2000€ of pedals for 10€ of power supply ? Wondering how to choose your power supply so that your pedalboard is powered in the best way? When you start to have a few pedals, it is necessary to have an adapted power supply, to avoid all kinds of noise problems, or pedal dysfunctions. In this article, we will guide you towards the solution that best suits your needs, offering you various power supplies solutions adapted to what you want to do! know your pedals Before choosing the right power supply, you first need to know the needs of each of your pedals! We’ll give you 4 points to check for each of them, to make sure you never make mistakes. voltage Voltage is usually the first thing you look at on a pedal. It is measured in Volts (V). Usually it is noted next to the power connector, and this value should always be respected. If you apply more, the pedal may burn out, and if you apply less, it may not work correctly. Most pedals operate at 9V. Some manufacturers allow a voltage range ( for example 9-18V) to get more headroom, but if this is not indicated, it is strongly not recommended! direct or alternating current The next thing to check is if the pedal operates in direct (DC) or alternating (AC) current. Most pedals are DC, and the few pedals that still run on AC usually come with their own power supply. The symbols for alternating and direct current. polarity The polarity concerns the pedals running on DC, that is to say the majority! As the connector has 2 terminals, the polarity indicates which one is connected to the “+” or “-” of the power supply. For most electrical devices, the convention is to have the “+” in the center of the connector. But a clever guy once had fun doing the opposite for pedals! As a result, most pedals nowadays have the “-” in the center of the connector, although there are still a few exceptions. So be careful with power supplies found in supermarkets or at the bottom of a cupboard! A pedal powered with the wrong polarity has a big chance to burn out. It is better to use the ones designed for effect pedals, and check that the polarity symbol on the power supply is the same as on the pedal. The 2 symbols are very close, but pay attention to the polarity! current Current is measured in Amperes (A), but since effects pedals are low power consumption, it is more often measured in milliamps (mA), a milliamp being 1000 times less important than an ampere. The important thing to remember is that a power supply only provides the current that the pedal needs. We often hear “if I connect a 50mA pedal to a 2A power supply, the pedal will burn out”. But it doesn’t work like that! The current written on a power supply corresponds to the maximum current it can give. By connecting a 50mA pedal, the power supply will only give out 50mA, even if it is written 2A on it! You should therefore choose a power supply with an indicated current higher than the sum of the currents of all the pedals. If you have checked these 4 points on your pedals, then you can be sure that you won’t make any mistakes! We can move on to the next part. a summary of the power supply technologies We wrote a whole article about power supply technologies in detail. But we’ll summarise it quickly so that you know the essential differences between the power supplies on the market. galvanic isolation Galvanic isolation is made with a transformer. Each output, or output block, has its own transformer, so there is no electrical connection between the isolated outputs. The input and output of a transformer are 2 separate coils that transmit power to each other. There is therefore no electrical connection between them. The big advantage of this technology is that it avoids ground loops between the pedals, which acts as light antennas. So no noise coming from the outside (electrical devices near the pedalboard, electromagnetic waves…). On the other hand, transformers operate on AC, which means that the AC/DC conversion is done directly in the power box. The 50/60 cycle from the mains socket runs close to the pedal outputs, and can be captured by radiation. It is an audible frequency, which is responsible of the famous “hum” noise of electrical devices. Galvanic isolation also does not allow very high currents at the output, which makes it impossible to power pedals that require a lot of current. switched-mode power supply This is the technology we decided to go with. It works in DC, so we can do the AC/DC conversion in an external housing, away from the power supply and the pedalboard. Then, we have a chip on each output or output block which cuts the signal at high frequency (inaudible frequency) to drop the voltage to the desired value. with the switched-mode power supply, the radiation of the 50/60 cycle can be moved away from the pedal power supply unit. This chip makes it possible to create a pseudo-isolation, i.e. each output is isolated in voltage, but still has a common ground. So we have a ground loop unlike galvanic isolation, but we still avoid perturbations between the pedals. And above all we completely suppress the 50/60 cycle responsible of the ” hum ” noise, which is a much more important source of noise than the noises that can be picked up by the ground loop! In addition, the switching makes it possible to obtain higher currents at the output, enough to power the most demanding pedals. choose the correct power supply We’ll help you to choose the best power supply solution, depending on the board you have or plan to make! analog pedals You only have 3 or 4 analog pedals? In that case, a power supply like the 1 Spot with a daisy chain is more than enough! Analog pedals require very little current, usually a few dozen mA, and are not a source of noise. So if you don’t have a lot of them, you don’t need a power supply with isolated outputs. bunble true tone 1 spot | the inexpensive solution to power up to 8 pedals! 39,00 € Add to cart the positive ground This is a rare case that mainly concerns a few vintage fuzz pedals. The electronics in the pedal do not take the “-” of the power supply as a reference, but the “+”. This is an even different case than polarity inversion, which requires that the ground of the pedal be completely isolated from the other pedals. Many people power these pedals with a battery, as they often consume less than 10mA. To use a power supply, you need galvanic isolation with a transformer, so either a 1 Spot dedicated only to this pedal, or use a power supply with galvanic isolation, like most Cioks. cioks dc10 | the best seller with 10 outputs 219,00 € Add to cart cioks dc5 link | 5 adjustable outputs! 149,00 € Add to cart 1 Spot – 9V guitar effect pedals power supply | True Tone 24,90 € Add to cart digital pedals Do you have a mix of a few analog and digital pedals? Digital pedals consume more than analog pedals (a few hundred mA). But above all, they can be a source of noise, which will diffuse into the power supply and to other pedals if they are not isolated from each other. The solution would be to use a 1 Spot with a daisy chain only for analog pedals, then one 1 Spot per digital pedal. This can be expensive, cumbersome and not very practical. Otherwise, you can do things more properly and invest in a small power supply unit. Any power supply unit is suitable for this! K+ daughterboard power supply – bundle 179,00 € Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating Read more fx power source – 8x 9v – full kit 129,00 € Select options cioks dc5 link | 5 adjustable outputs! 149,00 € Add to cart tube pedals and preamps We’re coming to the most current-consuming pedals! Pedals with tubes generally require around 1A and even 2A in some cases, so you need a power supply that can do the job! That’s why we’ve managed to ensure that our power supplies can draw as much current as possible. K+ power source – premium bundle 449,00 € Read more K+ daughterboard power supply – bundle 179,00 € Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating Read more K+ motherboard power supply – bundle 279,00 € Read more space pedalboard Do you collection pedals of all kinds? You need a complete power supply with enough outputs for all your pedals. We propose you the Cioks Ciokolate, limited in current but enough for most pedals, with AC outputs. Or our K+ bundle, if you have a tube preamp or a pedal that requires a lot of current. On top of that, you have 2 modules, which you can position wherever you want on your board, or make 2 separate boards that you can link together! K+ power source – premium bundle 449,00 € Read more cioks ciokolate | for those big boards with variable needs 360,00 € Add to cart to sum up We give you a table to summarize which power supply you should choose according to your needs. And don’t forget to always check voltage, polarity and current on a pedal before plugging it in! score / 101 spotcioksfx power sourceK+bundle K+3-4 analog pedals105831analog + digital0851010moderated effets loop083510tube pedals5001010pedalboard from space038710we score a ratio between performance and quality/price You are also invited to watch this tutorial made by the wonderful Colin Scott, it will be very helpful for you to understand it all!