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  1. Automotive Computing (R)Evolution - The Android Head Unit Build - The Quest for Power

    by , 06-22-2013 at 08:05 PM


    The Quest for (always-on) Power

    A part of the challenge when planning the Android head unit build was finding the best way to power the development board in the car. One area that tablets and smart phones have an advantage over a development board like the ODROID-X2 is that they come with a battery. This means that not only can the be powered by something as simple as a 12v car plug, but also that there's some level of power remaining after the vehicle ignition stops.

    As mentioned in previous posts, my choice to provide a stable power output to the 5 volt 2 amp ODROID-X2 is the Minibox intelligent DC/DC converter. The Minibox device can be configured to provide the 5 volts the X2 needs, as well as the 12v a standard Lilliput touchscreen requires. While this device can provide the power the development board demands during a drive, there's no easy way to notify the ODROID-X2 that the ignition signal is off and the board needs to shut down gracefully. A quick search on Amazon presented me an opportunity to potentially never have to shutdown, effectively creating an always-on solution for the ODROID-X2.




    The Anker Astro E4 is an external power source specifically designed to recharge tablets and smart phones. It provides a mammoth 13000mAh, enough juice to completely recharge a Samsung Galaxy S3 twice over and then some. The new plan given the E4's specs is simple. Instead of the Minibox DC/DC powering the ODROID-X2 directly, it will instead charge the external battery pack. The battery back will then serve a constant dose of 5 volt power to the ODROID-X2. Using the all too valuable android app Tasker, I can set the development board into a low power state, stopping all non-critical processes and turning the WIFI and GPS devices off. Tasker can automate this task based on my phone disconnecting from the Bluetooth connection the ODROID-X2 creates upon startup, then automatically restore the power state upon Bluetooth reconnection.


    The key to the planned implementation of the battery is the real-world battery life available, a factor that I've only begun to start testing. Nevertheless, the preliminary results are very promising. With the ODROID-X2 in full power mode (no services/devices disabled), the Anker battery has been running 6 hours without 1 of the 4 charge light indicators showing a partial discharged state. If I can effectively achieve 2-3 days out of a battery charge, the always-on portion of the Android head unit build will be considered a success!

    More test results soon to come, along with a video breakdown of how Tasker automates my Android install.
  2. More on CES: "Square" your car PC away with Xi3

    by , 01-16-2013 at 01:10 PM

    The Xi3 booth at CES was jam-packed with these ultra-cool x86 computing systems. Shown above is the Xi3 5A. This 4" modular cube houses a 1.8ghz dual-core AMD CPU, 2GB of system RAM, and up to 1TB of solid state storage. It's modular design allows for a host of peripheral devices, with multiple options for USB/ eSATA, and display ports. The 5A does include a fan for system cooling, but I can say after demoing the device it's indeed silent. It sips power at only 20 watts, and can be powered from 12-24v.






    So what's missing from making this a go to Car PC option? The only downside i see is the lack of the smart automotive power management that we know from Opus and Minibox systems, but because the device is modular and Xi3 is looking at the device to be installed anywhere possible, the engineers eyes lit up at the idea of creating a automotive add-on module to handle that. ETA is of course unknown, but it's great that there's another company out there that gets frenzied up for car PC goodies.


    If the 1.8 dual core isn't enough power for your setup, Xi3 has other builds that might work. The X7a, while slightly more power demanding at 40 watts, packs quad core power and more memory to boot. It's plenty powerful enough for the user who needs to video edit or game on the go.

    The Xi3 modular systems start at just $399.

  3. CarNetix P2140 (part 2) - Power your laptop with Goce from mp3Car

    by , 06-15-2009 at 07:57 AM
    Goce from mp3Car will walk you through the steps necessary to power your laptop using unregulated ~6~24 volts with only the p2140 and the wire your laptop power adapter came with.



    -For this project you need the following materials:
    -p2140 and 8pin molex output harness
    -Wire strippers 14-22 gauge
    -Bench battery
    -Multimeter
    -Shrink tubing and heat shrink tubing gun OR electrical tape
    -Solder gun and non leaded solder
    -laptop and its power brick
    -knife or scissors

    To finalize this project you should do a continuity test on the stripped wire to find out which is positive and which is negative. Then you can twist and solder the p2140 output wires to the cut laptop brick wires. Turn it on to test it one more time, and then plug it into your laptop to test.

    Updated 12-07-2009 at 02:00 PM by Heather

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  4. CarNetix P2140 - Power your laptop with Goce from mp3Car

    by , 06-09-2009 at 09:32 PM


    Goce from mp3Car will walk you through the steps necessary to power your laptop using only the p2140 and the wire your laptop power adapter came with.

    -For this project you need the following materials:
    -p2140 and 8pin molex output harness
    -Wire strippers 14-22 gauge
    -Bench battery
    -Multimeter
    -Shrink tubing and heat shrink tubing gun OR electrical tape
    -Solder gun and non leaded solder
    -laptop and its power brick
    -knife or scissors

    The basic procedure here is to cut and strip the laptop power brick, while NOT cutting the multi-strand wires right beneath the black plastic. Then soldering the positive wire of the primary output from the p2140 to positive end of the now cut power brick cord. And then the same for the negative.

    In the next video we will show you how to test the polarity using continuity and then actually test turing on the laptop using only the power from the p2140 (through the bench battery of course)

    Updated 09-17-2009 at 03:01 PM by optikalefx

    Categories
    How To Videos