How to Fix a Tattoo Power Supply

January 12th, 2012 by newton

vintage tattoo power supply

Basic post on how to fix a tattoo power supply using a vintage 2007 Hildbrandt pre-Spartan power supply as example.  We stumbled upon this broken unit when we were cleaning out the workshop.  I believe this was the one we used to use to quality check our machines.  This vintage 2007 Hildbrandt was the predecessor to the Spartan, now with a LCD screen and some improvements to the transformer and heat dispersion. Anyway, we’ll go over some of the most common problems that occur.

tattoo power unit

Power Cord Dead

This usually happens when the wiring in the cord loses connectivity due to wear and tear. For example, the Hildbrandt pre-Spartan had a detached wire that was supposed to be attached to the voltage switch, this likely happened from someone yanking on the cord or unit when it was still attached to the wall. The easiest way to check if your power cord is the problem is by getting another power cord to test your power supply with. For most tattoo power supplies, the cord (if it is detachable) is the same detachable cord as your computer, common kitchen appliance or electronics. Grab another cord from one of those devices and use it with the power supply. If the unit works with the replacement cord, the problem was your power cord. This problem is a common one. The Hildbrandt pre-Spartan unit we were fixing did not have a detachable cord but when we opened it up, it was obvious the power cord was unattached, so we soldered it back and the unit worked fine with the exception that we no longer had the voltage knob for it.

Foot Pedal Problem

Foot pedals will break or lose connectivity. Common problem is the wire that attaches the pedal to the power unit. If you yank on the pedal or the wires get twisted because you kick it around, the copper wiring may break inside the wire. The plug is a common place for the break to occur. Check it by unscrewing the housing and seeing if the negative and positive wires are still attached to the plug. If either one of those wires are detached or if the positive and negative is touching each other, the pedal will not work. If they are touching, separate them. If either one is not attached, solder the wire back. If you have another foot pedal handy, use that one to test to see if it is indeed the foot pedal that is the problem. It is always best to keep at least 1 or 2 additional pedals around just in case, they are cheap to buy anyways.

Clip Cord Problem

Clip cord issues are the same as foot pedal issues, the main problem is the wire that attaches the clip cord to the power supply. Check the mono plug the same way you did the foot pedal. If you have another clip cord handy, use that one to test to see if it is indeed the clip cord that is the problem. It is always best to keep at least 1 or 2 additional clip cords around, they don’t cost much anyways.

fix tattoo power supply

Taking Apart the Power Supply to Fix it

Taking apart the power supply to fix it is a last resort. We opened up this Hildbrandt pre-Spartan and found the issue immediately as we saw that a wire was not attached properly. Generally speaking, the only thing that is fixable when you open one up is detached wires. It is unlikely that the components will be fixable.  Check to see if you still have warranty, if you do, it may be better to just send it in to get fixed as taking it apart may void the warranty.  Our power supplies come with a 6 month warranty timed from the date of purchase.