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The long-awaited refresh of the popular Mac mini. Processor options include 3.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i3, 3.0 GHz 6-core Intel Core i5, and 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processors.

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What PSU connector is used?

Planning a battery powered MAC Mini 2018. It seems to have an additional row of pins compared to the previous 85w 2014 model. Does anyone know the pin out of this, and also if apple’s using a custom connector or if it’s a standard one I could find and crimp? Thanks!:)

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Here’s a picture of the power supply:

Block Image

The logic board header is a standard 20 pin.

Its not a simple replacement! As there are multiple voltages coming from the power supply.

Its just smarter just getting a DC to AC converter to run on a car or boat battery.

Many of todays trailers & cabin cruisers offer AC outlets which are directly wired to the motor or generator.

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Thanks Dan - upvoted! I noticed the header looked “keyed” in the highres picture in the teardown, but might’ve just been my imagination. Considered using an inverter but trying to avoid the wasted energy in the conversion process. Keyed connector aside, Do you know if the pins are “paired” - the connectors under the soldermask seem to be linked vertically? Otherwise no worries happy to stick a multimeter probe in the outputs ;)

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You really can't do want you want as there are multiple voltages.

Just like a PC you'll have multiple 12 volt circuits besides multiple wires servicing the same circuit and you still have a switch line and SMC sensor line mixed in here as well.

So as much as you want to by pass the power supply it's just not possible at this location!

Your only hope is to get a spare so you can take it apart. so you can redesign the unit.

Here you would strip away the AC part of the circuit and insert a DC version. So you end up with a DC to DC power supply.

And, yes the connector is keyed

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Daniel,

I just opened up my 2018 Mini and measured the voltage (not plural) coming from the power supply connector as well as a continuity measurement of the logic board connector.MacMini2018_DC_Connector.pdf

As with the 2012 & 2014 models, the logic board needs ~12VDC. That’s it. The people claiming the 2018 power supply is outputting multiple voltages have clearly never opened one up and measured it. There is no basis to support this information as I have just confirmed for myself. As for the claims that these machines run on a “strict voltage tolerance”, I’m not buying that either. I ran my last Mini (i5 2014) on 13.6VDC because the point was to power it with a LiFEPO4 backup battery.

However (as noted in the drawing) the logic board connector shorts the pin marked with an asterisk (*) to 0V or GND. This is a little suspicious considering this connection is not made on the 20pin cable that connects the PSU to it. All other connections are mirrored. This could be Apple’s way of trying to foul up the not-so-savvy DIY enthusiast trying to convert his/her 2018 Mini to run on straight DC power. Meaning… it could be designed to where the power supply has to see that connection or else it’ll shut the computer down. Doubtful since I was able to measure voltage potential with the 20pin cable not connected. Probably more like ground loop prevention in some other part of the machine.

As for why they chose to use a 20pin connector to carry a single voltage… in a word - amperage. The previous models had a 85W PSU. 85W / 12V = 7A This one is 150W. So, 150W / 12V = 12.5A. They chose to use multiple runs of thinner wire instead of two big fat wires which is perfectly acceptable. Also because if one of the smaller wires break, it will probably still work. If too many break, it will have issues starting up. The only reason it needs such a big supply is for when it is starting up. It has large voltage spikes during that process. I measured them as high as 11A. It seems to idle around 2A. Any decent size Lead Acid or Lithium battery you use will simply laugh at that.

Keep in mind while looking at the diagram that it is drawn from the POV of looking at the CONNECTION SIDE of both the male and female counterparts. In other words, they are a mirror image of one another. I made sure to include the key on the end of the connector for reference. Hopefully this all makes sense.

Be sure to let me know how it goes if you are still planning on carrying out your initial plan. These machines are still pretty new and I imagine there are plenty of people like myself who are hesitant to start hacking up their machines which are probably still under warranty.

-Aaron

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Aaron - You have a few errors in your drawing!

As to multiple voltages there are multiple 12volt services running in parallel gaging them together is not what you want here.

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I’m not sure I understand your reply but… If you run a continuity test on both the logic board and power supply output (not while powered, of course) you will find that my drawing is indeed correct. As stated in my post, there are multiple conductors carrying 12V. There are also multiple conductors carrying 0V. Your reply would lead me to believe that you are under the impression they are coming from separate regulators but this is not the case. Spreading the voltage out over 7 conductors is just a way of supplying enough current to the logic board safely.

Have you opened up your machine and performed these test? If you are comfortable with it, I strongly urge you to do so and you will see for yourself.

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@Aaron Thompson - Apple is doing both! Take a look at the power supply and you'll see there is two independent circuits.

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Do you think a unit like this one could work:

http://www.mini-box.com/picoPSU-160-XT

perhaps with an adapter like they mention here: https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch00...

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@danj

I don’t understand your reply.

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Just thought I’d post this update. I did a dry run to confirm that the Mac Mini 2018 CAN be ‘simply’ modified to run on a straight DC supply. By following my pinout diagram posted earlier, I was able to temporarily affix some jumpers to the appropriate header pins and clip lead those to the terminals of a SLA battery and the computer started up fine. No weird, multiple voltages required.

Block Image

Incidentally… I also tried a power supply I have laying around which is 100W @ 12VDC. As anticipated, the machine would not start from this supply as it is only capable off supplying ~8.3A. I imagine the battery is capable of 20A or more so it was the obvious choice for testing.

I will be carrying out the full mod in the coming days/weeks and will post again after completion.

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Daniel Lee zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.
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