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Tindie Blog | Generate -5V for your AT Motherboard! Leave a comment

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Who doesn’t love a good 286 motherboard? Screaming along at up to 25MHz, powering through floating-point workloads with a 287 co-processor, addressing multiple megabytes of RAM! What an absolute powerhouse! Well, if you want to power that powerhouse, you’ll either need to find and restore an AT power supply from the time or generate the required -5V that was removed when AT became ATX. The Voltage Blaster from PCRestoration does exactly that!

It plugs into the ISA backplane and generates the -5V rail that many ISA cards require. And as a nice touch, it has LEDs showing each power rail so you can tell at a glance if something is wrong with the power supply! This Enhanced version features thicker ENIG plating on the connector, so it should last a long time. It uses a linear regulator to create the -5V, so the resultant voltage is very clean and smooth. This is useful as a lot of cards use +/-5V as analog reference voltages for ADCs and DACs, and the cleaner they are, the better the performance can be. Additionally, it has protection diodes and high-quality Wurth electrolytic capacitors.

It does take up a slot in the ISA backplane, which may or may not be an issue. Other solutions don’t use this approach, but the Voltage Blaster has the advantage of being extremely easy to install and therefore can be very handy to have if you are commonly working on vintage PCs. I’m personally a fan of the black and gold look, and if you are interested make sure to check out the product page! PCRestoration also sells a motherboard battery replacement kit — remember, never leave batteries in old motherboards! So many motherboards have been permanently damaged by leaking batteries.

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