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Current version by: Bob Somers ,

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As Phil mentioned, it varies at lot from device to device. However, in general you're always safer if you're supplying the voltage on the "source" side of the power supply. In other words, if you have a device that takes in 12V into its power supply, which it presumably steps down into 5V or 3.3V rails, you're probably ok. Most power supplies are designed not only to step down incoming voltage, but also do some power conditioning like smoothing out any fluctuations and preventing against overvoltage or undervoltage damage.
As Phil mentioned, it varies at lot from device to device. However, in general you're always safer if you're supplying the voltage on the "source" side of the power supply. In other words, if you have a device that takes in 12V into its power supply, which it presumably steps down into 5V or 3.3V rails, you're probably ok. Most power supplies are designed not only to step down incoming voltage, but also do some power conditioning like smoothing out any fluctuations and preventing against overvoltage or undervoltage damage.
 
If you're shortcutting the power supply and hooking up directly to the main power rails on the device, caveat utilitor. Chips and other components on the other side of the power supply can be much more fickle when it comes to their power requirements, and generally don't have as comprehensive protection against strange power spikes or noisy sources.

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Original post by: Bob Somers ,

Text:

As Phil mentioned, it varies at lot from device to device. However, in general you're always safer if you're supplying the voltage on the "source" side of the power supply. In other words, if you have a device that takes in 12V into its power supply, which it presumably steps down into 5V or 3.3V rails, you're probably ok. Most power supplies are designed not only to step down incoming voltage, but also do some power conditioning like smoothing out any fluctuations and preventing against overvoltage or undervoltage damage.

If you're shortcutting the power supply and hooking up directly to the main power rails on the device, caveat utilitor. Chips and other components on the other side of the power supply can be much more fickle when it comes to their power requirements, and generally don't have as comprehensive protection against strange power spikes or noisy sources.

Status:

open