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StompBoxZone • View topic - PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby Laurie » Tue Mar 18, 2014 8:57 pm

I thought I'd pull all this together in one place and make it sticky. With thanks to all who contributed to the discussion.

Power-supply overview:

PSA power supplies give out 9.6VDC regulated, which means the output voltage is "clamped" at 9.6VDC and does not vary. It remains at 9.6VDC or some very close voltage under all load conditions. Regulated supplies like the Boss PSA, the one-spot, and a regulated 9VDC output from something like a voodoo labs supply are a good choice to use for PSA power, however, there have been reports of added digital noise from cheaper switched-mode supplies. When the term PSA is used in the pedal power scenarios below it means a power supply with an output between 9VDC and 9.6VDC, regulated (does not vary under load). If you are in doubt, measure the output of the power supply with no load and if it is over about 9.8VDC it is not regulated and can not be considered to be "PSA power".

ACA power supplies give out 12VDC unregulated, which means the voltage can vary from perhaps 15VDC unloaded to 10V fully loaded. This is described as nominally 12VDC. While ACA pedals are not specifically designed to operate from a regulated supply, a regulated 12DC supply (remains at 12VDC or some very close voltage under all load conditions) can be considered to be ACA power.

Power supplies marked "9VDC" without also saying "regulated" must be treated with suspicion. ALWAYS measure the output voltage - often these are unregulated and will give a similar voltage to ACA power supplies. There has been some success using unregulated power supplies with a "9VDC" nameplate to power ACA pedals. Never use a power supply like this with a PSA pedal under any circumstances - it will kill it. This is the biggest destroyer of "D6" in old DD-3 pedals.

When the term ACA is used in the pedal power scenarios below it means a power supply that is nominally 12VDC, like an actual ACA supply or a 9VDC nameplate supply that has been measured to confirm the output is similar to an ACA supply.

Power supplies marked "12VDC" without also saying "regulated" must be treated with suspicion. ALWAYS measure the output voltage - often these are unregulated and will give up to 20VDC unloaded - this is too much even for an ACA pedal. Never use a power supply like this with with a Boss pedal under any circumstances - it will kill PSA pedals and may kill ACA pedals.

A note on "AC" power supplies. If the power supply is marked "AC" or has a wavy line next to the output voltage rating on the name-plate DO NOT USE IT ON A BOSS COMPACT PEDAL.

===============================

For the "PSA power" thing to work when daisy-chaining PSA and ACA pedals, there are mandatory requirements:
a) There is at least one PSA pedal in the chain.
b) The power is daisy-chained - you must power all the pedals from the one PSA power supply with a power daisy-chain cable.
c) The pedals must have audio patch leads patching them all together.

The ACA power circuitry in the ACA pedals is defeated by using the audio ground connection as the ground for power in the ACA pedals. The ground/return current for the ACA pedals runs down the audio patch leads to the PSA pedal(s).

IMPORTANT NOTE: in this context, you can substitute ANY pedal that has "normal" or "non-ACA" power circuitry for the PSA pedal. In the real world, this means almost any non-ACA pedal, Boss or non-Boss. Just ensure it is a negative ground pedal!

===============================

Various pedal power scenarios (remember the definitions of PSA power and ACA power above):

1) ACA only pedals on PSA supply, daisy chained or isolated = insufficient voltage for ACA under all circumstances. Most ACA pedals will work. PSA power will not damage an ACA pedal. However, the LED may be dim/non-existent and distortion levels may be higher.

2) ACA only pedals on ACA supply, daisy chained or isolated = appropriate voltage for ACA.

3) ACA and PSA pedals mixed on a daisy-chained ACA supply = overvoltage for both PSA and ACA pedals (the PSA pedal wants 9V and is receiving 12, and the voltage drop circuit in the ACA pedals is also defeated). Never use this arrangement under any circumstances - it will kill the PSA pedal(s) and probably damage the ACA pedals.

4) ACA and PSA pedals mixed on a daisy-chained PSA supply = appropriate voltage for ACA and PSA pedals

5) ACA and PSA pedals patched together but each pedal supplied from an isolated supply ... OK as long as you make sure PSA pedals have PSA power and ACA pedals have ACA power.

6) PSA only pedals on PSA supply, daisy chained or isolated = correct voltage for PSA

7) PSA only pedals on ACA supply, daisy chained or isolated = overvoltage for PSA. Do not do this! It is the biggest killer of Boss PSA pedals
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby natthu » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:49 pm

Excellent reference summary. Thanks for that Laurie :thumbs:
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby Clean Channel » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:27 pm

Well done Laurie! Nice to have a complete and thorough summary all in one place. I'll be saving this page for future reference.

As always, your Boss related posts are among the most accurate and informative anywhere on the internet.
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby Guga Ramone » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:08 pm

Excellent job! :thumbs:

Topic should be sticked to further reference.
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby BossBrasil » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:23 pm

always perfect in their explanations

congrats :thumbs:
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby soupbone71 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:10 pm

Does the ACA Pedals sound better because they were made for 12v operation?I know about how to make aca pedals work on 9v operation.(Thanks to Andreas (stinkfoot).Wondering about that.Great info Laurie!
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby Dirk » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:21 am

No, they sound exactly the same regardless of power source. It's just what it says it does; give power. ;)
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby soupbone71 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:32 am

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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby fenderjapan » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:35 pm

I've been using a Pedal Power Mondo which has dip switchable 12V output. It works great... as long as you don't plug the wrong thing into the wrong jack, or forget to set the dip switches :-p.
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Re: PSA and ACA pedal power and daisy-chaining

Postby Monotremata » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:43 am

I can confirm the digital noise using a 1Spot. It powered a volume pedal, wah, PH-2, BF-2, HM-2, CH-1, TR-2, Blue Box, Rat and tuner just fine. The minute I plugged it into my Line 6 DL-4, that oscillating clock noise came out.. I don't mind though, i mean I play an awful lot of noise anyways hehe..

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