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Custom Boards’ guide to power supplies - Cioks

Danish company Cioks makes what are probably the world’s most versatile professional grade power supply units (PSU) for guitar effects. Cioks’ speciality are compact power supplies that even fit underneath Pedaltrain’s Metro and Nano series pedalboard frames.


Choosing a right Cioks power supply isn’t always easy. Cioks’ founder, Poul Ciok, is an ambitious designer, who has together with his engineers repeatedly managed to design more features into his power supplies than perhaps any other company in the business. Custom Boards has build a quite of few pedalboards using this company’s power supplies, which has allowed us to gain a clear picture of each model’s features, and of their best area of use.


The idiosyncrasies and special features of Cioks power supplies:

    One handy feature in all Cioks units is the status LED. Because all of the company’s PSUs are internally protected against short-circuits, the status LED is a good indicator for signalling that everything is working correctly.

        All Cioks power supplies also work in the USA, thanks to their input voltage switch (115/230 V). Their newest model, the DC7, which is based on switch-mode technology, even works with any input voltage between 85 and 265 volts.

            Even though the vast majority of pedals run on nine volts, every Cioks power supply features the option to switch outputs between nine and 12 volts, either by plugging into a separate 12 V output or by throwing a DIP-switch. If this feature would be implemented choosing only one way per PSU, it would be easy to understand, but on some of the company’s power supplies both ways are in use concurrently. The root of this feature lies in the fact that some years ago a number of 12 V effect pedals were still in use. The best known examples are Boss’ ACA-era pedals, which run on nine volt batteries, but require a 12 volt power supply. These effects have become very rare today, which means that the 12 volt feature will stay mostly unused, especially if the pedal needs more than 100 mA.

              In contrast to all other power supply manufacturers, Cioks uses RCA-connectors as their pedal power outputs. This might make things a little puzzling for players who already own a bunch of 2.1 mm cables, but once you’ve gotten over this you will realize that RCAs are actually quite handy and mechanically reliable connectors.

              The connector at the other end of the cable is dependent on the input the pedal effect provides. Cioks provides a complete selection of cables to all possible needs. All their cables are color coded, which makes identifying a right cable easy. You can dowload complete Flex-cable guide from here.

                          One more idiosyncratic feature of Cioks power supplies are their AC-power cables, or more specifically the connector. All other manufacturers rely on the larger IEC C13/C14 plug and socket (also called the Euro-plug), Cioks has chosen to go with an IEC C5/C6 plug and socket (aka as the cloverleaf- or the Mickey Mouse-plug), used on some laptop computers and similar devices.


                          As an exception Cioks’ two latest models – the DC10 and DC7 – use the standard IEC C14 coupling, which probably hints at a switch over to this standard for all of the company’s power supplies. The original impetus for using the cloverleaf-connector has been its small size, which makes it easier to use on very compact PSUs with thinner-walled casings. The cloverleaf is a very secure and reliable connector, just as the IEC C13, but it has one definite drawback: The C5-plug is not available as a spare part, because it is designed to be molded onto a cable. This is why Custom Boards offers a ten-metre cloverleaf cable for pedalboard builders, which can then be cut to a suitable length for the pedalboard in question. This special cable can then be included in a cable snake and finalized with a Schuko-plug at the other end.

                            Lastly, Cioks uses different dimensions for their different models, resulting in a number of different methods of installation to the pedalboard frame. We have prepared a table for each Cioks power supply product page showing how they can be installed best on each respective pedalboard frame.

                              Link Series

                              Some of the Cioks power supplies offer possibility to link two or more power supplies in series. Of the "Link Series" power supplies, the Schizophrenic Link, the Big John Link, the AC Rider Link and the DC10 Link come with an IEC-standard AC output.

                                    This AC output can be used to connect the Link Series power supplies to each other using a Cioks Mains Link Adapter Cable. You can also add the two smallest "Link" power supplies – the Adam Link and the DC5 Link – in series. Please note that Adam Link and DC5 Link do not have an AC output. These are the one's that should be connected last in chain.

                                    This is a quick and handy way to get two power supplies for a single pedalboard. Naturally, you can also connect another manufacturer’s PSU using the additional IEC-output. Another option would be to use the AC output to feed a Schuko-socket, as a means to run additional equipment onstage.

                                    Cioks DC5 Link

                                          • 5 isolated sections.
                                          • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching needed only for 12 and 18 V pedals.
                                          • Ideal choice for small frames, such as Pedaltrain’s Nanos and Metros. Can also be used with older Pedaltrain Minis. Installation either directly with screws (included) or using Cioks’ Grip-bracket.
                                          • Great for use with five pedals, for example three basic analogue effects and power-hungry two digital units. Also works fine as a second PSU on large pedalboards.
                                          • Toroidal transformer.
                                          • Very high quality compact and versatile PSU.
                                          • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks DC5 Link
                                          Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                          Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                          Section 3: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 18 VDC (100 mA)
                                          Section 4: 9 VDC (300 mA) or 12 VDC (300 mA)
                                          Section 5: 9 VDC (300 mA) or 12 VDC (300 mA)

                                            Cioks DC10 Link

                                                  • Ten isolated sections.
                                                  • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching needed only for 12 V pedals.
                                                  • Cioks’ flagship PSU of power supplies using toroidal transformers.
                                                  • The last output can be adjusted between 9 and 24 volts. Even includes a handy ampere meter, showing you the chosen voltage and the pedal’s current draw.
                                                  • If you’re using any of Radial’s 15 V pedals the DC10 Link is a great choice.
                                                  • Standard IEC-input, which is much more common than Cioks’ usual cloverleaf connector.
                                                  • Four 400 mA and two 200 mA outputs can power a very wide variety of pedals.
                                                  • Small drawback is the inclusion of 18 volts in only the last output.
                                                  • Toroidal transformer.
                                                  • An extremely versatile, high-quality and easy-to-use PSU for many uses.
                                                  • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks DC10 Link
                                                  Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                  Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                  Section 3: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                  Section 4: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                  Section 5: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                  Section 6: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                  Section 7: 9 VDC (400 mA) or 12 VDC (400 mA)
                                                  Section 8: 9 VDC (400 mA)
                                                  Section 9: 9 VDC (400 mA)
                                                  Section 10: 9-24 VDC (800-300 mA)

                                                    Cioks DC7

                                                        Cioks’ latest power supply is based on a modern switching-mode technology. It features seven identically configured output sections each offering four different voltages. This power supply delivers a lot of current (amperes), enabling you to run virtually any pedal effect on the market today.
                                                          • Seven isolated sections.
                                                          • Available voltages: 9, 12, 15 and 18 VDC. Power changes with DIP-switches. If you need only nine volts you don’t need to touch the DIP-switches.
                                                          • Additional 24 VDC-output for running additional Cioks switch-mode PSUs.
                                                          • Five volt USB-output for mobile devices.
                                                          • Standard IEC-input, which is much more common than Cioks’ usual cloverleaf connector.
                                                          • The thinnest AC mains powered power supply for pedal on the market. Fits underneath any Pedaltrain frame – Classic, Novo, Nano Plus, Mini and Metro. Installation either directly (screws included) or using Cioks Grip-bracket.
                                                          • Modern and quiet switching-mode PSU.
                                                          • Very versatile and compact PSU for many uses.
                                                          • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks DC7
                                                          Sections 1-7:

                                                          9 VDC (660 mA)
                                                          12 VDC (500 mA)
                                                          15 VDC (400 mA)
                                                          18 VDC (330 mA)

                                                            Cioks Adam Link

                                                                  • 4 isolated sections.
                                                                  • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching needed only for 12 V pedals.
                                                                  • Fine choice for small frames, such as Pedaltrain’s Nanos and Metros. Can also be used with older Pedaltrain Minis. Installation either directly with screws (included) or using Cioks’ Grip-bracket.
                                                                  • Great for use with four pedals, for example two basic analogue effects and two power-hungry digital units. Also works fine as a second PSU on large pedalboards.
                                                                  • Traditional laminated block transformer, which is not as quiet as the toroidal transformer in the DC5 Link.
                                                                  • Small, usable and affordable choice.
                                                                  • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks Adam Link
                                                                  Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                  Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                  Section 3: 9 VDC (250 mA)
                                                                  Section 4: 9 VDC (250 mA)

                                                                    AC Rider Link

                                                                          • Six outputs fed off three isolated sections. Using outputs 1 and 2 at the same time can lead to a ground loop; same for outputs 3 and 4, and 5 and 6.
                                                                          • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching needed only for 12 V pedals.
                                                                          • When you use an effect that requires AC the AC Rider Link is a good choice, especially as a second PSU, as the IEC-output allows you to connect any other PSU. Pedals running on AC are for example: Older DigiTech Whammy-pedals (generations 1-4, but not generation 5), Line 6 M9, and all of Line 6 four-switch Modeler-pedals.
                                                                          • If you only run nine volt pedals you could put masking tape on outputs 2, 4 and 6, and leave the DIP-switches untouched. This would give you three isolated outputs feeding nine volts, with the first two deliver DC and the last offering AC.
                                                                          • Larger than an Adam Link or a DC5 Link, which means that the Cioks AC Rider Link can’t be installed on small frames, such as a Pedaltrain Nano, Mini or Metro.
                                                                          • Traditional laminated transformer, which is not as quiet as the toroidal transformer in the DC5 Link.
                                                                          • Excellent choice for use with AC-powered nine or 12 volt pedals.
                                                                          • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks AC Rider Link
                                                                          Section 1: 9 VDC (200 mA) and 9/12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                          Section 2: 9 VDC (200 mA) and 9/12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                          Section 3: 9 VAC (800 mA) and 9/12 VAC (800 mA)

                                                                            Cioks AC10

                                                                                  • Seven isolated sections, of which up to six can be used simultaneously.
                                                                                  • The AC10 allows you to choose between using two high-powered AC-outputs, or one high-powered AC- and one high-powered DC-output.
                                                                                  • Voltage changes using DIP-switches or by using a different output. 12, 15 and 16 volts are available.
                                                                                  • You can use either Section 5 or Section 6 at any given time. This allows you to decide between two AC-outputs (Sections 6 and 7) or one AC- and one DC-output (Sections 5 and 7).
                                                                                  • If you’re using any of Radial’s 15 V pedals the AC10 is a great choice.
                                                                                  • Should you need more high-powered DC-outputs than the AC10 provides, and should you only run a single AC-powered pedal, the Cioks AC Rider Link might be a better choice when connected to a larger DC-only PSU.
                                                                                  • Toroidal transformer.
                                                                                  • If you want to use two AC pedals plus four DC effects, or a single AC pedal and five DC effects the AC10 is a fine choice.
                                                                                  • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks AC10
                                                                                  Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                  Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                  Section 3: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                  Section 4: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                  Section 5: 9 VDC (600 mA) and 12/15 VDC (600 mA)
                                                                                  Section 6: 9 VAC (800 mA) and 12 VAC (800 mA)
                                                                                  Section 7: 9 VAC (800 mA) and 12/16 VAC (800 mA)

                                                                                  Cioks Big John Link

                                                                                        • 6 outputs fed off four isolated sections. Using outputs 1 and 2 at the same time can lead to a ground loop; same for outputs 3 and 4.
                                                                                        • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching needed only for 12 V pedals.
                                                                                        • Larger than an Adam Link or a DC5 Link, which means that the Cioks Big John Link can’t be installed on small frames, such as a Pedaltrain Nano, Mini or Metro.
                                                                                        • Mixing outputs and DIP-switches can make the Big John Link a little difficult to understand. If you’re only using four nine volt pedals, you could put masking tape over outputs 2 and 4, and simply leave the DIP-switches untouched. This way you would get four isolated outputs with nine volts each. Should you need one or two more pedals, you could try to put outputs 2 and 4 to use, and listen if this caused a ground loop hum.
                                                                                        • Works very well with Eventide effects, or used as an additional PSU. The large output current of four of the outputs isn’t necessarily a large advantage over the Adam Link or the DC5 Link, as most pedal’s aren’t likely to require 400 mA. Virtually the only exception are Eventide’s modern digital effects, so if you’re planning on using a couple of Eventides, the Big John Link may be the right choice for you.
                                                                                        • If you tend to use only four pedals the Adam Link or DC5 Link may prove a more practical, compact choice.
                                                                                        • Laminated transformer.
                                                                                        • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks Big John Link
                                                                                            Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 9/12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                            Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 9/12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                            Section 3: 9 VDC (400 mA) or 12 VDC (400 mA)
                                                                                            Section 4: 9 VDC (400 mA) or 12 VDC (400 mA)

                                                                                              Cioks Schizophrenic Link

                                                                                                    • 6 isolated outputs.
                                                                                                    • Voltage changes using DIP-switches.
                                                                                                    • Switching needed only for 12 or 18 V pedals.
                                                                                                    • Works great as an additional PSU, or even stand-alone on a smaller pedalboard.
                                                                                                    • Very good and easy-to-use choice for 90's digital effects. The 200 mA are great for Boss’ double-pedals and many of EHX’ digital pedals.
                                                                                                    • Larger than an Adam Link or a DC5 Link, which means that the Cioks Schizophrenic Link can’t be installed on small frames, such as a Pedaltrain Nano, Mini or Metro.
                                                                                                    • Traditional laminated transformer, which is not as quiet as the toroidal transformer in the DC5 Link.
                                                                                                    • Mid-sized, very useable PSU for many different uses. Does not work with many modern, power-hungry digital pedals.
                                                                                                    • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks Schizophrenic Link
                                                                                                    Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 18 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                    Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 18 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                    Section 3: 9 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                    Section 4: 9 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                    Section 5: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                    Section 6: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)

                                                                                                      Cioks DC8

                                                                                                            • Eight outputs fed off six isolated sections. Using outputs 5 and 6 at the same time can lead to a ground loop; same for outputs 7 and 8.
                                                                                                            • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching needed only for 12 V pedals.
                                                                                                            • Works great as an additional PSU, or even stand-alone on a smaller pedalboard.
                                                                                                            • Specification-wise the DC8 is similar to the Schizophrenic. You could say that the Schizophrenic is meant for older digital pedals, while the more powerful DC8 is geared toward modern digital pedals. The DC8 is a bit more expensive, due to its better toroidal transformer.
                                                                                                            • Mid-sized, very useable PSU for many different uses. Works fine with modern digital effects.
                                                                                                            • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks DC8
                                                                                                            Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                            Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                            Section 3: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                            Section 4: 9 VDC (100 mA) or 12 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                            Section 5: 9 VDC (300 mA) and 12 VDC (300 mA)
                                                                                                            Section 6: 9 VDC (300 mA) and 12 VDC (300 mA)

                                                                                                            Cioks DC10

                                                                                                                  • Ten outputs fed off eight isolated sections. Using outputs 7 and 8 at the same time can lead to a ground loop; same for outputs 9 and 10.
                                                                                                                  • Outputs 5 and 6 can be merged into a single nine volt output delivering 400 mA. This makes using a current doubler cable redundant.
                                                                                                                  • Voltage changes using DIP-switches. Switching is needed only for 12 or 15 V pedals, or to merge outputs 5 and 6. If you only run nine volt pedals, of which only two require more current, you needn’t touch the DIP-switches.
                                                                                                                  • If you’re using any of Radial’s 15 V pedals the DC10 is a good choice.
                                                                                                                  • The DC10 is a great choice for running four more traditional and three modern digital pedals.
                                                                                                                  • Toroidal transformer.
                                                                                                                  • A versatile PSU for many uses.
                                                                                                                  • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks DC10
                                                                                                                  Section 1: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 3: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 4: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 5: 9 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 6: 9 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 7: 9 VDC (400 mA) and 12 VDC (400 mA)
                                                                                                                  Section 8: 9 VDC (400 mA) and 12/15 VDC (400 mA)

                                                                                                                    Cioks Ciokolate

                                                                                                                          • 16 outputs in 12 isolated sections.
                                                                                                                          • Voltage changes using DIP-switches and the first outlet's trimpot. The available voltages range from 4 to 24 VDC and 9-16 VAC.
                                                                                                                          • Using outputs 10 and 11 at the same time can lead to a ground loop. Same goes with outlets 12 and 13 and with outlets 15 and 16.
                                                                                                                          • You could power up to two 15V Radial Tonebone pedals with this power supply.
                                                                                                                          • Toroidal transformer
                                                                                                                          • An extremely versatile, high-quality PSU with a large selection of voltages and plenty of current for powering up a large pedalboard.
                                                                                                                          • See our pedalboard gallery for all installations using a Cioks Ciokolate
                                                                                                                          Section 1: 4-15 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 2: 9 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 3: 9 VDC (100 mA) 
                                                                                                                          Section 4: 9 VDC (100 mA) 
                                                                                                                          Section 5: 18 VDC (100 mA) or 24 VDC (100 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 6: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 7: 9 VDC (200 mA) or 12 VDC (200 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 8: 9 VDC (400 mA) or 12 VDC (400 mA) Section 9: 9 VDC (400 mA) or 12 VDC (400 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 10: 9 VDC (400 mA) and 12/15VDC (400 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 11: 9 VDC (600 mA) and 12/15VDC (600 mA) or 9/12VAC (800 mA)
                                                                                                                          Section 12: 9 VAC (800 mA) and 12/18VAC (800 mA)

                                                                                                                          *****

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