ATX Power Connector (4-Pin) Breakout Hookup Guide

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Contributors: bboyho
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Introduction

Do you need to power a project with 12V and 5V from one wall adapter? The ATX power connector breaks out the standard 4-pin computer peripheral port for your 12V and 5V devices!

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Board

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Board

BOB-15035
$1.95
SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Kit - 12V/5V (4-pin)

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Kit - 12V/5V (4-pin)

KIT-15701
$14.95

Required Materials

To follow along with this tutorial, you will need the following materials that are included in the kit. The components can be ordered individually if you decide to solder header pins or wires directly to the board. You may not need everything though depending on what you have. Add it to your cart, read through the guide, and adjust the cart as necessary.

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Kit - 12V/5V (4-pin)

SparkFun ATX Power Connector Breakout Kit - 12V/5V (4-pin)

KIT-15701
$14.95

Tools

You will need a soldering iron, solder, and general soldering accessories.

Soldering Iron - 60W (Adjustable Temperature)

Soldering Iron - 60W (Adjustable Temperature)

TOL-14456
$14.95
7
Pocket Screwdriver Set

Pocket Screwdriver Set

TOL-12891
$3.95
5
Solder Lead Free - 15-gram Tube

Solder Lead Free - 15-gram Tube

TOL-09163
$3.50
2

Suggested Reading

If you aren’t familiar with the following concepts, we recommend checking out these tutorials before continuing.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Connector Basics

Connectors are a major source of confusion for people just beginning electronics. The number of different options, terms, and names of connectors can make selecting one, or finding the one you need, daunting. This article will help you get a jump on the world of connectors.

What is a Circuit?

Every electrical project starts with a circuit. Don't know what a circuit is? We're here to help.

Electric Power

An overview of electric power, the rate of energy transfer. We'll talk definition of power, watts, equations, and power ratings. 1.21 gigawatts of tutorial fun!

Polarity

An introduction to polarity in electronic components. Discover what polarity is, which parts have it, and how to identify it.

12V/5V Power Supply Hookup Guide

In this tutorial, we will replace the 12V/5V (2A) power supply's molex connector with two male barrel jacks adapters.

Hardware Overview

ATX Connector Side

The board has the option of soldering a 4-pin right angle ATX power connector.

Right Angle 4-Pin Connector Highlighted on Breakout

Depending on your application, you may want to add a vertical connector. Have no fear! The PTH pads were adjusted so that a 4-pin vertical connector can be added. Just follow the dashed silkscreen that outlines the perimeter of the connector.

Vertical 4-Pin Connector Highlighted on Breakout

5mm Screw Terminals

On the output side of the breakout, there is a spot for two 2-pin 5mm screw terminals.

5mm Screw Terminal for Output

Breadboard Compatible Pins

There is also an option of adding vertical or SMD right angle header pins if you need to connect the breakout to a breadboard or jumper wires. Just keep in mind that the amount of current the headers can handle is less than the screw terminals.

Straight or SMD Right Angle Headers

Board Dimensions

The board is 1.33in x 1.35in and includes four mounting holes to secure the board on a panel or enclosure.

Board Dimension

Hardware Assembly

You'll need to solder the connectors of your choice to the breakout. If you have not soldered before, check out our tutorial below for tips!

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

September 19, 2013

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Soldering the Input Connector

You'll need to decide on an ATX connector to solder on the breakout board. The board is compatible with both right angle and vertical connectors. We'll be using the right angle connector since the board is available in SparkFun's catalog. When inserting the right angle connector, make sure to insert the support legs first before inserting the pins into the through hole pads.

Insert Support Leg into Breakout Sliding Pins into Breakout
Insert Support Leg into Breakout Sliding Pins into Breakout

Once you have chosen the ATX connector of your choice, solder each pin to the breakout.

Soldering Connector

Your board should look similar to the image to the left for the right angle connector. If you happen to have a vertical connector from a different distributor, your board should look similar to the image on the right.

Right Angle Connector Soldered Vertical Connector Soldered
Right Angle Connector Soldered Vertical Connector Soldered

Soldering the Output Connector

Depending on your application, you can solder screw terminals or header pins to the breakout. With the screw terminals you can easily secure fork connectors or wires. If you choose the screw terminal route, you may need to strip wires before tightening the screws down for each respective pin. Should you decide to solder straight header pins, you can insert the board into a breadboard or protoboard. There is also an option to solder right angle SMD headers to the board as well depending on your application. Below are a few configurations depending on the connector and header that you choose. Remember, the SparkFun catalog only has the right angle connector available.

Screw Terminal or Headers Soldered on Breakout for the Output

Power Supply Options

Below are options where you will encounter the 4-pin connector.

ATX Power Supply

ATX power supplies usually have a number of power connectors available to power components for a desktop computer. The connector of interest in the image below is the second connector from the right. This 4-pin power connector is intended to power 12V and 5V computer peripherals (such as disk drives). Depending on the manufacturer of the power supply, the quantity of each connector can vary. If you want to grab some juice for your project from this type of power supply, you'll need to connect the breakout board to this port.

ATX power supply with power connectors

Image Courtesy of User "Smial" on Wikipedia

12V/5V (2A) Power Supply

Certain wall adapters also take advantage of this standard 4-pin port like the 12V/5V (2A) power supply in the catalog. If your project requires either/both 12V and 5V for power you can also connect the breakout board to this power supply.

4-Pin ATX Connector and Wires Inserted to Breakout Board

Examples

Once you have chosen your ATX power supply, you're ready to give your project some life! You can use the board to help power your microcontroller and LEDs from either side depending on your application. Check out the following tutorials below for examples of using a 12V/5V power supply.

RGB Panel Hookup Guide

Make bright, colorful displays using the 32x16, 32x32, and 32x64 RGB LED matrix panels. This hookup guide shows how to hook up these panels and control them with an Arduino.

Touch Potentiometer Hookup Guide

Learn how to use the SparkFun Touch Potentiometer to control lighting, volume or other inputs in your daily life.

Large Digit Driver Hookup Guide

Getting started guide for the Large Digit display driver board. This tutorial explains how to solder the module (backpack) onto the back of the large 7-segment LED display and run example code from an Arduino.

Building a Safe Cracking Robot

How to crack an unknown safe in under an hour.

Resources and Going Further

For more information, check out the resources below:

Need more inspiration for your next project? Check out some of these related tutorials that uses the 12V/5V (2A) power supply.

How to Build a Remote Kill Switch

Learn how to build a wireless controller to kill power when things go... sentient.

12V/5V Power Supply Hookup Guide

In this tutorial, we will replace the 12V/5V (2A) power supply's molex connector with two male barrel jacks adapters.

Or check out some of these blog posts about power supplies.