Budget Arcade Power Supplies Unmasked

For years, I’ve been looking for the perfect budget arcade power supply to recommend to people–something with high-quality components that won’t break the bank. You used to be able to recommend products by brands like Happ that fit the bill, but after looking inside their latest offerings, you’ll probably want to reconsider. Apparently every single budget brand PSU has now switched to generic, low-quality capacitors and even scarier PCBs.

I started a forum thread gathering pictures and component info on various budget arcade PSUs, and the results are ⚡️shocking⚡️. Everything from Cheng-filled Happs, to boards that have been stripped of components for cost savings, and even some with PCBs that are only connected to their metal housings by a few screws piercing their heatsinks. It’s a real dumpster fire, especially considering the value of the games these things are connected to.

On the bright side, Mean Well makes a full line of excellent arcade PSUs that are filled with quality components like Rubycons and Nichicon caps, -5V (for PCBs like Double Dragon), adjustable 5V, and they’re well laid out. The RT-125A is a very powerful all-around PSU that would handle my entire collection, and there are cheaper/smaller form factor models like the RT-65A and RT-85A that would be perfect for Neo Geo builds, and almost anything you threw at them. For those who need 3.3V for setups like Sega Naomi, the QP-200-3A is the perfect quad PSU (5V, -5V, 12V, 3.3V) with adjustable 5V & 3.3V pots! QCRetro, who makes the beautiful Pacifier 3D shell for the Minigun Supergun, plans to design 3D printed terminal protectors for the Mean Well line, like he’s done for the Happ 15A recently.

Since the higher end Mean Wells are just tens of dollars more than the budget competition, they really are the no brainer, and they are quite possibly the only good remaining option now that quality has gone south on the others. I personally recommend people to avoid these budget PSUs and ATX power supplies (yes, even the high end ones are lying about their specs) and laptop bricks. Sure, they may “work” for easy boards like Neo Geo, but they are generally not suitable for large collections, with some notable exceptions.

Update: More great options from Mean Well include the MWP-602A and MWP-606A which are the same form factor as Happs, so it should be a breeze to update existing cabinets or supergun setups.

Article Photo: Generic 0372A Arcade Power Supply, memed by SmokeMonster 😉