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How To Replace a Roku PhotoBridge Power Supply

Summary

Power supplies on the Roku PhotoBridge have been failing for many people on the Roku forums. Symptoms are that the power light no longer comes on, the unit is cold to the touch, and component pass-through no longer works. Those under warranty can have them replaced free of charge, but many have failed after the 1-year warranty period. Roku charges $75 as of late 2005 (previously $50). At this price (or if it goes higher) some people feel it is cheaper and faster to do it yourself. This guide descibes how to replace the power supply.

Credits: Thanks to olllllo, barrygordon, improv, and all of the other folks on the Roku Forums who described their repair jobs. Without their pioneering work I wouldn't have had the knowledge (or nerve) to try this.

Warning: This project requires making electrical connections and electrical power, both AC and DC. Though these instructions describe what I did, the power supply or PhotoBridge you have may be different, and these instructions may not work. Also, as with most electronics, the PhotoBridge is likely not forgiving of wiring errors. If anything in your setup doesn't seem to match these instructions, please post to the Roku PhotoBridge forums before proceeding. There are several people there who have undertaken this repair and can give you guidance.

What You'll Need

Shopping List:
  • Morex 60W AC/DC Power Supply: Purchase from Mirai Solutions. (Note: This may no longer be available. Try PicoPSU-80 plus a 12V "wall wart" AC/DC converter, or any DC-DC ATC converter with 12V input.
  • From Radio Shack:
    • Crimp-On Butt Connectors for 18-22 gauge wire 16-Pack: Model: 64-3108. (View at RadioShack.com)
    • 18 Gauge wire
    • Size N Panel-Mount DC Jack (like for laptop, but 5.5mm outer diameter, 2.5mm inner diameter): Model: 274-1576 (View at RadioShack.com)
Tools needed:
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Crimp tool or plain pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Either a drill or punch:
    • Drill with 7/16 inch bit
    • 7/16 inch Metal Punch

Procedure

Step 1. Open Your PhotoBridge

Remove seven (7) screws:
  1. 4x Bottom of unit: left and right, front and rear
  2. 2x Back of unit: left and right
  3. 1x Back of unit: center top
The screws were initially very tight on my unit. I had to hold the unit so I could push down on the screwdriver while turning to loosen most of the screws.

Slide the case off toward the back and set it aside.

Step 2. Unscrew and loosen the Power Supply

Remove four (5) screws:
  1. 2x Near AC jack
  2. 2x Toward PhotoBridge front
  3. 1x Grounding Screw
Make sure you fully remove the black screws near the AC jack especially. Then slide the power supply out towards the front of the unit.

Step 3. Cut Power Supply Wires Close to the Old Power Supply

Using wire cutters, cut the 6 wires that go to the power supply. Make the cut as close to the power supply as possible so you have plenty of wire left. You can remove the connector from the PhotoBridge motherboard, if that makes it easier, but I didn't find that necessary.

Step 4. Cut 8 wires off of the New Power Supply Connector Cable

Find the new power supply connector cable. Identify eight wires labeled as follows. Line the power connector up with the power supply motherboard and read the labels on the power supply motherboard.
  • 2x Orange (3.3V)
  • 4x Black (Ground)
  • 1x Red (5V)
  • 1x PON (power)
Using a wire cutter, cut the wires as close to the connector as possible. Only cut the wires on one end, leave one end of the cabel fully attached to the connector -- that end will be attached to the power supply motherboard in a later step.

Step 5. Connect the Wires using Crimp-On Connectors

Now you have to connect the wires from the PhotoBridge motherboard connector to the connector coming from the power supply. Unfortunately the wire colors don't match up, you'll have to match them up yourself, using the markings on the boards. Match 3.3V to 3.3V, 5V to 5V, and ground to ground. The wires on the Roku that need connecting are as follows:
  • 2x Red (3.3V)
  • 3x Black (Ground)
  • 1x Yellow (5V)
The slots on the connector to use are as follows:
  • 2x Orange (3.3V)
  • 3x Black (Ground)
  • 1x Red (5V)
Finally, connect a spare ground wire on the power supply connector (black wire) to the PON (power) connector (green). This wire will be used to connect the ATX power supply "PON" wire to a spare ground wire, also from the power supply. This causes the power to always be on, which is standard behavior for the PhotoBridge. This is the only case in which two wires from the power supply will be connected to one another.

to make the connections, use crimp-on connectors from Radio Shack. Strip about 1/4 inch of wire from the two pieces of wire. Insert them into the crimp-on connectors. It may help to twist the end of the wires to make sure they don't get bent. Then take pliers and squeeze the crimp-on connector tightly around the wire end. Repeat for the second wire.

Step 6. Attach Wires to DC Jack

Cut two 6-inch peices of 18-gauge wire. Solder them to the DC jack's protruding rear terminals.

Note: Don't solder the other end of the wires to the power supply board yet or you won't be able to attach the jack to the case!

Step 7. Attach DC Jack to Case

Make a 7/16 inch hole in the back of the case (first confirming the hole diameter for the jack you purchased -- it should be printed on the back of the jack package). You can either drill a hole or use a punch.

Remove the nut and washer from the DC jack. Slip the wire through the hole from the back of the PhotoBridge. Insert the jack and attach the nut and washer from inside the case. Screw on tightly.

Step 8. Attach DC Jack to Power Supply Board

Now solder the two wires from the DC jack to the two pins on the power supply motherboard.

Determining which wires match up is a little tricky. The DC power supply can have positive on either the inner pin or outer shell. It should be labeled on the brick or can be tested using a voltmeter. On the new power supply board, negative is the pin closest to the outside of the board, and positive is more toward the center.

Step 9. Attach Power Supply Connector to Power Supply Board

Fold down the plastic shield flat against the motherboard. Remove the old power supply washers from the metal mount points. Test fit the new power supply motherboard, positioning it so one of its screw holes near the back lines up with the mount point on the PhotoBridge case. Note the outline of the power supply motherboard in the case. Remove the power supply and apply electrical tape to cover all parts of the metal case that would be underneath the new power supply motherboard. Apply a double layer to rule out any contact.

Use one of the screws from the old power supply (black ones) to screw the new power supply into place.

Step 10. Double Check Electrical and Mechanical Connections

Look over the electrical wire connections. Make sure positive and negative wires from the DC Jack go to the right pins on the new power supply. Make sure the 3.3V, 5V, and ground wires match up between the new power supply and the PhotoBridge motherboard.

Check that the power supply is securely attached to the case. Check that the DC Jack is firmly screwed to the case.

Step 11. Attach Power Cables and Test

First make the internal connections. Attach the power supply to its connector cable, and attach the PhotoBridge connector to the PhotoBridge motherboard.

Attach some sort of TV or monitor to the PhotoBridge outputs.

Plug in the power supply brick, then plug the DC connector to the PhotoBridge. The PhotoBridge power light should come on and you should see the Roku logo on the monitor. If this seems to be working, disconnect the power before the final step...

Step 12. Close the Case

Make sure all of the cables are folded neatly within the case. Make sure the power supply connector cable is folded over since it is fairly tall.

Slide on the PhotoBridge top panel. Replace the seven screws you removed in the first step. The repair is now complete.

Enjoy your revived PhotoBridge!


Gotchas and Things to Avoid

Don't try Insulated Crimp-On Pin Connectors 10-Pack: Model: 64-3095. The round pins don't fit the square connector holes of the new power supply.

Extra Credit

This section describes alternative or additional improvements that can be made to the PhotoBridge. I have not tried these projects yet, details are left to the reader.

  • Power Switch. In the solution described above, the power is always on while the DC power supply is plugged in. It is also possible to install a switch on the line between the PON and ground wires from the new power supply. This will allow you to turn the power on and off from the switch.
  • Fan. While moving the power brick outside of the PhotoBridge case should already help, some people are still concerned about heat buildup. If a small enough fan could be found, it could be placed in the case to circulate and keep the components cooler. It could potentially be powered by the spare pins on the Morex power supply.

Last modified on 24 Jul 2011 by AO

Copyright © 2016 Andrew Oliver