So you have the board that you want (check out my previous page if you are still looking), and you have all the pedals that you want on it, but how do you power them all without eating through £100 worth of 9V batteries? You will of course need some kind of power supply! There are loads on the market so I have narrowed them down to the ones that I think are the most common, best value and best sizes.
There are 2 ways to power your pedals straight from the plug, either by daisy chaining them together and using a 9v adapter or by using a power supply.
The daisy chain option is really simple, and is great with a small board such as the PT Mini or Nano, up to maybe 5 pedals. You will however face 2 main problems. Either the spacing between the connectors will either be just right, too short or too long. If it is just right or too long this isn;t going to be a huge problem, however if you chain has 5 connectors but the gaps are small you may have to sacrifice 1 connector so it will stretch, or you will have to put your pedals in an order that isn’t your preferred set up. The other issue is that a lot of the chains have straight connectors rather than angled ones, and because of the 2 cables coming out, you can face spacing issues on smaller boards or where you have them close together. If all your pedals have their connection at the top this will be nice and easy however, think of the BOSS pedals and you will be fine. Don’t forget you will also need a 9V adapter to plug into the end of the daisy chain to get power from the plug into the electrical chain.
If however you have a large board and require plenty of power all over it a mounted power supply is probably the way forward. There are lots of these around but here is my list of ones that I have found t be the best:
- T-Rex Fuel Tank
- Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus
- Gig Rig Modular Power Supply
- Harley Benton Power Plant
These 4 are what I see most people using on a daily basis and will power most boards where you have up to 8 9v pedals. Most do also come in various sizes so can accommodate either more or less depending on the board size as well as power output needs.
T-Rex Fuel Tank
I have owned a T-Rex Fuel Tank for about 5 years now and it is still sitting on my board and has never failed me. It has 8 x 9v outs as well as 2 x 12v outs, a DC and an AC. I love the size of the unit as well as it will fit under most of the standard board sizes on the market. Like all the units it is power with a kettle lead plugged into one end. I have noticed however as I have recently switched to a Harley Benton unit that there is a small electrical whine that comes from the supply. It doesn’t effect any of the pedals, and doesn’t affect the signal, and to be honest it might just be that it is now 5 years old and has taken a complete beating. Other than that it is a great unit and is still doing its job perfectly.
Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus
The Voodoo Lab supply does exactly what the T-Rex one does except you can alter the voltages of each output as well as combine outputs to create yet higher voltages. For example you can combine 2 of the 9V supplies to create an 18V or switch them to 12V mode and get 24V. If you have a lot of gear that takes different voltages such as the Electro Harmonix Memory Man this is great, or if you use pedals that can take that sort of power such as the Xotic EP Booster which sounds awesome running on 18V. Think of outputs though, if you are combining 2 to power 1 pedal, you are cutting down the amount of pedals the supply can power overall. The size of the Voodoo Lab units is about the same as the Fuel Tank though and will fit under most boards. The Pedal Train boards also come with mounting brackets specifically designed to fit with the Voodoo Lab supplies. Price wise the Voodoo Lab gear is a little more expensive than the T- Rex, but it is slightly more flexible, particularly if you are using import pedals that run on power other than 9v.
Gig Rig Modular Power Supply
If you haven’t heard of the Gig Rig, go and check them out. Dan’s company builds some of the best pieces of switching units, loopers and other awesome gear that money can buy! The Modular Power Supply is super flexible. Allowing power to reach across your board easily without the meters and meters of cable that you get with the normal supply units. This power supply also allows you to get all the different types of power from 9V to anything else as well as adapters for units that only take battery packs through to doublers and isolated power supplies. If you are building a big board there is no better alternative in my eyes, but of course there is a price you pay for all this adaptability, but it is worth every penny!
Harley Benton Power Plant
For the boards that I am using at the minute, I needed more than one power supply as I have quite a few pedals on it. So I was shopping around and was actually going to buy another Fuel Tank, however I was looking on Thomann and came across the Harley Benton Unit. The first thing that struck me was the price, it is quarter the price of the Fuel Tank and less than that of the Voodoo Labs. So I thought it was worth a punt and see what it was like. With the postage and and the supply it came in at under £40.00 which is awesome. Delivery time was good and when it arrived I was not disappointed! It is a fantastic thing, and a lot quieter than my Fuel Tank as well which is great. It powers everything I need on the board too. The main problem is that it is a little deeper than the other power supplies so will not fit under a T-0Rex Tone Trunk, but will fit under the Pedal Train boards. As I have moved over to a PT board though this isn’t really an issue anymore. It is power the same as the other supplies from a single kettle lead and has 8 x 9V outputs as well as 1 x 12V AC and 1 x 12V DC out so you can power a range of pedals. The unit also comes with a great range of extras such as all the power cables you require along with some of the ones that seem to get forgotten about, such as that really annoying power connection that is on the back of the Electro Harmonix Small Clone.
So you have bought your power supply and realise that you need to power 10 pedals and you only have 8 outs from your supply, what can you do? This is where you can combine the daisy chain method with your new power supply taking one of the 9V outs from the power supply to power a chain and then plugging in the pedals to the chain. I have done this on occasion. There is nothing wrong with it, but I have always made sure that the daisy chain portion of the board is connected tot he pedals that I use least often so if something goes wrong with it I still have the majority of my board unaffected. The alternative to this is to do the same thing I have done and have 2 supplies mounted under the board. It is annoying having to take up and extra plug to power the board as I have 2 kettle leads, but it is a more stable way of powering the board without failure.
So there you have it, different ways to power your board and the most common and best power solutions on the market. My advice to you is whatever solution you go for, make sure you have a back up somewhere just in case. I use under board power supplies from my board but I always carry a daisy chain system with me just in case something goes wrong with my main supply. the other thing I would suggest is to get a set of replacement power cables for the pedals as well as a few spare kettle leads.