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Is it possible to run a PC from a 12v power source? I'm building an RV.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I just had the revelation that my entire PC runs on 12v power. Now this is something I already knew but I hadn't thought about it in this manner before. I've been planning an RV build for the past several weeks, and the entire time I was thinking about running my PC off of an inverter. So I'd be inverting from DC to AC and then back to DC. Seems like a horribly inefficient use of power. Which is the most precious resource in my plans. 


So I was curious what people knew about running PCs straight from 12 power. Especially gaming rigs. My current rig has a 600w power supply in it but I dont think I use that much. Maybe 450w max needed (non surge). 





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So in general most sff dc-dc psus use laptop chargers as their AC-DC converter, thus use 16-20v input. However, the Pico-PSU has a 12v input.

Just as a note, it does not have any external power, so you're going to use something like the 1050 ti.

Just remember you also don't want to overstress the RV electrical system as well.

COMPUTER: Mobile Battlestation  |  CPU: INTEL I7-8700k |  Motherboard: Asus z370-i Strix Gaming  | GPU: EVGA GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0 | Cooler: Scythe Big Shuriken 2 Rev. b |  PSU: Corsair SF600 | HDD: Samsung 860 evo 1tb


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Your PC doesn't run on +12V alone. It uses +5V to power the HDD and some fans, and +3.3V to power RAM and various chips on the motherboard.

It also uses +5VSB as standby power.


People with very small, low-power PCs use PicoPSUs to power them. A PicoPSU takes +12V power from a power brick (similar to the ones that come with laptops) and convert it to the needed +5V and +3.3V voltages (and obviously pass the +12V further).


They are very limited in cables and output though, only go up to 120W or so.

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22 minutes ago, coreyzev said:

my entire PC runs on 12v power.


12, 5, 3.3, -5

The small pico psu don't push 400w. DIY is to much work and the industrial grade dc pc psu are to expensive.

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54 minutes ago, coreyzev said:

So I just had the revelation that my entire PC runs on 12v power.



Do you have a newer HP or Dell then?  Because, as pointed out by others, 99% of PC's PSUs out there have multiple DC outputs.


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1 hour ago, FAQBytes said:

However, the Pico-PSU has a 12v input.

That's a stupid idea because in a car the nominal voltage when the generator is running is aroudn 14V, not 12.

And its very noisy as well. so you need something that cleans the shit up that is thrown around in the car.


That is why you woulrn't recommend a "Pico PSU" for RV duty!!

22 minutes ago, jonnyGURU said:

Those seem like a viable option, though pricey...

And a bit heavy on the +5V rail...

At least they seem to clean up the shit from the primary side...

"Hell is full of good meanings, but Heaven is full of good works"

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