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Car adapter/USB for video game consoles

Started by gameblabla, December 17, 2019, 07:26:19 AM

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December 17, 2019, 07:26:19 AM Last Edit: December 18, 2019, 04:31:20 PM by gameblabla
Want to play your video game consoles on the go ? Car adapters is one of the best way to do so !
Video game consoles usually accept DC 5V (with some variations depending on the console) so using an AC inverter is usually a bad idea because there will be some losses
and you'll drain your battery faster. (or at least you will be less efficient)
Another use for car adapters is when using a battery backup powered by solar panels : Solar panels usually work in 12V 5DC. (they can be put in series and that will increase the voltage but you get the idea)
So in theory if you power a video game console through a car adapter instead of a huge, inefficient AC adapter, you can save some power and be more efficient.

Here's a list of video game consoles that have either a car adapter or USB adapter available for it :

Portable video game consoles

Atari Lynx

A car adapter was available for the Atari Lynx.
However, you might want to do a USB mod to it (see below) instead as the voltage regulator inside of the Atari Lynx can fail.

Sega Game Gear (with Model 2 plug)

Power consumption (unmodded) : 4.5w

An official car adapter had been made for the Game Gear. There are also 3rd party ones that will work with a Gameboy/Gameboy pocket.
This is also compatible with the MegaJet & Sega Nomad.
It can also theoretically work on the Megadrive Model 2 & 32X (see below).

Game boy Advance
Too many to lists, also many USB adapters available.

Nintendo DS/DSi/3DS
Plenty of car adapters too. USB adapter available.
If you use a solar charger, using the USB cable is preferred.

Sony PSP/Vita/PSTV
Because they output 5V DC, a simple PSP plug to USB can be used.
The PSTV requires 2A however so make sure to provide enough power to it. (You might be able to get away with less with Wifi disabled)

Nintendo Switch

An officially licensed Nintendo Switch car adapter by Hori had been made.
There are also other 3rd adapter ones but most of them are just standard USB car adapters. (and won't charge as fast)
If your solar charger supports USB 3.0 QC or better yet USB type C then it should be preferred over the car charger
as the car charger itself contains a small DC to DC converter.

Home consoles

Yes, there are some car/USB adapters for home consoles too.

CBS Colecovision

A USB Type C external power supply had been released for the Colecovision by Dragonbox for 40$.

Sony PSOne Car Adaptor

Power consumption : 10 Watts
Unfortunately it's very sought after but you won't have trouble to find one.
It can also be used to power on the LCD accessory but you can just plug it into an OSSC and use that on a monitor.
There are also some 3rd party ones that are almost as expensive.

Nintendo Gamecube

Power consumption : 12~23 Watts

There's also another one that can power on a PSOne as well as the Gamecube.

Playstation 2 Slim (70000 and 75000 series only)

Power consumption : 45 Watts

Very rare & uncommon, though not as much as the Wii U one.


A car charger by Yobo had been released. Unfortunately, it's very uncommon and mostly found only in the US.

Wii U

Power consumption : 34 Watts

Only one adapter was released and it is extremely rare. I was unable to find any online listing for it.
No other 3rd party made a Car adapter for it

Megadrive Model 2 / Sega 32X

Power consumption
Model 2 (without 32X) : 0.3A (3.6W)
Model 2 + 32X : 0.7A (8.4W)
In theory, this can also be used with the Megadrive Model 2 / 32X as the two consoles also use the same power adapter as the Game Gear one (with Model 2 plug).
However, i haven't tried it.

With modding

NES / Famicom

Since the console internally runs at 5V, it's possible to mod it and bypass the PSU. The console can then be powered on by a single USB cable.

A seller was also selling Famicom with USB plugs for power.

Original Xbox

N64freak was selling an ATX mod for the OG Xbox. With the use of a PicoPSU, it is then possible to power the console with a car adapter or DC cable.
The files for the ATX mod had been released :

Dreamcast / Sega Saturn

3rd party internal picoPSU mods are available and output 12V DC. This can then be used with a car adapter or DC cable.

Atari Lynx

Console works internally at 5V so a USB mod is doable.

It's possible to mod a PS3 so that it uses an ATX power supply. With the use of a PicoPSU, it should be possible to plug it directly
to a solar charger or to a voltage regular + car charger plug.

Bad offenders

Very high power consumption

Fat PS3
Xbox 360 (before Corona revision)
Any PS4 models
Xbox One (first model)
Xbox One X

AC plug only (external mod impossible without internal modifications)

Fat PS2 (Internal mod is possible as demonstrated by someone)
Xbox One S
Phillips CDi
PS1 (except PSOne revision)

No car adapter/usb/internal mod available

Master System/Genesis Model 1
Super Nintendo

Nintendo 64 (uses a weird format like the Colecovision)
Atari 2600/Atari 7800 (9V DC)

Feel free to correct me if there's any mistakes or missing info
  • Calculators owned: None (used to own an Nspire and TI-89)


If you're powering home consoles in your car, how you would power the screen now? A splitter, or batteries?
  • Calculators owned: TI-83+ (dead?), Casio Prizm (also dead???)
  • Consoles, mobile devices and vintage computers owned: A lot
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December 17, 2019, 08:22:11 AM #2 Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 08:24:11 AM by gameblabla
Quote from: Juju on December 17, 2019, 08:05:08 AMIf you're powering home consoles in your car, how you would power the screen now? A splitter, or batteries?
In the case of the PSOne and the car adapter, it also has a plug for the official LCD screen.
For the Wii U, you could just use Off TV play if you have the appropriate adapter.

In other cases : Yes, a splitter like this one can be used.

However, you have to make sure that the screen can be used over 12V DC (there are car adapters for some LCD monitors as well) and that there's enough power for them.

Of course, this isn't an issue for a solar charger because you would most of the time use it at home.
You really don't want to use an inverter even though you can because some of them are only 50% efficient, though it is an option.

EDIT: There are also some small screens with HDMI input that can be powered through USB and that's an option too.
  • Calculators owned: None (used to own an Nspire and TI-89)

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