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  • Why me?

    I thought my carpc project was going great. I went to Circuit City, bought a Sony amplifier, and had them install it. I bought an Opus 150 and drilled up an old AT case to fit it and a motherboard I had sitting around, as well as a laptop hard drive. I bought a Lilliput and tried to make a mounting system for it, but gave up for the moment and just stuck it in the radio slot (it wedges in there pretty well). But, the strange problems had begun. With me, anything that can go wrong most definitely always does.

    One day soon after I started using my system, the car wouldn't start. When I first put the key in and turned it, nothing lit up at all. Well, I got the thing jumped up and it wasn't a problem again for a couple days, but then it happened again...only this time it did start eventually. Everything started dark, but then the lights slowly came on as I held the key down in the start position over a period of maybe 30 seconds.

    I disconnected the computer and amplifier for a few days by removing their fuses. It worked at first, but then I had trouble starting again. I figured that the battery's ability to hold a charge had been destroyed when it was fully drained. I surmised this was happening because of the Opus standby power draw I had just recently learned about. I had the battery replaced and went about fixing the power draw.

    I measured the system's current drain while off: 0.11 amps. I went to Radio Shack, bought a relay, and rigged up the relay/diode solution described in the long Opus 150 standby power thread. I measured it with my multimeter, and everything looked great: 0.01 amps draw while off. I hooked everything back up and started enjoying my music.

    This afternoon, my car took an extra two seconds to start again. I hoped it was nothing, but tonight at school it did the same thing it had before: I only got it started after a couple minutes. So I'm sitting there after paging through my car manual and seeing that it says the alternator is rated at 180 amps wondering if the total system could be now drawing more than that. And then I notice that the airbag light is on.

    My first thought is that perhaps the voltage is low, and that caused the light to come on. Anyway, I wanted to get to the bottom of all this starting nonsense, so I went to the trunk and popped out the fuses again. The amp and alternator were completely off. I then restarted the car and revved it a bit for a few minutes, then restarted it again. No change. I was a little upset at that point, hoping the airbag wouldn't go off in my face at some random point, but I decided to drive home on the interstate anyway. I mean, those things are designed never to go off unless you get in an accident. I trust it, somewhat.

    So I drove home. From school it takes me between 20 and 30 minutes at 60-70 miles per hour. The amp and computer were disconnected the whole time. I figured that would definitely be enough time to charge up the battery sufficiently for normal (non-PC) use. When I got home and pulled into the driveway, I turned the car off. Then I tried to start it again immediately. Guess what? Same problem. Oh, and the airbag light still goes on.

    I'm seriously considering junking the whole carpc thing. All it has been is trouble for me. I mean, I consider myself fairly intelligent and though not too knowledgeable about cars, I do know how electricity works...and nothing ever seems to make sense. One of my theories is that my house is a meeting point for all strange electronic occurrences in the universe. This is just another of many.

  • #2
    That really sucks man. Have you tried a different battery in the car?
    Installed
    Asus A7N8X-VM - AMD Mobile Athlon 2400
    512 Ram - 60GB HD - Opus 150w
    Lilliput 7" - Rikaline 6010
    [00000000000001100010-] 98% Completed

    Check Out My Install!!!

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    • #3
      As I said before, I bought a new battery about halfway through the process.

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      • #4
        Pop the caps off the battery and see if it needs water in it. Draining the battery completely will often boil the water out of the battery. The water should come to the bottom of the plastic fill holes in each cell. Be sure to use distilled water for longest battery life.
        www.bradleyjacobs.com

        There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life. -- Frank Zappa

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        • #5
          The battery is brand new...3 days old...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by GWRedDragon
            As I said before, I bought a new battery about halfway through the process.
            I missed that part.
            Installed
            Asus A7N8X-VM - AMD Mobile Athlon 2400
            512 Ram - 60GB HD - Opus 150w
            Lilliput 7" - Rikaline 6010
            [00000000000001100010-] 98% Completed

            Check Out My Install!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              return the battery.....?
              mobo $130 ; 150wOpus-$200 ; 256mb pc2700 -$10 ; 120gb HDD 7200-$70 ; Lilliput TS 7"-$265 ; USB LAN-Free AR ; Rikaline 6010 GPS-$34 ; ShuttleXpress-$37
              Total = $746....Carputer = Priceless

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              • #8
                Seeing as though this happened with two batteries I'm generally inclined to believe it isn't a broken battery...

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                • #9
                  Is there anything else in your car that isn't stock that draws power?

                  Do you have your screen drawing power when the car is off maybe?

                  Have you got your alternator checked?

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                  • #10
                    hey i know how you feel...my carputer setups been a lot of trouble too, but don't give up!
                    CarPC install is starting to come along again...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by archimense
                      Is there anything else in your car that isn't stock that draws power?
                      I unplugged the screen. If anything, it should in theory be drawing LESS power now than it did before, as I no longer have the stock headunit in there drawing its tiny clock power.

                      Originally posted by archimense
                      Have you got your alternator checked?
                      No. Is that the sort of thing that often goes bad in cars of this age? Is it possible for the alternator to produce some current, but way under its rated current, if it is bad?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GWRedDragon
                        No. Is that the sort of thing that often goes bad in cars of this age? Is it possible for the alternator to produce some current, but way under its rated current, if it is bad?
                        Yes and yes. Assuming you took your current readings at the battery, that ~10mA measurement should not give you any problems. If you're down to that and still having problems with your battery, then your alternator is a good place to look for the problem.

                        Once your battery drained the first time, it would have put extra stress on your alternator so that might have finished it off. Brace yourself because new alternators can be pricey.

                        Good luck!
                        2004 4runner

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                        • #13
                          Have you checked the power wiring of the amplifier? I don't trust Circuit City "installers"
                          My Install Thread
                          digitaljetta.com

                          MKIV VW Jetta
                          How do I get sound to my car?

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                          • #14
                            Sounds totally alternator to me. Sounds like it isn't charging your battery. So every start or non-running electric use eats on the battery charge.

                            Go to any battery retail /install shop (sears, etc, etc), possibly the one your bought the new battery from.... Tell them the problem. They should run a Charging System test... most likely totally free. They should have done this when you purchased another battery, most do.

                            I would recommend reconnecting all your equipment, before they run the test.

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                            • #15
                              ppgt has a good point also. Your amplifier has a turn-on lead. This is normally connected to a power antenna lead from the stereo (some decks have a seperate lead.) If they did'nt properly connect this lead. It is possible that your amp is never turning off.

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