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  1. Blue Light Specials- Now Available at the mp3Car Store

  2. Hardware Review: Mini-Box M3-ATX-HV Power Supply

    by , 03-24-2010 at 10:52 PM

    What is it?

    The M3-ATX HV is a 95-Watt DC to DC smart automotive power supply.

    The Verdict:

    The M3-ATX HV is an impressive little power supply. The manufacturer appears to have harnessed the core features of previous smart power supplies into a smaller and more efficient form factor. The only true sacrifice for M3-ATX HV users will be total power output. If you can accept this, you get a high-quality smart power supply which will work for vehicles based on 12v OR 24v systems.

    Buy the M3-ATX-HV 95 Watt - Smart Automotive Power Supply on the mp3Car Store now.



    What’s in the box?

    The M3-ATX comes with only the power supply and a series of mini-jumpers for timer settings. All cables used by the M3-ATX are soldered directly to the board.

    Description:

    The M3-ATX HV is a fully RoHS compliant DC/DC ATX converter module capable of powering computer systems with up to a 120-watt demand. Constant power usage should be limited to the suggested 95-watt capacity. The M3-ATX HV appears almost identical to the 125-watt M3-ATX but offers a wider input range to allow for greater flexibility in installation platforms. Whereas the input on the M3-ATX is limited to 24v, the HV variant allows up to 34v. Needless to say 24v systems would be run at greater efficiency with the M3-ATX HV.

    The M3-ATX HV is considered a PICO-PSU. Its intended purpose is for small, efficient, power-sipping systems such as the latest Atom-based boards from Intel. I initially tried powering my core-2-duo Intel DG45FC board with the M3-ATX HV but I was unable to get past POST messages. My less-powerful Intel D201GLY board however was able to run successfully with a host of USB devices connected. The obvious benefit in using the M3-ATX HV other than its voltage capabilities is its size. When compared to the older M2-ATX it’s easy to see how the M3’s PICO form factor could come in handy in car PC or even embedded platforms


    M2-ATX on the top, M3-ATX HV device on the bottom

    My initial reaction to the size of the M3-ATX HV was very positive. As a car PC hobbyist I know that we feel “the smaller, the better”. Upon installing the device I did run into a problem that could end up being a problem for anyone installing a M3 into their system.


    As shown above, the M3-ATX HV comes in contact with a USB header on the rear of the D201GLY motherboard. Though the power supply works as installed, the ATX connector does not quite sit flush, and a jolt from a pothole or speed bump could very well dislodge the component touching the header.

    Overlooking the fitment problem, I continued the installation of the M3 HV. The power supply has only a specific set of wires which makes installation easy when compared to other PSUs on the market. Simply connect your 12V, GND, and ACC lines to the RED, BLACK, and WHITE wires respectively. Then connect the SATA power or MOLEX connector to your hard drive or split these wires to extend power to multiple components. The only wire that actually needs to be manually plugged into the M3-ATX HV board is the motherboard power switch wire, and the 3-pin female end of this included wire only fits one way on the power supply. Optionally, you can connect the white wire on the 3-pin cable to your car’s amplifier to provide a delay which will prevent the speaker “THUMP” that occurs in some systems.

    Completing these steps alone allows the M3-ATX HV to work as a dummy mode PSU. For smart power supply settings, the M3-ATX HV has a set of pins which can be jumped for shutdown timing options. There are 4 options which allow a simple jumper or two to set the shutdown/hard off time. A fifth option which allows user-customized settings is available, but such a task requires a separate cable which I have no access to at this time.

    The Positive:

    • Small form factor increases installation flexibility
    • Wider range of input voltages than most PSUs on the market
    • Ability to customize shutdown/hard off times
    • Built-in cables means less can go wrong for beginner installers

    The Negative:

    • Only 95-watts sustained output means your limited to VIA/Intel Atom products
    • Form factor can impede installation on certain motherboards



    The Verdict:

    The M3-ATX HV is an impressive little power supply. The manufacturer appears to have harnessed the core features of previous smart power supplies into a smaller and more efficient form factor. The only true sacrifice for M3-ATX HV users will be total power output. If you can accept this, you get a high-quality smart power supply which will work for vehicles based on 12v OR 24v systems.

    Specifications:

    Dimensions: 40x43mm
    Efficiency Rating: up to 94%
    5v Output: 7A Max, < 30 Sec.
    3.3v Output: 7A Max. < 30 Sec
    12v Output: 5A Max, < 30 Sec
    -12v Output: .10A Max, < 30 Sec
    5VSB Output: 2A Max, < 30 Sec
    Input Voltage Range: 6VDC to 34VDC
    Deep Discharge Shut Down: 11.2V
    Operating Temperature Range:-40°C to 65°C
    Operation Modes:
    -5 Seconds soft off, 60 seconds Hard Off
    -1 Minute soft off, 5 minutes Hard Off
    -30 Minutes soft off, 2 hours Hard Off
    -2 Hours soft off, 2 Hours Hard Off

    Buy the M3-ATX-HV 95 Watt - Smart Automotive Power Supply on the mp3Car Store now.
  3. Lilliput UM-80/C/T USB powered touch screen

    by , 03-24-2010 at 04:03 PM

    Embed this video



    Sean from mp3Car outlines the features of the new Lilliput UM-80/C/T USB powered touch screen. One cable does it all: power, video signal, and touch interface control. The monitor can be used with both Mac and PC platforms. HD movies appear smoother on a Mac platform. However, PC drivers for this monitor include more functionality including more calibration features, and a touch without moving curser feature.

    Buy the Lilliput 8 Inch USB Touch Screen UM-80/C/T.

    Updated 03-24-2010 at 04:08 PM by Jensen2000

    Categories
    Products and Technology
  4. The iPad's role in your car?

    by , 03-18-2010 at 04:54 AM


    At first glance, the idea of having a 7.5" x 9.5" iPad in or around my dash doesn't sound realistic or desirable at all. The New York Times liked the concept. Navigadget hates it. I hated it, but the more I think about it the more I like it. About a year ago we did a video of how the iphone was the death of the PND and the concept here is similar. The iPad's size and a few other details aren't perfect but many people will find a way to mount these in their car. Why? Love it? Hate it? Let's get the debate rolling on the mp3Car forums. Some key pieces of technology and features contained in the iPad are leapfrogging features currently available in the car:


    A GPS: (Assisted GPS) From the specs, the GPS looks great on the GSM models but it is hard to know until we test it. If it is as good as the iphone we have a winner. AGPS should be an improvement over the location technology in the majority of navigation devices. GPS accuracy and speed to a location fix is dramatically improved by quickly sensing the wifi and cellular towers nearby. This gives the user an approximate location until the GPS can lock you down to within a few feet.

    Connected features built in: Traffic, Real time Map updates, weather, gas prices, streaming entertainment, others.

    Enhanced voice recognition: I have been amazed at the accuracy of voice recognition on the iphone, specifically using built in voice recognition as well as third party applications like Dragon. A great microphone and a decent CPU are two critical elements to good voice recognition. The Ipad has about twice the CPU power of the iphone and most likely one of Apple's high quality microphones.

    Multipurpose device: Apple does a good job explaining the multiple uses outside of the car

    Touch Screen: How many times have you fought with an inferior touch screen on your factory navigation, Car Computer or PND? Why are these touch screens so poor? There are several reasons:
    • Most nav devices use cheap resistive touch screens. Those that use capacitive screens use low quality versions or don't have the software to match the screen type.
    • For after market devices, there is tremendous pressure to keep the total product cost low due to profit margins in the distribution chain.
    • For factory navigation, auto manufacturers are forced to start planning their products years in advance before newer technology is released.
    • Designers are also heavily limited in their materials and technology selection due to the consumer expectation that your in car nav device work for a decade or more in extreme environments with a very low failure rate.
    • Touch screen for car computers are also slightly behind the times due to the lack of market demand.
    • The bottom line is that new cars rolling off the lot have yesterday's technology.

    Larger screen: Since I am hitting the ripe old age of 30, my eyes aren't what they used to be. Even for you young wiper snappers, you should be able to read your device out of peripheral vision. A larger screen will help us stay focused on the road by limiting squinting to get us the data we need.

    Sunlight readability: There is a good chance the iPad will be sunlight readable, and we will find out on April 3rd.

    In Car mounting & Docking: The cables to make an ipad connect to your car radio are readily available. The key to making this feasible is a proper universal docking solution that is driver friendly. I have an e-mail into some docking station vendors to see if anything is on the horizon.

    Updated 03-18-2010 at 09:25 AM by optikalefx

    Categories
    Products and Technology
  5. mp3Car now Smart Phone Friendly

    by , 03-10-2010 at 01:42 PM
    At long last mp3Car.com is now iPhone and smart phone ready.

    What does this mean?
    Our homepage will flow to fit smaller screens for better viewing. Also, all of our videos* are viewable on the iPhone. Your mobile device may also support the videos as well, they are mp4 640x360 at about 1mbps bit rate. with 44khz AAC.

    The forum itself has not changed, but we have future plans in place to make an optimized mobile interface for your mobile posting pleasures.

    *Older vimeo videos are not viewable without flash...Yet.

    Updated 03-10-2010 at 01:46 PM by optikalefx

    Categories
    mp3Car News