What is a picoPSU?

Related Terms: Pico Power Supply

What is a picoPSU?

As the name would suggest, a picoPSU is an ultra small DC-DC power supply, designed for use with small form factor motherboards and embedded PCs. Plugging directly into the motherboard's ATX connector, a picoPSU can provide up to 160 W of power, allowing ample power overhead for many of today's Mini-ITX systems. In addition to standard power supplies, there are picoPSUs designed for wide input and automotive applications.


What are the Advantages of using a picoPSU?

Because of their size, fanless design and high efficiency, a picoPSU is a great choice for small form factor, active or passively cooled computers. With many SFF systems requiring less than 30, or even 10 W of power, picoPSUs are an increasingly popular choice for a wide range of hardware projects because they are:

  • Small - Most picoPSUs are less than 2" wide and 1.5" tall.
  • Fanless - They make no noise and there's no fan to potentially fail due to dust or other airborne debris.
  • Universal - picoPSUs can be utilized by nearly all platforms with a standard ATX connector.
  • Highly Efficient - These tiny PSUs average between 75% and 90% power efficiency depending on the application.
  • Require Fewer Cables - The power supply plugs directly into the ATX connector.

How To Install a picoPSU

Because of the direct plug-in design of a PicoPSU, installation is very simple.


1) Slot the picoPSU into the ATX connector on the motherboard and ensure it is fully seated and clicks into place.


2) Attach the SATA and/or 4-pin molex connector to your drives.


3) Connect a 12 VDC power adapter (or any 12V source) to the DC-to-DC connector (center pin/white wire is positive)


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