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Thread: How can I power my car from a standard outlet?

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate BoyRacer0013's Avatar
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    How can I power my car from a standard outlet?

    First thread in this forum , I was wondering how I should go about powering my car computer from a standard 120 volt outlet when the car is parked and the engine is not running. I would like to do this for things like updates, file transfers, ext. My goal is to have a single cable I can hook to the car in the garage that will supply power as well as a wired network connection.

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    What about just finding a battery charger to keep the main battery full.
    My setup uses about 4amps so if I were to do this I'd look for a charger that could put out close to 4amps.

    That being said, I'd left my system on over night a couple times and was able to start the car in the morning.
    The battery is only about 1 year old so maybe an older battery wouldn't do as well.

  3. #3
    Raw Wave
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    Presuming it's all 12V, you can either buy a regulated 12V DC supply (I'd suggest a ATX supply - the cheapest and usually big enough (like >12A at 12V) and plug the stuff onto that.


    If wanting to use a battery charger, then get one that can be used with the battery still wired to the vehicle. (Some can supposedly induce spikes or use voltages than can damage car electronics.) And some can indude noise, though I think later "smart" chargers with intelligent charging should be fine - like CTeks or my recent $25 Aldi 3.8A 4-stage charger.)
    The capacity will have to meet/exceed what your stuff drains.



    IMO the latter is the better option since a charger is useful equipment anyhow, and is good is recharging your battery whilst being used.

    OTOH, the ATX supplies can be bought for $10-$45 and are a simple reconnect solution.


    I have been thinking of looking into ATX voltage conversions - including extending the +12V or +5V rails as battery chargers )up to ~16V (change the voltage feedback scale and change caps to 25V types). Imaging a 20A batter charger for the price of an ATX supply (and maybe later add a chip to control the charge cycle and voltages...).
    Though some may be easily boosted to 14.4V for use on batteries in cars ((add 2.4V to the feedback - maybe four 0.6V diodes in series).

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    Constant Bitrate BoyRacer0013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    Presuming it's all 12V, you can either buy a regulated 12V DC supply (I'd suggest a ATX supply - the cheapest and usually big enough (like >12A at 12V) and plug the stuff onto that.
    Do you mean a standard computer psu?

    I wanted to do this without breaking the bank, the only things I can find in my price range are meant for RV usage. I would like to mount the converter in my garage and run power cables to the car using a single cable and connector to run power ( maybe 8ga? ) and a network connection. How can I shield the network wires from the power ones?

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    My personal advice would be to set up a regulated 120V -> 12V adapter with enough capacity to handle your system and set it up somehow to do a live switchover upon being plugged in. Theoretically this should be much easier on the network cable running alongside it. This would only power the Carpenter and it's peripherals btw. Less to go wrong. I

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSpark View Post
    OTOH, the ATX supplies can be bought for $10-$45 and are a simple reconnect solution.
    Wouldn't this require the PC system be disconnected from the car power? So that would involve adding a transfer switch to the car.

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    Constant Bitrate BoyRacer0013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davekra View Post
    Wouldn't this require the PC system be disconnected from the car power? So that would involve adding a transfer switch to the car.
    I believe so... sounds like a lot of work
    Enter the LOTUS...
    (more info here)


    Pre-build thread


    Planning: ::::::::::::
    Parts: ::::::::::::
    Build: ::::::::::::
    Test: ::::::::::::
    Install: ::::::::::::

    Oh, yeah, and build the car... ::::::::::::

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    Constant Bitrate BoyRacer0013's Avatar
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    Okay, I think I have an idea, but I don't know how to build it. I found a power supply that I think I can use, and its pretty cheap (link). But I don't know how to connect the the 12volt rail of the PSU to 10 gauge 3 conductor wire to run it to the car.
    Enter the LOTUS...
    (more info here)


    Pre-build thread


    Planning: ::::::::::::
    Parts: ::::::::::::
    Build: ::::::::::::
    Test: ::::::::::::
    Install: ::::::::::::

    Oh, yeah, and build the car... ::::::::::::

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    Maximum Bitrate RAWPWR's Avatar
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    Red face

    BoyRacer0013,

    This is how I been using my carpc for garage/inside, and don't even use my car batt. This seems to work pretty well for me with the "M2-ATX" and the "Quick release kit- M2-MTR-5-PWR" from here @ mp3car. You have to buy (2) kits though. Never had a problem at all.


    http://store.mp3car.com/ProductDetai...ctCode=CBL-081


    http://www.batteryspace.com/connecto...connector.aspx


    http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=3097458


    "This might be a little tough on the pocket for some, but I also use this pwr unit for other projects too,...so this is a must for me.


    http://www.powerstream.com/ac-EA11203.htm

    Good Luck.
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    Constant Bitrate BoyRacer0013's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAWPWR View Post
    BoyRacer0013,

    This is how I been using my carpc for garage/inside, and don't even use my car batt. This seems to work pretty well for me with the "M2-ATX" and the "Quick release kit- M2-MTR-5-PWR" from here @ mp3car. You have to buy (2) kits though. Never had a problem at all.


    http://store.mp3car.com/ProductDetai...ctCode=CBL-081


    http://www.batteryspace.com/connecto...connector.aspx


    http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=3097458


    "This might be a little tough on the pocket for some, but I also use this pwr unit for other projects too,...so this is a must for me.


    http://www.powerstream.com/ac-EA11203.htm

    Good Luck.
    Thanks, but I would like to power not just the computer but the whole car (lights, horn, computer, ext.). So, I need at least 30 amps of 12 volt power. The cheapest way I have found to do this is to use a standard computer power supply (but only the 12 volt rail) to get that much power at 30 amps. but I'm not sure how to attach the wires to 12 volt rails of the PSU. Can I just solder all the 12volt wires into two 10 gauge wires ( one + and one - ) or should I remove the and solder directly to the board in one spot?

    EDIT: More specifically can I connect the 12volt rails together, and only use those 12volt rails?
    Last edited by BoyRacer0013; 12-08-2011 at 03:22 PM.
    Enter the LOTUS...
    (more info here)


    Pre-build thread


    Planning: ::::::::::::
    Parts: ::::::::::::
    Build: ::::::::::::
    Test: ::::::::::::
    Install: ::::::::::::

    Oh, yeah, and build the car... ::::::::::::

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