How to Safely Mix Power Supply Cables Without Killing Parts

We previously said you should never mix power supply cables from modular power supplies. This is true, but there’s a way to do it safely with continuity testing.
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This is pretty basic stuff. In this video, we show how to do a simple continuity test to determine if one PSU’s cables can be used with another PSU. You should typically avoid mixing and matching power supply cables, as doing so can cause the death of components or power supplies. It’s easy to accidentally short 12V to ground, for instance, or you might get lucky and just be unable to boot. It’s still possible to get a PSU running with cables that aren’t native to it, however, and that’s what we show today.

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Host: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Comments

taipeitaiwan10 says:

PSA to ScienceStudtio, remember when?

Мариано Карамазовы says:

Finally!! the video that i’m waiting for.

Hunikengt says:

I swear this GN channel feels now like a College class….thank you for all the useful information you provide us!

Rmx2011 says:

Good to know, I actually recently bought a used modular corsair psu with a few missing cables. This’ll be handy once I get around testing that bad boy.

noob_gaming 66 says:

And also, your cable might melt if the resistance is less on the 1000w

Nathan Rice says:

That’s not “0L” you’re seeing when the leads aren’t seeing resistance continuity, it’s “OL”, as in “OverLoad”. “OL” is effectively “Infinite Resistance”. That’s also what you would see if you tried to measure the resistance of a broken wire.

Bohdan Lvov says:

I think you forgot about insulating pads.

purkeypilot says:

Steve, you can also move your range switch one more position clockwise to “continuity.” It has the symbol that looks like the sound waves. It will display resistance, as the resistance setting does, with the additional benefit of sounding an audible alarm when there is continuity. Thanks again.

Grady Houger says:

No mention of if it’s easy or hard to pop the pins out of the socket and re arrange them?

This is commonly done with some types of industrial cables but I haven’t tried with computer cabling.

master vex pc v123 says:

Why they dont just make Cabels as extensions

Johannes says:

It’s not zero L it’s oh l for “open line”

LesserKnownArti says:

Can u mix the main power cable that connects to the wall

ghos282 says:

OR if you are OCD about it, you could just use a Molex Pin Removal Tool, and then reinsert the Pin or socket connected wires back into the connector on one end of the cable in the order that you need them to be. All Computer Power supplies use the same ‘Molex’ type Pins or Sockets on either end of the wires which go into the connectors. (The Pins are roughly the same diameter as a solid copper 12 gauge wire without insulation). The sockets are sized to ‘sleeve’ them accordingly. Each Pin or Socket has their base with two ‘Flared out’ sides to prevent them from being pulled out of the connector. A proper ‘Molex Pin Removal Tool’ will have two cylinders one to fit over the Pins and one to fit over the Sockets. Push the wire into/through the Connector while sliding the appropriate size ‘Molex Pin Tool’ cylinder over the Pin or Socket. Then Pull the wire out of the Connector. Once all the wires are removed, then continuity check them, and insert them into the Connector where they should be, to match the Connectors connections of the other cable.

Mark Sadler says:

Since there is a finite set of connectors why not just make a set of test plugs? That’s all I did when testing harnesses on aircraft

IcarusLSC says:

Some cables have Capacitors on them as well to control ripple. They will usually jump between wires (power and grounds.)

Richelieu Best Ship says:

Hey, I need help with 8 pin PCIe connectors

I bought an RMx1000 PSU from corsair, and the RMx compatible cables from Cablemod, but the 4th pin (according to Steve’s scheme) of the PCIe connectors on the GPU side aren’t the same

So, I have a square pin on the GPU cables of the PSU, and the same pin on the Cablemod cables has chamfered edges
On Steve’s mat, the PCIe connector shloud have a #4 pin with chamfered edges, so does that mean that the PCIe cables I received with the PSU can’t connect to the GPU ?

Jeremy Hansen says:

This video is 2 months to late for me killed all my drives upgrading a 600 watt to an 850 watt psu the lazy way

SpeedDaemon3 says:

As I wanted to use a psu connector from a older psu, this video makes me want to scream. Thanks Steve, you saved my parts.

Yipping Fox says:

Hey, I’m not sure if this can affect anything within the cable, but when I wanted to make my own cables, I heard of capacitors being on some cables itself. This made me make extensions instead, since I didn’t want to deal with soldering, but is this something that may be something to watch out for?

Drexx Laggui says:

Many thanks for this! Very useful!

Jasper Lenaarts says:

ur cable is black & yellow,
not ketchup & mostard!

Orze says:

ok…so i must have allmost killed my pc 6 months ago cus i got a TR1920x and i was missing a cpu cables as those MOBO’s need 2 of them. 1 full 1 and 1 half.
so i went and just got a cable from the store…and pluged it and i think all works fine xD
so i gess i didnt burn my system thank god. xD

Greg Greg says:

What about cable extensions?

G GG says:

Extender and splitter cables are so common,online,using old PSU cables seems pointless.

Joseph Olizon says:

Thermaltake and Antec don’t match. Why do manufacturers don’t standardized as this is for electrical safety beyond branding.

Kaizer Seloterio says:

owt of many examples Why SSD. hahah RIP Jaycetwocents

TheCgOrion says:

Something tells me it would be helpful to get it standardized on the PSU side. Not only for end users, but for custom cabling manufacturers.

Lee M. Kim says:

É a meninona do papai

christopher james says:

I made the mistake of mixing up similar looking, but different electrically modular cables. Never thought of getting my Fluke out and actually doing any testing. Lazy I guess.

Hardline.dk says:

Even individual brands can have differing cable configurations on account of changing OEMs
You can’t just use your Corsair cables with Corsair PSUs and expect to be safe

Farmer Jim says:

Yes. This is a problem we all deal with

purkeypilot says:

OL (Oh-El) For “Overload.” Means “infinite resistance,” or, in other words open circuit. Great video. Thanks!

kokos NH says:

lol just use the Super Flower PSU-s 😀 well the cables are expensive, but still

Jason S says:

Good info. I just repin it, even solder..

SplatterShotJr m says:

Thank you for this video! I almost fired my machine recently trying ot use a sata power cable that didn’t match right. now i know why…

snight01 says:

Lmao.. i think I know what this video is about

Gamers Nexus says:

Watch our RTX 2070 “secret GPU” comparison! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZJcXHOn42Y
Super basic stuff today. We’re working on a ton of testing in-house for dying RTX cards and for Z390 motherboards, so enjoy this easy video for today!

Maddin3456 says:

happened to me once, mixed up a thermaltake with a corsair sata power cable, killed the hdd but the ssd survived for some reason

The Dog's Butler says:

You can always use a terminal tool or sewing needle to depress the retention tabs holding the wires in the terminals (plastic connectors), then move the wires to their correct locations in the terminals. And then if you can find a kit with the right terminals and connectors you can use a pair of Blue-Point PWC47 crimpers to make your own cables.

EvilCerealBoX says:

Not sure why but that opening had me.

Crushed Luminary says:

99.9% of people, are not going to ohm their cables. It’s pretty much a safe bet just to say… Don’t Do It.

Steve Patak says:

Did this to use some extra SATA cables from an older Corsair PSU to use on a newer corsair PSU. Even if the pin outs don’t match but you have the same keyed connectors on the PSU side you can just pop the pins out and rearranged to make it work for you. Obviously check, double check and triple check that you arranged the pins right before you plugs anything of value in.

Brad B says:

Sorry noob PC builder here, is GN saying that one cant buy custom cables from Cablemod.com and not buy all cables to replace say a corsair 1600w psu cables? I just want to buy custom made cables that are visible in the build and not buy the ones that are hidden. Is this bad?

Valfaun says:

i had to do some wire tracing when i got my CableMod stuff a little while ago. never having had contact with third party replacement cables before, i decided not to trust them blindly and compare them to my Seasonic unit’s stock cables. and, well, unfortunately CableMod’s wiring did look noticably different. so i had to look up pin out diagrams and then traced the individual wires and CableMod’s weird splitting. one wire was actually missing compared to the stock cables, i think Sense B on the PCIe 8pin. didn’t seem too important, though, so i used them anyway and yeah, nothing’s blown up so far. still think it’s sketchy, though…

NickyNiclas says:

What I do is a bit simpler, I plug the unknown cable in and measure the voltage on each pin. Just use a jumper on the PSU if you can’t have the system turned on while doing it.

thumbwarriordx says:

Huge pain in the ass. But I’ve done it for stuff like making my own Super Nintendo S-Video adapters. If you can find whatever retention tabs inside the contacts in the plug, they can be unclipped, swapped and adapted for whatever PSU you need. If you’re gonna go through the effort don’t wanna leave empty-handed.

noob_gaming 66 says:

Its not zero L. Its OL for overload

taith2 says:

Just pluck cable to PSU check is there is 5v to the ground where it supposed to be (power on), short start PSU and measure voltages on rest of the pins. If match then use. You made it overly lengthy and convoluted. Just be sure you measure voltage not current or you will have early new year fireworks.

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