330 Watt power supply for Alienware M17x

I successfully managed to modify the M18x 330W power supply to work in the M17x, which allows for running the M17x with a fast processor and SLI / crossfire. [Update: some people are having issues with the 330W PS running a 920XM processor with 7970m CrossfireX. This combination draws more than than 330W in the M17xR2 for some reason. I have an 840QM and 6990m CrossfireX with no issues, about 200W average] The modification is easier if you already have a 240W power supply, since you will already have the DS2502 1-wire EPROM that is required for the mod. If you don’t have a 240W supply you can also order a DS2502 and program it manually with the 1-wire programmer I posted here.  The first step is disassembling both power supplies to get access to the 1-wire memory. You will need a tamper-resistant T10 bit to get the cases open. Of course you will void any warranties at this point as well. If the power supply has been recently plugged in, there is a large capacitor inside that will bite you. As with all of my projects here if you hurt yourself, others, your computer, etc. I don’t claim any responsibility.

The chip you are looking for is in a SOT-23 package. On my 240W supply, the DS2502 was labelled U208.

On the 330W power supply the memory is a DS2501 in a TO-92 package, identifier IC134. Either desolder or cut the leads of the device, it needs to be removed or it will cause a bus error since the master uses a skip ROM command to interrogate the supply. Then solder the DS2502 to the 300W PCB, in the location for IC133.

At this point there are a still a couple more things to do. Unlike the 240W power supply where the ROM is passively powered, the 330W power supply actively powers the ROM; however it is pulled high with too strong of a pull-up for the M17x to reliably interrogate the device. In the active powered configuration the master can’t pull the line low. The motherboard bus master already has a pull-up so it’s redundant anyway. To convert the 330W supply to a passive configuration you need to cut the ID signal trace after it connects to the series current limiting resistor R141. This is easiest between R141 and the via that then goes to the pull-up. The other side of the series resistor goes to the device and together with the zener diode next to the chip prevents in-circuit programming of the device. In the picture you can see I cut the trace just below and to the right of the device.

You will also need to add a jumper wire to the third terminal which for some reason is left floating on the PCB. This terminal needs to be connected to ground. Without both grounds connected the device doesn’t work.

At this point you should be able to wrap it back up. Try going into the BIOS and make sure that “240″ is displayed for adapter rating. You should not get any “non-Dell” messages. OSD may give you an “unsupported adapter” error the first time you load into Windows with the adapter, it should go away after you reboot.

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Saturday, October 13th, 2012 Electronics

25 Comments to 330 Watt power supply for Alienware M17x

  • Interested says:

    Awesome just what I was looking for, sort of. Are you in North America? If I buy this PSU and send the 330w and the 240w to you could you modify if for me?
    Stupid question I know but I can’t do this myself.

  • imsolidstate says:

    I ordered some SOT-23 1-wire EPROMs to program with the 240W adapter string. Once I verify there isn’t any issues with programming and using the replacement memory I will probably offer 330W adapter conversions without needing the 240W adapters. Thanks.

  • Neklec says:

    Hi imsolidstate,

    Also that 330 watt psu after carrying out these operations work correctly? Also as native 240 watt psu?
    Brightness is regulated and the battery is charged?

  • imsolidstate says:

    Yes, it works just like the 240W, since the memory tells the computer it’s connected to a 240W supply.

  • Jim Keller says:

    I am very interested in this as well. I am hoping that you can start offering this. I will be in line if you do.

  • Matthew says:

    quick question is this an r2 or an r1 power brick that you took the chip from? not sure if it matters.

    I definitely wish to buy one of these. heck maybe even two just so i can have a backup. looking forward to being able to purchase one. plus I think a few people on http://forum.notebookreview dot com in the alieware sub forum would probably be interested buying a modified 330 watt adapter for their m17x.

  • imsolidstate says:

    It’s an R1 power supply. I ordered some new DS2502s to program and test, but haven’t got to it yet. When I verify that they work I will offer conversions.

  • Jim Keller says:

    Ok with the p/s being for an R1, will it work on an R2 as well? I would imagine so but you have been testing this thought I would ask.

  • Neklec says:

    Hello imsolidstate,

    You could make for me 330 watt psu for m17xr2, I will buy from you and I will pay transfer?
    Simply looked at your scheme and voobshchy everything is clear, but not so. I do not want to experiment and be mistaken, I am not a specialist in this case!

    Thanks

  • stealth says:

    I’m with Neklec on this also. Great skills solid.

  • Brett says:

    imsolidstate, just checking in to see if you have these conversion kits available yet. I am most definitely interested in buying one, possibly two of them. If not, are your services available if I were to send you a couple of power supplies? I would gladly reimburse you for the trouble. Thank you in advance for your help!!

  • Sach says:

    Hey imsolidstate, this is quite the mod you’ve got going!! Nice job. I’m not at this stage yet, however I thought I’d ask something similar.. along the lines of M17x R1/R2 psus. Well, I’ve got that infamous non charging issue with my R2. Been researching the fix like crazy.. and have had suggestions that range from replacing the psu to power drains. None worked for me. I did try one suggestion where cracking open the end of the 240w psu (that connects to the mobo) and resoldering the orange and black wires. Tried that.. think I might have damaged the psu even further. It only provides power now, but doesn’t at all register as the 240w psu in my Alienware M17X r2. I was wondering if you know how to make the M17X R2 register the 240w psu? I have already updated the BIOS to A10. Still not working. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    PS. Sorry for posting here.. been looking through your posts to find one relating directly to my issue.

    Kind regards

  • imsolidstate says:

    It sounds like the 1-wire ID chip isn’t communicating with the motherboard. In the BIOS under adapter type it should say “240″, if it doesn’t then the 1-wire PROM isn’t connected. Check the ID wires.

  • Slim says:

    Hi
    Great job :-)
    When will you be finished with your work?
    I mea-In the next few months or sooner?
    I really want to buy it

  • Neklec says:

    Hi imsolidstate.
    I decided to make mod 330w psu for m17xr2.
    I bought 330w psu, I sorted it, then I sorted the 240w psu and faced a problem! I can’t find DS2502 in 240w psu! There absolutely other markings.

    Please, imsolidstate prompt where in 240w psu for m17xr2 is DS2502, in yours 240psu it U208 is called.
    I am confused! ! !

  • Radji says:

    Trying to get another perspective on a 330W PSU mod issue.

    There are multiple users who are experiencing trouble with their modded 330W PSUs. Most of them have crossfire 7970ms and i7-920XM CPU setups. As they describe it, the system will still shut off during heavy gameplay. Temp monitors show the CPU and GPU temps are within normal range and their modded PSU were being recognized as the 240W PSUs properly. I am wondering if there might be some sort of watchdog circuit that prevents the Alienware M17x systems from using over 240W of juice?

  • imsolidstate says:

    That’s possible. I have 6990m crossfire and an 840 and I haven’t had any issues. I got a message from someone that did the 330W mod and his power supply is shutting down which indicates that he is drawing more current than the 330W supply can source. I will try measuring the power draw of my machine and see what it is. We need to find out if 330 watts is actually enough.

  • imsolidstate says:

    I measured the current draw of my machine and it doesn’t exceed 240 watts. Looks like there may be a current sensor on the motherboard that is causing this issue after all. I am pulling just under 200 watts, with occasional peaks over 200.

  • Radji says:

    Thank you for the clarification. At least now I know it may just be a watchdog circuit and not a hardware failure from a current overdraw.

  • imsolidstate says:

    Just to note here that there is apparently not a power supply current sensor on the R2 board, as this thread indicates. If you have a really maxed out system with dual 7970ms you will draw more than 330W so you will need to do the 2x240W adapter mod.

  • heatshiver says:

    Any word on the 330W kits yet? I have M17x R2 and would love to get one of these.

    I have a 920XM and want to get a 680M soon. I also wouldn’t mind trying SLI with the 680M. The 920XM is 55W and a 680M is 100W, so I assume a SLI setup with this CPU would be about 255W total. Would this work?

    Also, cool to see so many guys from the forums on here.

  • Elton Hou says:

    Hi,I am a M17xR2 user from China.I also want a 330w psu work on my 17r2.I have read ur article.I want to do it myself,so would u pleased send me some guidence in detail.My email is:houhouli@163.com

  • Wurz2638 says:

    Hi, I wanted to do this psu swap but I have a different power supply (R2). I was wondering how you where able to track down the chip on your power supply. I think I have narrowed it down to 2 chips, maybe 3, but I’m not sure how to test for which one is the right one.

    Thanks,

  • khenglish says:

    I bought a 330W m18x PSU for a highly overclocked clevo P150EM. If anything, the 330W PSU shuts down sooner than the 240W I had before did. The system then runs on battery for a few seconds before it shuts off too.

    Clevo’s don’t bother checking PSU ID’s but have built in current monitoring on the motherboard. I never even connected the ID line so there is no way for the laptop to be telling the PSU to shut down. I’ve contacted someone who used a 300W x7200 PSU and it worked without any issues.

    So it seems pretty obvious to me that the PSU is refusing to go over 240W when not used by an m18x. Do you have any ideas on how the PSU can possibly realize it is being used on a different system and how to get over 240W? I’d prefer to fix this PSU instead of hunting for the much more expensive x7200 PSU.

  • Sach says:

    Hi there,

    I was reading some of your threads on techninferno etc regarding this 330W mod. One use queried about putting the 240w PSUID chip inside the laptop and you responded with this:

    “@Nospheratu yes you can do that. From the series resistor it’s a straight run through to the motherboard. If you wanted to put the ID chip inside the laptop, there are a few locations right by the power jack. There is an inductor that is the first thing the ID signal goes to, that would probably be the best place to do the modification. You need to pull the inductor so that the ID wire no longer goes out to the power supply. Because of the skip ROM command, there can’t be any other devices on the bus. Then just solder the data pin of the chip to the EC side of where the inductor was and use two jumper wires to ground the other two pins. That should keep it nice and low out of the way of the CPU heat pipe.”

    I have an R2 motherboard that I’d like to try this on, but I have no idea what an “inductor” looks like. I also have an R1 board, so I could use that as reference if you’re willing to just explain or provide a small picture guide for this? That would be extra helpful. I think you maybe the only one on the web who knows about this stuff so would really appreciate your help.

    Thanks
    Sach

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