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External Soundcard problem??? turning on and off??

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  • External Soundcard problem??? turning on and off??

    Well, I am not new to the forum, I have been lurking around with a friend for quite sometime while we built my car pc. Everything works great, except for this one problem. After driving around for about 30 minutes, the sound (audio) just goes dead. the amplifier is still working, but I think that it is the external soundcard that is going dead. I can reboot the computer a few minutes after this happens, and it seems to resolve the problem for a while, and then it happens again.

    On occasion, the sound will go dead for about 15 seconds, come back for 10, and keep doing that by itself until i reboot.

    here are the specs for the PC: (Sorry, I do not know all too much about computers, I did most of the fabrication and my friend did most of the technical stuff while building this PC, so please be patient )

    Micro ATX Motherboard
    M2-ATX 160W Intelligent DC-DC PSU
    Western Digital 250 GB Harddrive
    Creative Soundblaster External soundcard
    EVGA Nvidiageforce FX video card
    Lilliput 7" VGA Touchscreen
    legacy 4 channel amp

    as a side note, since the usb cables that i am using are 15' long and reach from my center console to the trunk where the computer is, I have been using a powered USB hub to help with any power losses that there might be. I have not yet even used my external dvd-rom drive because of this issue, as i would like everything to be running smoothly. any ideas/input would be much appreciated. thanks!!!

  • #2
    29 views and no one knows??

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    • #3
      rnstien69,

      I am not an expert but I have been using a CarPC now for over a year with good reliabllity and performance. I also have many years experience with car stereos, Neo Mp3 car player and PCs. I have made a living in the PC business since Commodore VIC 20/Atari 800 days over 20 years (there that gives away my age).

      I recently upgraded to my "next generation" CarPC similiar config to yours with an external USB hub in the console with one exception - I am using an internal sound card. I had notice that I was intermittingly losing contact with devices (keyboard, mouse, touch screen & USB UIRT) attached to my HUB which has a 15ft USB cable to the PC in my trunk. However, since I added a 5v POL power source for my DLINK 7port HUB it seems to have been the trick to eliminating these issues.

      I was wondering how are you powering the HUB's 5V requirment?
      XP Pro, BIOSTAR GEFORCE 6100-M9, 1.5GB Ram, 80 GB and 320GB Sata,
      EMU0404 sound Card, Xenarc 700T, Boss Audio BX55, KAC 9102D AMP, KAC 8402 AMP

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      • #4
        well, to power the hub I tapped into the 12V cigarette lighter and have stepped the voltage down to 5V. I have a feeling that maybe there is not enough current? I think the hub requires something like 1 ampere, or 1000 mA and I measured something like 600 mA.

        I was thinking about an internal soundcard, but I was going to hack up the external one so that I could use its volume control, but that never happened. But an internal soundcard seems like the right way to go.

        another idea that I came up with is to use a capacitorfor the computer's power supply. I am thinking that maybe the p/s just cant deliver the required voltage to the soundcard for a long period of time, so maybe when other components that are used in the car have an effect on the computer.

        I dunno?? any input on this??

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        • #5
          That cap will not do anything for you so don't even bother.

          On occasion, the sound will go dead for about 15 seconds, come back for 10, and keep doing that by itself until i reboot.
          What processor are you using? Maybe your M2-atx is not powerfull enough to keep everything powered up. Look into the mp3car store for some POL to either increase your 12V or your 5V, or maybe a DS-ATX PSU instead of your M2-ATX. Without knowing what processor you have, it's hard to say. If it's a P4, the M2-ATX is not really enough power to power that properly.

          After driving around for about 30 minutes, the sound (audio) just goes dead.
          Is your computer setup to turn off USB devices to save power?

          Maybe you have a bad hub? bad connection?
          System always under construction


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          • #6
            Originally posted by rnstein69 View Post
            well, to power the hub I tapped into the 12V cigarette lighter and have stepped the voltage down to 5V. I have a feeling that maybe there is not enough current? I think the hub requires something like 1 ampere, or 1000 mA and I measured something like 600 mA.

            I was thinking about an internal soundcard, but I was going to hack up the external one so that I could use its volume control, but that never happened. But an internal soundcard seems like the right way to go.

            another idea that I came up with is to use a capacitorfor the computer's power supply. I am thinking that maybe the p/s just cant deliver the required voltage to the soundcard for a long period of time, so maybe when other components that are used in the car have an effect on the computer.

            I dunno?? any input on this??
            Normally USB needs 500mA per port, so a 4 port hub would need 2A! Everyting depends on the devices connected off course. Check the power requirements of the soundcard - my Audigy 2 NX uses 1.2A !

            Good luck!
            List of front-ends/usefull apps
            XTroniC | XTroniC Direct

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            • #7
              I am thinking the big source of your problem would be the 15' cable. Have you got a cheap powered hub that you can increase the power to?? If it is cheap maye it wont matter if it burns out and it will let you know if that is the problem too, bust as was said before you need more power to the hub because the more devices you put in the more power you require. I usb hub not powered will only have 5Volts and I am not sure how many mA over the 4 ports but each time something else is plugged in the more power is used. Increasing the power to the hub may help as long as you keep some devices plugged in at all times to ensure that it wont burn out. Are you able to add more ports to the PC itself?

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              • #8
                Well right now i removed the external soundcard, and I bought the Soundblaster Audigy SE and installed it in the pci slot, and installed the software, and it worked just fine. I guess later today when i take a decent length drive if that did the trick.

                Also, this is all in a 1995 Accord, w/H22. I dont know how familiar you guys are with honda, but sometimes when I would hit vtec this would also cause the external soundcard to shut off. I am assuming that the vtec solenoid would comsume too much power to allow other large components such as a carputer to run properly?

                Right now on the usb hub (which is still powered) I have only the touch screen usb component hooked up. Later on I would like to get the external DVD-Rom drive, and eventually a GPS antenna on that as well, so hopefully it would be able to support that.

                anyways, here are a couple of pics:



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                • #9
                  Well not sure why it was shutting off when you hit vtec, but i can tell you its not the solenoid is not the problem. It runs off the oil pressure only sends a signal to the ecu when activated.
                  Dick
                  08 Dodge Ram QC

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rydindirty View Post
                    Well not sure why it was shutting off when you hit vtec, but i can tell you its not the solenoid is not the problem. It runs off the oil pressure only sends a signal to the ecu when activated.
                    ok, i actually just came back from running some errands. the new internal card that i installed seems to be doing the same thing; shutting off 10-15 minutes after i start driving, normally.

                    it also seems to be acting up when i hit the brake, clutch, or turn signal. i dunno, its weird, and kind of driving me crazy!!

                    do you guys think that the amplifier could be bad? what do you think would cause this?? the turn on lead is hooked up to the power supply, so that when the computer is turned on, the amp goes on, same thing for when the computer is turned off, the amp is turned off.

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                    • #11
                      This problem still persists. I went through a few calculations, and back to the basics, I have a 1000 watt 4 channel amp; I know, way more power than what I really need to drive my polk components, so that is all that I had that was available.

                      P=I*E where P = power in watts, I = current in amps, and E = voltage (should be about 12v from the battery)

                      so, 1000 = I * 12v

                      so the amp is drawing about 83 amps of current. too much? maybe that is why other components in the car are affect the audio??

                      say i were to use a 200 or 300 watt amp, the current draw would be less than a third of what it is now; it would be about 17 or 25 amps respectively.

                      this is all speculation right now, so any input on this? what do you guys think?

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                      • #12
                        Check your grounds on everything. Make sure you have good metal contact. Scrape paint away and use a start washer if you need to. Verify your voltages. I think your 12v power is dropping too low, or it's a bad ground. I vote for bad ground.
                        System always under construction


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                        • #13
                          ground is very secure. i sanded way down to shinny metal and used a good sheet metal screw and washer on top of the terminal. like i said, the computer works perfectly even when the sound cuts out and the computer and amp are grounded at the same point.

                          BTW.. today i had the music pretty low, and no cutting out occurred at all, but i only had the 2 rear speakers on. for some reason, i just have a gut its the amp that is crapping out. i think im gonna try to get a decent 4 x 50 watt or 4 x 75 watt amp and see if an amp with less of a power draw does the trick.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rnstein69 View Post
                            ground is very secure. i sanded way down to shinny metal and used a good sheet metal screw and washer on top of the terminal. like i said, the computer works perfectly even when the sound cuts out and the computer and amp are grounded at the same point.

                            BTW.. today i had the music pretty low, and no cutting out occurred at all, but i only had the 2 rear speakers on. for some reason, i just have a gut its the amp that is crapping out. i think im gonna try to get a decent 4 x 50 watt or 4 x 75 watt amp and see if an amp with less of a power draw does the trick.
                            Are you running the remote for the amp off the accessory fuse, or one connected to the devices which seem to be causing your audio to shut off? A 30-amp car relay for remote would solve that problem. I would look at undervoltage as well. A 1000 watt four channel amp that's not too efficient, plus a carputer and peripherals, can be a large current draw for a factory charging system. Some amps will tell you via colored light whether it's shutting off due to undervoltage or whether it's in protect due to something like a speaker wire going to ground somewhere.
                            I have too much time and too little aggravation in my life, so I built a carPC. ;)

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                            • #15
                              rnstein,
                              Im not an expert on audio, but have decent experience with audio and computers.
                              I would recommend
                              1. Checking your amp when the sound goes off, is the amp is still on, sometimes when an amp overheats, it shuts off itself until cooled, instead of blowing up.
                              2. Check if the remote wire that you are using off of M2 is giving current to the amp.(in which case the amp will be off).

                              If its non of those two, i would keep a headphone handy, and when the sound goes off, plug it into ur computer and see if u can hear anything. that would rule out if its the computer sound or not.

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