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  • Clear Hotspot

    Has anyone hard-wired a Clear 4G wireless hotspot into their car?

    Seems like a halfway reasonable idea...

  • #2
    I have a similar system, although I have used a TP-Link TL-MR3420 3g router in the dash, powered by my M4, so it comes on and off with the computer.

    It has the usual USB port on the back for plugging in a 3g USB modem, and then it creates a hotspot via wifi or wired connections for sharing the internet access.

    So the power useage is a little higher (Its designed for use in a house, so it pulls around 7 or 8W in use I believe), but the end result is about the same.

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    • #3
      There is a slight problem with that.

      1) Verizon charges more for tethering. You can root a motorola droid and tether for free, but there is the distinct possibility that Verizon could find out and leave you up a creek with MASSIVE fees.

      2) CDMA, in it's current revision, won't allow internet use and phone use at the same time. That means that, if I'm on a call, the music will stop and I will have to push buttons to get it back. If the two were separate, I could just push the MUTE button on the steering wheel, talk, then keep going hands free.

      I also like the idea of being able to open up my laptop or iPad to browse the internet without having to jump through hoops.

      I'm almost sold on the Clear 4G+ unit, but I'm waiting to find out if it is natively GPS capable (the unit itself is, since it's the same unit that Sprint sells as a 4G hotspot), but the function might not be enabled through Clear. If it is, then that allows me to track the car via GPS if needed. That earns a car insurance discount!

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      • #4
        I tether my jailbroken iphone using PDANet. I haven't had issues with my carrier so far.

        If you can afford the hotspot, I'd say do it. Makes life so much easier without having to plug your phone in. However, check and see if you actually get 4G service in your area or throughout your commute. I know that Sprint charges $10 more for 4G even if you don't have it in your area yet.

        I think that the GPS function in the device is meant only to detect whether or not you're in the US. I could be wrong though.
        Thanks!
        -VJ

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        • #5
          I live near DC. There is definitely 4G in the area. Clear uses Sprint's 4G when available, and reverts to whoevers 3G when 4G isn't available.

          The GPS function can, and has, been used to locate the device on the Sprint version. Kind of neat, actually.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BAC5point2 View Post
            I live near DC. There is definitely 4G in the area. Clear uses Sprint's 4G when available, and reverts to whoevers 3G when 4G isn't available.

            The GPS function can, and has, been used to locate the device on the Sprint version. Kind of neat, actually.
            Actually (at least here in Las Vegas), It's the other way around. Clear (with Sprint as the majority share holder) built out the 4G network before Sprint offered it. The Clear 4G/3G dongle (not sure about hotspot) uses the Clear network for 4G and falls back to the Sprint network for nation-wide 3G. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Clear supports the GPS functionality like Sprint does. I have a Franklin U300 4G/3G modem with GPS capability, but the Clear connection manager does not recognize the GPS functionality.

            I've had Clear 4G for over a year, and Clear 4G/3G for about 6 months now and I'd say that unless you plan to do a lot of cross-country or out of area driving, don't spend the extra money. Just get the 4G version. Unless you're ready to spend the money for a Cradlepoint auto-failover router, the auto-failover methods in Clear connection manager are essentially one-way. They will fail to 3G when 4G is not available, but will (in most cases) never roll back up to 4G when it is restored. You have to re-start the modem in order for it to re-connect to 4G. Regardless of what hardware you use, the failover is not seamless. The modem essentially has to stop and then change modes in order to connect to the alternate network. Around 30 seconds at best.

            I really like having 4G in my truck, and having the router (and wifi hotspot) makes connectivity with my DroidX a breeze. Being able to stay connected and use the phone in Centrafuse is a pretty good deal.

            VegasGuy

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            • #7
              I have Sprint and I tether also. I use EasyTether. It costs way less then PDAnet. I have the EVO so I get 4G in Miami (near Downtown). i thought that tethering would cause slower speeds then having a dedicated modem, boy was I wrong. Even at 3G speeds the internet is fairly fast. As much as I would have liked having my car always connected to the internet, it just really doesn't warrant having to pay for a second connection.

              As far as wifi, the setup already had it own access point. I decided to continue to use that even though the EVO can act as a HotSpot. I did this because Sprint wants 29.99 a month more to add that feature. The only way to get it free is to "root" the phone, something I am not comfortable with at all. So I simply tether my PC to the EVO, then share that connection. The wireless users simply connect to the Belkin G Access Point.
              Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

              1X Ainol Novo Flame Tab
              4X MK808b
              3x Perixx Touchpads
              3x 7 inch Screens
              1X 7 inch motorized Screen
              1x Win 7 PC

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              • #8
                Access Point

                I have a USB720 connected to my truckputer and listen to Pandora quite a bit (1 hour drive each way) with a 5gb data plan as well as the normal weather, traffic and internet access. Since I'm on Christmas break, I decided to backup the system and install a WIFI card so I can perform updates from the driveway instead of bringing out a thumbdrive with the updates and for bringing in the truck log files. I create logs from AutoEnginuity and GPSGate for analysis later.

                While I had the computer on the bench, I decided to try and build a hotspot using the computer itself. If it didn't work, then I won't loose anything since my current new every two is up and I'm upgrading to 4g anyway.

                The preliminary tests make this very viable for car use. So far, I can listen to Pandora on the truckputer and perform other functions on a second laptop. I'm pretty sure you could use a teathered phone and perform the same function without the added expense of an external access point. Remember, your car has a finite amount of power available and it is easy to overload the electrical system, so the fewer item attached, the better. Besides, no extra wires is always good as well as no new RF sources of possible interferance.

                I have photos and will be creating a work log to go online this week.

                Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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                • #9
                  A little perspective....

                  Just out of curiosity, what would you all say is the total draw (amps) of a typical carPC setup? How would that compare to a set of fog lights, for instance? Or a 500wt audio amplifier? It's probably important to put the power issue into perspective. It's certainly worth consideration, but its also pretty unlikely that anything you do with a carPC will produce the most significant load your alternator or electrical system has to contend with.

                  Of course, if your system is already loaded down with a monster stereo and additional lighting, then adding a carPC to the mix isn't going to make things better. I just don't want anyone thinking they need to upgrade their alternator because they want to use a mobile hotspot or router. I have a Cradlepoint MBR1200 3G/4G router that I use for a hotspot and it's MAX power consumption is 1.5 amps. I would imagine most of the hotspot devices are even less than that.

                  VegasGuy

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                  • #10
                    Mobile Hotspot

                    My reference to power is just an added benefit of fewer components. My configuration has been in development for almost two years and I'm just now finalizing the install. Power is usually not an issue, however, wiring is always an issue. The fewer components (ie: the more integration) the better since the install will be simplier.

                    The automobile industry is battling this issue with current and future designs. As automobiles become more complex, wiring, not power, is the issue. There are new 24 and 42 volt systems on the drawing board, but wiring the multiude of switches, sensors, monitors and power outlets is becoming a big issue. We, in the carputer community, need to take a step back when we are designing our 'home brew' systems, part of the fun is designing a system that is easy to maintain and troubleshoot.

                    Example: I can remove my logic base by just disconnecting the power and usb connections. I have a test area on my bench to simulate everything else. I like simple and integrating components makes that a lot easier.

                    Just my 2 cents.
                    DNR

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dnr250 View Post
                      My reference to power is just an added benefit of fewer components. My configuration has been in development for almost two years and I'm just now finalizing the install. Power is usually not an issue, however, wiring is always an issue. The fewer components (ie: the more integration) the better since the install will be simplier.

                      The automobile industry is battling this issue with current and future designs. As automobiles become more complex, wiring, not power, is the issue. There are new 24 and 42 volt systems on the drawing board, but wiring the multiude of switches, sensors, monitors and power outlets is becoming a big issue. We, in the carputer community, need to take a step back when we are designing our 'home brew' systems, part of the fun is designing a system that is easy to maintain and troubleshoot.

                      Example: I can remove my logic base by just disconnecting the power and usb connections. I have a test area on my bench to simulate everything else. I like simple and integrating components makes that a lot easier.

                      Just my 2 cents.
                      DNR

                      Hahaha...I couldn't agree with you more about the wiring. I just pulled my entire system and re-did the harness. I use two PC cases in the back, one for the PC, and the other holds my HD radio, XM radio, relay controller, DC-DC PSU and UAS audio controller. My router, audio amp and boxes 1 and 2 are attached to the mainpower bus with molex connectors for easy removal, and the bus itself is filtered and fused and connects to the battery/ground/ignition with a molex, so I can disconnect everything with a single plug.

                      And you are absolutely correct about the trend in the auto industry towards modular, integrated components. You'll likely see more and more onboard systems placed on a single PCB, wrapped in plastic and stuck behind an interior panel, rather than a discrete hardware component.

                      VegasGuy

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by newpctech
                        I found this whne I was sizing my PSU http://www.antec.outervision.com/

                        I am apparently needing 138 watt PSU for my 330ion. Running the board with 6 USB (i would think max before a powered hub)....seems high but its 129 watts with 2 USB so I am going to opt for the higher number as I am running the gps, wireless and bluetooth 100%.

                        my original positong here was to use the USB wireless to create an adhock network for sharing..thus eliminating the need for a router or hotspot but its going to depend on how you get the internet in the first place. I am jacking into my phone either through bluetooth or usb and share the connection then adhock a wireless connection for passengers in the car.....not really needed but just something to do I guess. the internet through the phone does my GPS and all software updates as well as Pandora.

                        I have this in a e39 and going to build another.
                        Uh, keep in mind that Antec is in the business of selling power supplies. Good ones, I might add. But their numbers probably skew a "little" high. Using a M2-ATX PSU, I've been running a variety of Core 2 and Pentium CPUs, all of which draw considerably more power than an Atom 330. This is with 6-10 USB devices as well. Never a problem.

                        Get an M2-ATX or better and don't worry. If you're really concerned, a DSATX, Opus or Carnetics will provide plenty of overkill for your power requirements (especially with an Atom board).

                        VegasGuy

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