Here is the much used, much talked about 1 Spot for pedalboard power. Many use the Godlyke PA-9B (which is basically the same). This is a simple wall plug (wall wart as they call it) that supposedly can power up to 20 pedals with its 1700ma of power. It covers nearly all the pedal power adapters, such as BOSS PSA, BOSS ACA, DOD PS-200R, Morley 9V, Danelectro DA-1, Dunlop ECB-03, Ibanez AC-109, and Zoom AD-0006. Let’s face it, this is usually the first pedalboard power unit anyone buys – because it’s just $20. It’s affordable and it works. Is there anything wrong with it? No, it does what it’s supposed to do. There’s some things it can’t do, and there are definitely a ton of other options out there. However, they all cost money – and again, this is $20.

Top 3 Problems with 1 Spot and Daisy Chain Power Supplies

Having said what the 1 spot is good for (it’s cheap, and it’s basic pedal power), let’s talk about why you might not want to use it. Since (basically) everything else costs more money, let’s also build a case for spending more money.

Point #1
The 1 Spot is what we call a “daisy chain” power supply. If too many pedals are connected or there is a problem with either the connection or how much power any one pedal is drawing – all the pedals in the chain are affected. Since this is not behavior or risk most players want, using what we call an “isolated” power supply is preferred (but more costly). Some vintage EHX pedals require 18 or 24 volts. Some old fuzz pedals have positive ground, and if connected wrong in the chain could damage the pedal. Some pedals have reverse (center positive) polarity. Some Boss and Line 6 pedals have AC and not DC power, and some pedals like the Boss DD-20 can draw more than 200ma at a time – screwing up all the other pedals in the chain. This is basically the #1 point because not all pedals play nice with the 1 Spot your mileage may vary.

Point #2
Some pedals don’t run on 9v (they run on 18v as previously mentioned). Also some pedals run “better” on 18v then they do 9v and many players prefer to have this option to try out. You don’t have this choice with the 1 spot because you only get 9v from it at all connections.

Point #3
The problem with a daisy chained power supply is that all of the connections share a common ground, which can introduce unwanted noise or hiss into your signal. Multiple pedals are hard enough to manage from both a cabling and settings perspective – the last thing you want is the power supply affecting your sound signal as well.

Isolated Power Supplies are Better Than Daisy Chains

Truetone actually makes a “1 Spot PRO CS7” that is an isolated power supply. It’s price tag is $120 ($100 more than the daisy chain 1 Spot).

This is what it looks like:

[atkp_product id=’6190′][/atkp_product]

They make one with 12 inputs too that’s called the CS12 (which costs $189). If you’re new to this you’re probably just learning why a guitar players pedalboard can be worth $500 – $5,000. They could spend well over $500 on just the board and the power supply (before adding any pedals).

Alternatively here is the widely used Voodoo Labs Pedal Power Plus 2, which clocks in at about $169 with 8 isolated inputs:

[atkp_product id=’6191′][/atkp_product]

You’re slowly getting the picture that while the daisy chain is only $20, a good isolated power supply in the hundreds of dollars range (each), and if you need to power 10-20 pedals, you’re going to need more than one of them.

Cheap Isolated Power Supplies

Now let’s talk about cheaper isolated pedalboard power supply alternatives. There are many pedal board power supplies on Amazon that claim to be isolated that are under $50. A lot of people love them (I use them), and a lot of people think that they are cheap ripoffs because they claim to be isolated and they’re not. There are all kinds of conversations about this in Facebook guitar groups and online forums.

For example, the guy in this video is like me. He has used the Donner DP-2 (currently $48), and he’s had no problems with it at all. He loves it. He doesn’t take it apart or anything (but assumes that since there are separate jacks the power inputs are isolated). This is very similar (if not identical) to power bricks and power supplies made by both Caline and Joyo.

Then there are guys at the extreme like the one is this video that claims it’s not isolated at all, and he takes the Donner DP-1 apart and tests it to prove that it’s not an isolated power supply. The only difference between the DP-1 and DP-2 is that the DP-2 has a little more power (four 500ma outputs instead of just one).

So is the cheap Donner DP-1 and DP-2 power supply isolated or not?

  • The Donner DP-2 has 3 sections, for 9, 12v, and 18v power. Most of the other cheaper versions are like this. These 3 sections are in fact isolated, and probably why they are able to get away with saying that this is an isolated power supply. Is every input isolated (like all the 9v ones)? No. But keep reading…
  • The inputs are isolated in the sense that they are not daisy chained. Each power input has filter capacitors as well (for noise), which a daisy chain does not. Some say that this is just a power regulator, a definite upgrade from a daisy chain. Some have a little choke circuit to cut noise as well

I’ve read the reviews on Amazon, the forums, watched countless videos on either side – and this is my opinion:

  • Pay attention to the power requirements of each of your pedals. Make sure you have the right voltage and amperage in your power solution to deliver what the pedal needs (or risk it being blown up). Make sure you know what all of your pedals requirements are
  • If the majority of your pedals are standard <$150 pedals, you're probably just fine with the Donner, Caline, or Joyo <$50 solutions (but check anyway)
  • In most cases the daisy chained 1 Spot is a bad idea and it’s worth at least another $20 to get the Donner version or similar
  • If you have premium pedals in the several hundred dollar range, or special pedals with unique power requirements in volts and amperage, you should definitely invest in a more professional pedal power supply unit.

There are many professional pedal power supplies out there for sale (if you need one). One additional option I can leave you with is the Walrus Audio Phoenix, which has options to independently power up to 15 pedals. It has four 300ma isolated outputs for Strymon and other high power pedals. Three outputs can be switched from 9v to 12v. It has pretty good reviews on Amazon:

[atkp_product id=’6192′][/atkp_product]

If after reading all of this the daisy chain power supply and its affordable $20 price tag is still for you – here’s where you can find it:

[atkp_product id=’6183′][/atkp_product]

Here is he alternate Godlyke PA-9B:

[atkp_product id=’6184′][/atkp_product]

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