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  1. Hardware Review: Allianz Mini Jump Starter

    by , 12-10-2015 at 10:31 AM

    What is it?

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter is a portable vehicle jump starter with 5 volt charging and emergency light capability.

    What's in the box?
    The Mini Jump Starter comes with the portable charging unit, jumper cables, USB connector with various output possibilities, charging plugs for the home and automobile, instructions, and a convenient carrying case.

    The Verdict:

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter is a great way to have power for both your car and portable devices in a pinch. With a six-month battery memory, it's a great device to leave in your vehicle until emergencies happen.

    What will they think of next? My first impression of the Allianz Mini Jump Starter was how in this age of portable power banks did manufacturers overlook the ability to charge both our cell phones and our vehicles? The Allianz Mini Jump Starter does just that. It wont fit into your pocket like most of today's 5 volt portable charging options, but they don't have the ability to boost our vehicle battery's with up to 400 amps of boosting power.

    The Mini Jump Starter device is simple to use to jump start a vehicle in an emergency. Simply connect the terminals to their proper battery polarities, plug the terminals into the battery bank, and power the Mini Jump Starter on. Then simply turn the key and the vehicle will start as intended. 5 volt charging works the same way. Connect the USB cable to the battery bank, and use one of the available connectors (iPod, Lightning, Mini USB, Micro USB) to charge a wide array of 5 volt devices like tablets and cell phones. There are two USB ports available on the battery bank; one 2.1 amp, and an 1 amp. Simultaneous charging of two devices is also available.

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter will charge tablet and smartphone devices many times before it needs to be recharged itself. When jump starting a vehicle battery, it is advised that you recharge the battery bank after each jump start. The Mini Jump Starter LED will illuminate blue when its ready to charge, and turn to red when it's time to plug the battery in for a boost. Both home and car chargers are included to recharge the Mini Jump Starter.

    In other roadside problems that occur with vehicles, the Allianz Mini Jump Starter provides a convenient led light to help at night. This light can glow solid to use as a flashlight when trying to see inside the hood at night. It also has a flashing mode, which is perfect in scenarios that a stranded driver needs to summon someone for help, or to avoid a vehicle on the side of the road in low light situations.

    The Verdict:

    The Allianz Mini Jump Starter is a great way to have power for both your car and portable devices in a pinch. With a six-month battery memory, it's a great device to leave in your vehicle until emergencies happen.

    The Allianz Portable Mini Jump Starter is available at You can buy here:

    Updated 12-10-2015 at 10:34 AM by Sonicxtacy02

    Product Reviews
  2. Automotive Computing (R)Evolution - The Android Head Unit Build Part 1

    by , 06-05-2013 at 02:49 PM

    The Crossroads...

    Somewhere, far too long ago to remember, I realized that a “practical” Windows-based car PC platform with all the bells and whistles may perhaps be an unreasonable goal. Now that my seemingly powerful-enough hardware is becoming more and more unreliable (and outdated), I find myself smack dab in the middle of crossroads pertaining to the future of my automotive infotainment platform. On one hand, I’ve got years and thousands of hours invested into attempting to create the perfect Windows automotive ecosystem. The other hand sees a more efficient platform brewing in Android, with updates and supporters that are seemingly blurring the lines between “on the go” and “in the car” applications.

    Old (Not So?) Faithful

    Perhaps I should have prefaced this blog with the fact that I am not a user of the “common” Windows car PC. My current Zotac/Intel dual-core car PC features include the following capabilities:

    - GPS Hardware with live tracking
    - Tire Pressure Monitoring
    - SpaceNavigator Control
    - Parking Sensor Interface
    - Rear Backup Camera
    - Fusion Brain with a host of various Sensors
    - XM/HD Radio
    - Custom Bluetooth Phone Hardware
    - Bluetooth ODX MX
    - USB Array Microphone for hands-free communications
    - A total of 21 USB devices, spread over 3 self-powered USB hubs

    All this hardware and more is being delicately managed by my choice of front end software. For the most part, the system as a whole works. But there are times where resume for system sleep doesn’t occur so smoothly, HD Radio fails to initialize, or the system draws so much voltage at rest that it completely drains an auxiliary power cell.

    The New Kid On The Block

    Now, based on the details of the Windows system, one might surmise that the run of the mill android tablet install might come short of fulfilling my demands. Raspberry Pi seemed initially intriguing, but falls short on true horsepower. In short, I need an Android board that can haul the load without compromise, all while sipping power. Enter the ODROID-X2, a 1.7ghz quad-core Android development board, complete with 2ghz RAM and a 64GB eMMC module. Essentially, this is the same Exynos4412 chip that powers the international variant of the Samsung Galaxy S3. It’s safe to say this device should meet my demands at a mere 5 volts and be powered by a Mini-Box DC/DC Power Converter.

    So the challenge as I so dramatically impose on myself, is to build a complete and total Android-based car PC platform to replace my current system and all of its capabilities. Join me as I get to know the development board, power up the system for bench testing, attempt the in-vehicle installation, and configure all necessary software along the way. Ultimately, the project may finally solve my longing desire to reliability integrate all of my madness into a modern automobile. Success or failure, every few days comes a new adventure. Check back next time for a new hardware component overview.

  3. Via makes ivp-7500 automotive platform? Hmmm. We think Not.

    by , 06-25-2009 at 09:00 AM
    Back in march VIA announced the new automotive ivp-7500 (press release ). The announcement got some press from slashgear , crunchgear and has spurred discussions on our forums . Via claims onboard support for Bluetooth and GPS, which in all reality appear to just be add on modules. It seems like VIA took an off the shelf board, slapped on a few modules and rebranded old tech to create the appearance of an automotive solution. This might be perfect for a hobbyist or an R&D lab but you can forget about auto provider shipping silicone with a 0c-60c spec. If someone from VIA would like to explain the press release in more details, please post on the forums or e-mail us. We would be happy to write some revised commentary if there is something we are missing. Talk about this Blog post on our forums.

    Continue discussion here on our forums.

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 04:12 PM by optikalefx

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