Guide - How to power your guitar effects and pedal board

Guide - How to power your guitar effects and pedal board

There are a number of ways to power your guitar effects and choosing which method you use can make a difference to your board. Making sure you have the right supply will ensure if they come on, prevent them from getting damaged, or become noisy.

BatteriesGuitar Pedal - Powered with a 9v Battery 45p

Pedals are made of electronics, so the power you use ensures that they stay on when you need them. Whilst the 1st series, 2nd series of JOYO pedals and DrJ pedals all can be powered with a 9v battery, this is not the best option to power a board, it is primarily convenient. Your pedal board will only sound as good as your cheapest part ! So lets try and increase that from 45pence.


First of all batteries have a limited life time and different guitar pedals draw more current than others. The more you use a pedal, the more power it will soak up, you can’t be left guessing when that battery will fail, what power it is using. That power to your board is essential if you want to maintain the flow of your guitar signal.


You need a power supply puts the correct voltage through your pedal at all times and as long as there is a supply of power coming through, pedals will not let you down. A mains power supply for your pedals, unlike 9V batteries, will also mean you can leave your pedals plugged in and it won’t suck any power when you leave them connected.


So no matter what equipment you use, we are talking electricity, making sure that you have enough of that magic power to do the job, making sure that the current flows steadily and in a regulated manner..


What power supply do I need then?.DC 9V power supply for guitar pedal

The first thing you should do before purchasing a pedal power supply is to check the voltage requirements of your equipment or pedal. All JOYO effect pedals use power supplies that are 9v DC. When it comes to powering anything you must also take note of Milliamps, Polarity and how wide the connector is. This information is found on your pedal, manual..


AC or DC power supply

All JOYO pedals, and a vast majority of other manufacturer pedals including JOYO, Boss, TC, EHX use a DC centre negative power supply. DC, stand for direct current. Pedals requiring AC (alternating current) are few and far between and usually come with a dedicated power supply, and it is recommended that you use only this power supply with that pedal.  For the record JOYO guitar effect pedals use DC.


What is Polarity?

That funny sign on the bottom of your pedal is there for a reason. It is Guitar effects use DC voltage and DC voltage has polarity, which simply indicates which bit of the tip of the power supply has a positive voltage and which has negative. Get this bit wrong and you will damage your pedal.

centre negative power supply

With a barrel-type power plug jack, this is usually specified as center-positive or center-negative. A center-negative plug will have the negative voltage on the center conductor (the hole) and the positive voltage on the sleeve (outside) conductor. Guitar effects by JOYO and many many others are centre negative. JOYO pedals us a centre negative power supply.


If you reverse the polarity, a few things can happen. If you are unlucky, your device will be damaged. There’s a middle ground, too. Some guitar effects include polarity protection, which is essentially a fuse that burns out if you use the wrong polarity.


If this happens, you might hear a pop and see smoke. But the device may still work on battery power. Blow the pedal and it will also probably emit a slightly metallic smell where it has blown up inside. So if you ever see a guitar tech smelling a jack input, that is why. They are Pedal sniffer.  


Jack Jack Jack to your pedal.Guitar effect pedal power supply jack

The Jack is the bit that you put in your pedal, so it has to be the right size. You will find most jack tips for guitar effect pedals have a jack tip that is 5.5mm across. This is pretty standard given the components used in pedals. The size will ensure that the inner conductor and the sleeve will fit the pedal with a snug fit. Do not force one, if it doesn’t fit, it wont stretch ! JOYO pedals require a 5.5mm sized jack tip.



Current is measured in amps (A). A milliamp, or mA, is one-thousandth of an amp. The current rating on your power supply is the maximum it can supply. For example, if your power supply reads 100 mA, then it can supply a pedal of 80 mA of current. Less is okay, but not more.


So if you plug in a 100ma 9vdc centre negative supply with a 5.5mm tip into a pedal that needs 200ma, it will kill it. GAME OVER.


Use a power supply of 800ma on a 9vdc centre negative supply with a 5.5mm tip into a pedal that needs 200ma, using my calculator, you have 600ma left over, so that’s more than enough. You are sorted!


Use a power supply of 800ma on a 9vdc centre negative supply with a 5.5mm tip into 4 pedals that needs 200ma, using my calculator, you can safely power them using a daisy chain.


Don’t get this wrong.


Guitar Effect Pedal Daisy Chain

Daisy Chain

So say you have been building up your collection and now have 5 pedals, do you need 5 power supplies?


Well yes, but add up the total mA of those pedals.

Don’t ever plug an adapter with the wrong voltage into a pedal otherwise you’ll just end up with an expensive paperweight. You will not only blow your pedal, but also your warranty.

If you just read that bit on Milliamps, you might have a power supply with a current mA rating greater than the current rating of the pedal connected. If you are powering multiple pedals from a single power supply (daisy-chaining), then add up all the current mA ratings of your pedals. Do not exceed the power supply total mA


Do not try and power your pedals with flowers, this will not work.


What is a Filtered or Isolated Power Supply

There is a difference and often is confused what might be needed. JOYO has both types.


A typical power supply can be best understood by dividing the circuit into two key components we use. The first is a reservoir capacitor and the second is a low pass filter. Each of these parts contributes to removing the remaining AC pulses, but in slightly different ways.


The most popular power supply by JOYO is the multi powered JP-02, it is fitted with a reservoir capacitor (input) and individual low pass filters on each ac output. Each output is isolated from each other, there are 10 independent filters. The number of filters reduces noise on the output and prevents interference between the pedals.


 Noise can often occur when mixing analog and digital pedals on the same circuit, the individual isolated filters also have circuit protection, this prevents the entire circuit from being overloaded. Should the power supply be overloaded then a safety mode kicks in.  


JOYO JP02 power supply LED lights

Guitar Power Supply - The Rotz Manchester

The JP-02 pedal was tried and tested by Mancunian guitar legends Peter Hook (JOY Division)  Dave Potts (nearly in Oasis) in the famous music venue the Ritz. During soundcheck noise was apparent when pedals were powered and connected.


Whilst the noise emitted from the PA was contributed to by the wiring of this 100 year old venue, suffering with AC ripple. The JP-02 ensured that the fluctuating AC current was dampened (capacitor) and any noise eliminated from individual pedals using filters, ensuring a noise free gig and much Kudos to the JOYO team !


The JP-03 power supply is a 9v dc, suitable for daisy and powering individual pedals, it has a large reservoir capacitor to reduce any AC ripple and a larger filter fitted into the, eliminating noise interference from the mains.


The Jf-18 Power Tune, is a chromatic pedal tuner & power supply. It is powered by the JP-03 and has filters on each dc output. It combines the technology achieved with the JP-02 and ensures minimum AC ripple using the large filters of the JP-03JOYO Guitar effects 9v DC input


JP-04 Inside GubbinsThe JP-04 is a fully isolated power supply. Isolated power supplies provide a clear barrier across which dangerous voltages won’t pass. Where mains supply is largely unpredictable if extension cables are used. This first provides safety with equipment. The disadvantage is the power supply size is bigger than a non-isolated power supply due the transformer that is needed for isolation. When a power supply is listed as isolated, it is normally referring to input to output isolation. This isolation is typically achieved by the use of a transformer. The input is isolated from the output, ensuring that there is no fluctuating AC ripple.


When a multi-output power supply has isolation between the outputs, it means there is an electronic barrier between outputs and they are not tied to a common ground.

The new power supply released in May 2018, the JP-05 provides a very wide range of features, the Power Supply features, 8 DC outputs, 4 x 100ma 9v, 3 x 500ma 9v and 1 switchable to 9v, 12v or 18v at 100ma. The power supply also features a 5v USB, perfect for power USB devices & charging your phone. To top off the feature list, the power supply has a built in 7.4v/4400 mAh rechargeable lithium battery pack which charges fully in 2.5 hours making sure that you are never without power.

Each output of the power supply features independent filters, output overload & short-circuit protection protecting your pedals and filtering out any unwanted noises.

When the JP-05 power supply is charged and used as a portable power supply, the unit becomes isolated from the mains supply and will therefore not suffer with any mains hum.

The JOYO JF-18 combines 2 of the most useful tools for a guitarist, a highly filtered power supply and a large LED Display chromatic pedal tuner. The power tune can power 6 x 9v 100ma pedals and has 2 x 9v 500ma outputs. The higher ma output is useful for pedals, or controllers that need more mA power or you could use it with a daisy chain.

The Power Tune is powered by a single power supply (JP03) and can power upto 14 JOYO pedals that run at 100ma. It is our power supply of choice with our JOYO demo pedal boards, saving space, money & filters out unwanted noises.


So should I use a filtered or Isolated power supply then?.

So the answer depends on different things, your budget, your pedals, the wiring of the building and where you are playing. If your pedals are all digital, you could use a JP-03 filtered daisy supply no problem. If you mix digital pedals with analog, definitely bring out the isolated filters of the JP-02.


If you have older pedals, use a mixture of analog & digital and want to be 100% noise free Isolation is what you need.


So whilst Isolation is perhaps the most common answer you will get from a keyboard warrior on a guitar forum to the question what power supply should you use, it is not necessarily what you will need in a bedroom of a 1950s semi detached house, or even in a 100 year old music venue in the middle of Manchester..

Check out the JOYO guitar effect pedal power supplies, cables & accessories here. If you need any assistance or have any questions let us know !


Dave Grant - JOYO Audio UK Posted by Dave Grant - JOYO Audio UK

Dave Grant is the owner of JOYO Audio UK
A family owned distributor and retailer of guitar effects, amplifiers and accessories.
est 2014 Manchester England.

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