High quality power supplies for classic consoles are very hard to find. While yes, there’s plenty of cheap adapters on Amazon and eBay, many are extremely poor quality that will result in video interference, audio hum, or potentially even damage the console itself! Unfortunately, we’re also at a point where the original PSU’s that shipped with consoles are starting to die and often changing the capacitor inside isn’t enough to keep them going. Luckily, a brand of power supply’s has been identified that are approved by some of the most discerning eyes in retro gaming development and have even been approved by the MD Fourier team. This page is dedicated to providing links to those PSU’s, which currently ship under the brand “Triad”.
Disclaimer / Pigtail Adapters
Before continuing, please note that some model Triad PSU’s can connect directly to a console, but others require a short pigtail adapter. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!! These pigtails don’t just fit the correct size power jack, they also make sure power and ground are distributed through the correct lines! Trying to force a connector to fit, or forgetting to use the pigtail adapter could harm your console!
PSU’s Compatible With Worldwide Power
FirebrandX, along with Ste from HD Retrovision and many others have determined the exact models needed for international PSU’s. FBX’s website is currently the most up to date and I recommend referencing there for PSU’s outside the US: http://www.firebrandx.com/triads.html
Also, CastleMania Games offers a “Tower Of Power PSU” that can safely supply power to a Genesis, Sega CD and 32x, all at the same time. Simply select which model Genesis you’re using from the drop-down menu and you’ll get a kit with everything you need: https://retrorgb.link/toppsu
Turbo Duo / PCE Duo: This PSU will power either of the “Duo” consoles and there’s a drop-down menu with a choice of North American, or Worldwide PSU’s: https://retrorgb.link/duotriad
PSU’s for use in North America
If you’re located in the US, purchasing kits from CastleMania Games is the easiest way to get the correct PSU. Here’s links to all their kits:
Tower Of Power PSU: https://retrorgb.link/toppsu
This is the same link as above, I just wanted to list it here to ensure people it’s also compatible with US power.
Triad PSU: http://bit.ly/wsu090-1300
This PSU is directly compatible with the NES front-loader and top-loader, with no pigtail required.
5.5mm x 2.1mm –> 7.0mm x 4.0mm x 1.0mm w/ reverse pol: https://bit.ly/2YgglFW
The above PSU and this adapter is compatible with NTSC, North American Super Nintendo consoles, SNS-001 & Super Nintendo Jr. SNS-101, as well as the Virtual Boy.
5.5mm x 2.1mm –> 5.5mm x 2.5mm: https://bit.ly/2Qaz4Ox
The above PSU and this adapter is compatible with PAL Super Nintendo consoles.
5.5mm x 2.1mm –> 4.75mm x 1.70mm: https://bit.ly/2FxhodR
The above PSU and this adapter is compatible with the Genesis / Mega Drive 2, Genesis 3, 32X, Nomad, Game Gear, JVC X’Eye, PC Engine Duo R, PC Engine Duo RX.
5.5mm x 2.1mm –> 5.5mm x 2.1mm w/ reverse polarity: https://bit.ly/3jaxFnR
The above PSU and this adapter is compatible with Genesis / Mega Drive 1, Master System 1/2, Sega / Mega CD 1/2, Famicom HVC-001, AV Famicom HVC-101, Turbografx-16, PC Engine, CoreGrafx, Atari Jaguar, Super Famicom SHVC-001, Super Famicom “mini” SHVC-101.
5.5mm x 2.1mm –> 6.3mm x 3.0mm: https://amzn.to/32o00Aj
The above PSU and this adapter is compatible with the TurboDuo and PC Engine Duo.
CastleMania Games is also offering PSU+Pigtail bundles, so if you’d like to save a few dollars, figure out which bundle is compatible with your console by referencing the info above and just buy one of these: https://castlemaniagames.com/search?q=triad
Why the Triads?
While I’m sure there’s other PSU’s out there that are safe to use, the main reason for recommending Triads is consistent test results: MANY people in the retro hardware dev scene have been using Triads and if any got a bad batch, their product test results would show it – And these are real test results, with data and measurements to prove their performance. I’ve discussed these PSU’s with dev’s who make some extremely accurate and sensitive hardware and all have said the Triad’s they purchased performed better than every other 3rd party PSU they tried, with scope captures and audio analysis to prove it. In fact, many dev’s specifically use Triad’s when testing their products, to ensure their results aren’t skewed by bad PSU’s.
The consistency makes sense too, as the company who makes Triad PSU’s sells thousands across many different markets and are always under pressure to keep the quality consistent. While there’s a chance things might change and we’ll stop recommending future versions, Triad’s future relies on their quality, making them a safer choice than some unbranded, or rebranded PSU.
Alternatively, “made for retro gaming” PSU’s from larger companies are often re-branded, low quality PSU’s and the quality can vary greatly between batches. Also, while smaller companies have successfully sold quality PSU’s, they’re purchasing at much lower volumes and bigger manufacturers generally pay less attention to smaller orders; If there’s corners to be cut, they’ll probably do it for orders of 100, not orders of 100,000.
So, while this page might be insulting to smaller manufacturers who’ve bent over backwards to make sure they’re selling quality PSU’s, power is just too important to risk. Overall, I feel much more confident recommending a PSU made by a brand that’s been proven to provide consistent quality throughout the past few years, even during a global part shortage and throughout multiple runs of manufacturing. I’m sure someday this will change, but at the moment, my strong recommendations for replacement, external PSU’s are the Triad’s; There’s just never been a PSU that’s been consistently approved by so many different people in the gaming, each performing their own in-depth testing on them.
At the moment, replacement power supplies for consoles who house them inside the shell (as opposed to an external brick) are much trickier to recommend. It’s always my recommendation to first try replacing the capacitors in the original PSU if you’re having trouble. Console5 is a great resource for this: https://console5.com/store/kits.html?cat=249
People who need a full replacement, or are looking for a global power solution will have to research options for each individual console. Hopefully, we’ll have a page with more information on those soon.