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How to make a worldwide ColecoVision power supply for around $30-$40+ (some may be able to make one for under $30 if they have spare parts laying around).

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Over a year ago I wrote a brief article on how to make a ColecoVision power supply using a ATX power supply for around $60 (or around $35 if one does not have to pay $20 for the Coleco power cord and $5 for cable supplies). Since for several years now ATX power supplies are no longer being made with the -5 volts DC feature. This means other styles of power supplies need to be used when making a ColecoVision compatible power supply.  


*** Warning the following enclosed switching frame power supplies have open power terminals that need some type of protective case or cover so that one does not by accident touch the 120 volt or 240 volt section of the incoming AC line and gets electrocuted. Also only experienced technicians that are skilled in making power supplies should attempt to make their own power supplies, since if one by mistake touches the high voltage section of the power supply, they could get electrocuted ***


The first solution is to use the Mean Well RQ-65B power supply


The top of the line Mean Well RQ-125B offers both -5 volts DC at 1amp for the ColecoVision and -12 volts DC at 0.5amps for the Commodore Amiga. However since the current price of this Mean Well RQ-125B power supply is around $40 after shipping. One may perfer a cheaper power supply at almost half the price since we are trying to keep cost low for this project.


The advantage of using the Mean Well RQ-65B power supply is that it only costs $23.94 with free shipping on Amazon. Also the Mean Well RQ-65B has -5 volts DC at 0.5amps which is enough to power almost everything connected to the ColecoVision including Expansion Module #1 the Atari 2600 adapter. Also, the Mean Well RQ-65B offers -12 volts DC at 0.5amps for the Commodore Amiga computer. The Mean Well RQ-65B is an auto sensing power supply with a voltage range of 88-264 volts AC. North American consumers will need to purchase this 6 feet AC power cord with spare lugs for $3.99 plus shipping. If one does not want to spend the time and remove their existing ColecoVision power cord from the Coleco power supply. The other option is to purchase one of the new 2019 high-end ColecoVision compatible power cords from an Amazon or EBAY dealer for around $13 if purchased in QTY. So, the total price of this Mean Well power supply solution is around $40 or around $27 if you use your existing Coleco power cord that is removed from the Coleco power supply.


One negative with this Mean Well power supply: Most switching power supplies on the market like the old fashion ATX power supplies have exact regulated voltages of 12 volts DC, - 5 volts DC, and 5 volts DC that are almost exactly the voltage that is on the power supply label. What I did not like about the Mean Well RQ-125B and RQ-65B is that they have an adjustment knob, since the power supplies do not put out an exact regulated voltage. For example on the Mean Well RG-65B the voltage for +5 volts DC and +12 volts DC are not a constant and require a adjustment with a screw driver. Only the -5 volts DC is regulated and stays the same on the Mean Well RG-65B and is always -4.99 Volts DC when measured with my Fluke meter. For example, adjusting the voltage for +5 volts DC has a range between 4.52-8.81 volts DC. Adjusting the voltage for 12 volts DC has a range between 11.36 to 14.56 volts DC. To make matters worse the voltage adjustment changes both the 5 volts DC and 12 volts DC at the exact same time (there is no separate adjustment). The best setting I found is to adjust the Mean Well RQ-65B rail to 5 volts DC, and then the 12 volt rail will be 12.55 volts DC. For several weeks the ColecoVision worked fine at 5 volts DC, 12.55 volts DC, and the fixed -4.99 volts DC. However, I prefer the quality of regulated ATX power supplies that put out the exact voltage with no adjustment needed. But they do not make ATX power supplies with the -5 volts DC feature anymore.      


My experience using the Mean Well RQ-65B for several weeks. I like the Mean Well RQ-65B since it has safety certifications like UL listed, CE certification for Europe, and other safety certifications. The power supply is exempt from the DOE level VI requirements because it is designed to be enclosed in a protective case and is not classified as an external power supply. I also like the automatic input voltage regulator for 88-264 volts AC. I connected the Mean Well RQ-65B up to my ColecoVision and when I was not using it for games, I was running 24 x 7 stress tests on the ColecoVision for several weeks. After several weeks the RQ-65B was flawless using the ColecoVision including the Expansion module #1 and Roller Controller. However, I did notice once and awhile that when connecting the Roller controller at the same time the ADAM Expansion module #3 memory console is connected, that I would see some slight screen distortion. However, the ColecoVision power supply was never designed to use the ADAM computer. And the Digital Data Drive will not work with any known ColecoVision power supplies and requires a dedicated ADAM computer power supply. If one really wants to use the Expansion module #3 ADAM computer with their ColecoVision, they might want to consider getting the higher-end Mean Well RQ-125B power supply since that power supply offers 1amp for the -5 volts DC rail which is better than the 0.5amps offered on the RQ-65B. The Mean Well RQ-125B is almost double the price at around $40 after shipping.


I tested the Retro Arcade US MH-16A


The Retro Arcade US MH-16A is offered on EBAY for $19.49 with free shipping. And the current (AMP) specs are comparable to the top of the line RQ-125B except for the Retro Arcade does not offer -12 volts DC which is used on computers like the Amiga. For a under $20 power supply offering 1amps on the -5 volt DC rail, 16amps on the +5 volts DC rail, and offering 4amps on the +12 volts rail is very amazing. However overall this Retro Arcade US MH-16A power supply is below the quality of the Mean Well RQ-65B. The first thing I noticed is that there is no safety certifications on the Retro Arcade US MH-16A product case or manuals at all. I understand that UL certification and UL listed is an option certification in the United States, however all modern power supplies normally have FCC certification logo and CE safety for Europe, but no evidence of this on the product itself. So, to make a long story short this product from Retro Arcade does not list any safety certifications on the product and website. Mean Well has many safety certifications which is a positive. I did have the Retro Arcade MH-16A running for over a month and it appears to be safe even though it has no safety certifications.  


Another negative about the Retro Arcade US MH-16A is that the voltage regulation is a lot worse when compared to the Mean Well RQ-65B. Good old fashion ATX power supplies and many other power supplies put out a perfect -5 volts DC, +12 volts DC, and + 5 volts DC without any adjustment control. The Retro Arcade US MH-16A has an adjustment knob that controls all 3 rails. If one adjusts the -5 volts DC it also adjusts the +5 volts DC and +12 volts DC. The voltage range for the 5 volt rail is between 4.16 to 5.89 volts DC. The -5 volts DC rail range is -3.54 to -5.28. The 12 volt rail range is between 9.97 to 13.95 DC. It was harder to get the Retro Arcade US MH-16A set to the correct voltage so that it would work with the ColecoVision. The best setting I found was to set the +5 volts DC rail to 5.33 volts DC, which then also puts the -5 volts rail at -4.74 volts DC and the 12 volt rail at +12.67 volts DC.  The Retro Arcade US MH-16A worked flawlessly for over a month with the ColecoVision running a 24 x 7 stress tests with those voltage settings. One advantage of the Retro Arcade is that the 1 amp current on the -5 volts DC rail was plenty of power to use the roller controller and Expansion module #3 ADAM computer at the exact same time (however no known ColecoVision power supply will power the ADAM Digital Data Drives, a dedicated ADAM power supply is needed for that). The Retro Arcade US MH-16A has a manual switch when it comes to switching between 110 or 220 volts. If the switch is in the wrong position when plugging into 220 volts the power supply could be damaged. Overall the Mean Well RQ-65B for around $5 more is a much better power supply to use with the ColecoVision if one places it in a protective case.


I did notice that when I used a high-end ColecoVision shielded power cord with Ferritte Bead’s that even on the cheapest power supply that the picture quality on some of my ColecoVisions was improved when using RF channel 3 output. A high-quality power cord sometimes cleans up the RF modulator noise and power supply interference issues.


I really prefer using an ATX power supply or a ColecoVision USB power supply solution over these other cheaper power supplies that require manual voltage adjustments. However, the ATX power supplies with the -5 volts DC feature went out of production several years ago. I know some people complain about the price of the ColecoVision USB power supply solutions, however sometimes its better to go with higher quality power supplies then to mess around with a power supply that requires a manual voltage adjustment and a special case. In general cheaper priced products are less quality when compared to higher priced items.        


The ColecoVision and ADAM computer since they require a special molded plug and 3 separate voltages are always going to cost more to power. The ColecoVision/ADAM is similar to the Amiga computer and both computers can be adapted to work with ATX power supplies as long as they have the correct voltages.


The following is some pictures of the Mean Well RQ-65B and Retro Arcade US MH-16A and what they look like before one uses a custom case. Personally I would rather find a out of production ATX power supply with the -5 volts DC feature and add a ColecoVision wire harness which is much better quality because of the automatic voltage regulators in the ATX power supplies.  





custom Gold plated connector.JPG

200CM cable view 1.JPG

200CM cable view 2.JPG

200CM cable view 3.JPG

ColecoVision back view.JPG

200CM 4 PIN CABLE.jpg

4 PIN CONNECTOR - ColecoVision pinout.JPG

ColecoVision wire info.JPG

ColecoVision back view.JPG

Edited by HDTV1080P
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