveAvr

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2012, 03:53:12 AM »
I've been messing around with these thing for a couple of years now. I've opened three of them to build programmable supplies. All three are now dead two because some random wire on my bench would fall into the board and make it pop. One mechanic while breaking open the case. There are a couple of very good reasons for getting them opened however. One is they cool much better. I added a heat sink were they ran hot. In there case you will find that they start to shut down due to heat if run at full power for a long time. The other advantage to getting inside there is that there is a continues 12V available (approximately) that is nice for running your programmable supply electronics. You'll find that voltage near the 12V input connector.

So there you go. Good Luck. If you are careful and don't make the same dumb mistakes I made you can gain something by breaking one open. But don't blame me if it breaks.

Cheers,
Dave
P.S. If some one needs a part contact me I have spares.
 

Offline terabyte

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2012, 11:52:21 AM »
I've been messing around with these thing for a couple of years now. I've opened three of them to build programmable supplies. All three are now dead two because some random wire on my bench would fall into the board and make it pop. One mechanic while breaking open the case. There are a couple of very good reasons for getting them opened however. One is they cool much better. I added a heat sink were they ran hot. In there case you will find that they start to shut down due to heat if run at full power for a long time. The other advantage to getting inside there is that there is a continues 12V available (approximately) that is nice for running your programmable supply electronics. You'll find that voltage near the 12V input connector.

So there you go. Good Luck. If you are careful and don't make the same dumb mistakes I made you can gain something by breaking one open. But don't blame me if it breaks.

Cheers,
Dave
P.S. If some one needs a part contact me I have spares.
THanks for sharing.
DaveAVR where are you located?  I need one of those 470 mH chokes on the inlet side of things.
 

Offline DaveAvr

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2012, 11:05:37 PM »
terabyte - Contact me with a private message and your address and I'll drop one in the mail. You can buy me a beer next time your in Oregon. - Cheers, DaveAvr
 

Offline krivx

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2012, 11:37:10 PM »
Has anyone made any measurements on the outputs? I'm curious about the quality of the regulation, switching noise etc.
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2012, 01:40:30 PM »
Has anyone made any measurements on the outputs? I'm curious about the quality of the regulation, switching noise etc.

Mine arrived today.  Here's a no-load scope trace before I go to bed.
 

Online IanB

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2012, 11:01:43 AM »
I got a few of these from overstock.com to experiment with.

The ones that actually arrived were model number 38004. It says 120 W max on the case, but 90 W continuous in the specifications. I guess there are 30 extra marketing watts thrown in for good measure.

I don't see an obvious way to open it. Any hints? Is the case welded shut?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2012, 11:16:12 AM »
The shiny top panel is held on with strong sticky tape.
 

Offline MikeK

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Re: Kensington and iGo Universal Power Supply Hacking
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2012, 11:21:55 AM »
Okay, that appears to be a ruse.  I got it off and no screws underneath.
 


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