Powering Your Oakley Sound Modules

How do I power my Oakley Modular system?

We recommend that you build one of our Oakley Low Voltage power supplies. You can find details about it here.


What are the other options?

You could buy a prebuilt power supply module from an electronic parts supplier. Most are obtained as open frame types. This is where the high and low voltage parts are accessible to misplaced fingers. Careful placement and assembly is essential for safe operation. Choosing linear types over switch mode power supplies (switchers) should offer you lower noise and greater long term reliability. Some of the newer but more expensive switch mode supplies are very good but all of them will be electrically noisier than a linear design.

There are many open frame linear types to chose from but the one I would recommend is the Power One HAA15-0.8A. This supplies 800mA per 15V rail and is good for about 15 modules.

Wiring up these open frame supplies isn't quite as easy as might think. So before you buy one like this make sure you know what you are doing. All power supplies give off heat when they are working and linear supplies generate lots more heat than switchers. Either type of power supply must be fitted so that they do not get too hot. Fitting your supply inside a sealed wooden box will inevitably lead to overheating.

Sorry, I will not enter into any discussions regarding building your own power supply or modifying an existing one.


Divide and conquer. Several smaller power supplies are often better than one big one.

Try to arrange your system so that each case of modules has its own power supply or power supplies. Try not to distribute +/-15V power between cases as the long leads involved will introduce unwanted voltage drops and increase problems with module interference and stability.

A single 5A power supply may sound perfect for your large system but consider what happens if the power supply breaks down. Firstly, your whole system is down. But more importantly, if the power supply has failed so that it now allows the unregulated voltage from the transformer to reach your modules, this could damage all the modules in your system.

The other problem with large power supplies is their ability to supply large currents into a fault. If there is a problem on a module and the power taken by that module becomes excessive, a smaller supply may well detect this and shut down or limit the current to a safe amount. A 5A supply will happily push 5A into the module and possibly cause more problems.


What is the Oakley Dizzy?

This is a power supply distribution board. It does not generate power, but simply allows you to connect many Oakley (or MOTM) modules to one power supply. If you are using either the older SynthTech or Blacet power supply you may still use a Dizzy board to reduce the internal wiring of your modular. See the Dizzy page for more information.


Can I run Oakley Modules off +/-12V rails?

It depends.

All 5U Oakley modules are designed to run from +/-15V. However, some may run from +/-12V as they are (like the SVF and the Equinoxe). Others will need modifications, usually some resistor value changes, to run properly from the lower voltage (like the SuperLadder, ADSR/VCA). Some modules will not run on +/-12V at all (like the midiDAC).

All 3U Oakley modules are designed to run from either +/-15V or +/-12V.

Due to lack of time I am not able to answer any specific queries regarding the modification of the 5U modules so that they can be powered from +/-12V rails. I would normally recommend that you purchase a +/-15V power supply.

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Copyright: Tony Allgood
Last revised: February 27, 2018.