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  • Carputer Randomally Freezes When Car's in Motion

    My Carputer is built and ready to go. It works great at home (w/AC power supply) and it works great in a parked car (using opus). The problem is the carputer Randomly freezes when my car is in motion. Here's what i've observed.

    1) The sound stops coming through speakers.
    2) Frodoplayer feezes.
    3) Touchscreen becomes inresponsive.

    Here are the strange observations that happen only sometime.

    1) Keyboard is working after the system is froze. (I can open the start menu using the windows key) This happens for very limited time and then I get loss of signal on monitor.
    2) Sometimes, windows doesn't respond to keyboard (start menu doesn't open); however, if I hit the num lock key, the light goes away. But the same is not true for caps lock.

    My opinion: Since this only happens when car's in motion, it can only be two things.

    1) Battery Level drops when car's in motion: This is least likely to happen since I've a brand new G35 and besides isn't OPUS suppose to take of that?

    2) Hard Drive Shock: I'm currently using a desktop 3.5" IDE 20GB hard drive. I have a feeling that hard drive skips and windows freezes...

    Does anyone else have any other suggestions. I'm running my computer with bare minimum (keyboard and a usb sound card) to test whether any peripherals have a role to play. I've tested with and without touchscreen to see if that makes a difference.

    Should I invest in a laptop hard drive to see if that makes any difference. Please help me my fellow carputer users. I'm trying to get this carputer working in my car from last 3 mos

  • #2
    It is 100% positive you have a bad connection somewhere or your HDD can't take the vibration... I'll go with the bad connection though. Check your cables, especially the RED input lead for the OPUS. (If it's not connected directlly to the battery do that)
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    • #3
      I was getting similar situations and quickly determined it to be bumps and the hard drive. Which way is your hard drive situated? Horizontal or vertical.

      I also did have a situation where a bolt from my case came loose and bounced around on the mobo. I found the bolt, and no harm was done, but I was getting strange freezes too.
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      • #4
        I had this exact problem...

        It is a power issue. Since then i got a 2.5" hard drive and an Optima Yellow top battery as my cranking battery.

        One strange thing that i noticed was that if i turned the car off and cranked the engine (like at a stop sign) the hard drive would spin back up and everything would unfreeze.

        Now i have no problems. Also it could be your wiring. what gauge wire did you use for the Opus. You could be starving it
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        • #5
          Check all your connections: Power to the PC, power cables inside the case, Cards, memory, ribbon cables and such.

          It could be a loose wire. It is not common for HDs to cause this due to vibration. They are very durable, even when the car is totaled with a bent frame (personal experiance)
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          • #6
            Do you have a TV tuner installed? Check for Driver updates for your BIOS/Chipset...AGP Fast Write, PCI latency < 12 etc.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by KaiTech
              It is 100% positive you have a bad connection somewhere or your HDD can't take the vibration... I'll go with the bad connection though. Check your cables, especially the RED input lead for the OPUS. (If it's not connected directlly to the battery do that)
              I'm going to hardwire the opus to eliminate this out of question. Thanks for the suggestion. The Opus is directly connected to battery using an 8 gauge wire.

              Originally posted by carpcnoobie
              I was getting similar situations and quickly determined it to be bumps and the hard drive. Which way is your hard drive situated? Horizontal or vertical.

              I also did have a situation where a bolt from my case came loose and bounced around on the mobo. I found the bolt, and no harm was done, but I was getting strange freezes too.
              I initially had my hard drive mounted vertically; however, even though I have it mounted horizontally now I still get random freezes, not as many though.

              Originally posted by antimatter
              I had this exact problem...

              It is a power issue. Since then i got a 2.5" hard drive and an Optima Yellow top battery as my cranking battery.

              One strange thing that i noticed was that if i turned the car off and cranked the engine (like at a stop sign) the hard drive would spin back up and everything would unfreeze.

              Now i have no problems. Also it could be your wiring. what gauge wire did you use for the Opus. You could be starving it
              Well if it's a power issue then it must be the connection from battery to opus. Originally there was an issue with that plug on OPUS and Kris at Opus asked me to fix it. According to other suggestion, i'm going to hardwire battery wires to opus (doing away with the plug) I'm sure the battery is fine since it's a 7 mos old car.
              Originally posted by nickmig
              Do you have a TV tuner installed? Check for Driver updates for your BIOS/Chipset...AGP Fast Write, PCI latency < 12 etc.
              I don't have a tv tuner installed. I'm using the computer with bare minimum (keyboard, touchscreen, usb sound, and other peripherals. This include no cd rom, no pci card, no mouse, etc..)

              Things to Do: (In order of Priority)

              1) Hardwire Opus
              2) Check for all connections
              3) Check for secure MOBO to chasis
              4) Replace 3.5" drive with a laptop hard drive
              5) Buy all parts again and start over (IMPROBABLE)
              6) Scratch off the project (IMPOSSIBLE)

              I'll update all members after I gett through the first 3 at least. Please have the suggestions coming in so I can enjoy being a happy carpuser as well Thanks guys for all the support. This forum is the best!

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              • #8
                My system has the same symptoms, but mine has also happened sitting in my house using a brick power supply.
                I haven't figured out what it is in the least, but you should try running it for a couple of hours in your house to make sure it's not software related or you case not providing enough air flow etc.. I'm using a Travla c134 case.

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                • #9
                  what is your exact setup? which opus is it? maybe you are drawing too much current?

                  --mike
                  CarPC

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                  • #10
                    - Not enought power? (Less likely because it works when car not in motion)
                    - Power connector to hard drive loose?
                    - Hard drive mounting. Vibration while in motion. (This is the problem I had before. Since I tighten all 4 screws, it works fine). Make sure the HD is tight to the case and the case MUST securely tight to the car.
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                    • #11
                      The problem you are describing is hard drive related, with a big asterisk. When windows cannot read or write data to the hard drive, the parts which are still in memory will function. As parts of the OS and programs that need data from the hard drive are accessed, they will lock up. This is why you can access the start menu (the first layer is cached), but when you start to go more into it, it locks. The keyboard is one of the first things to work and one of the last to fail. Here's where the * comes in. While a few people seem to know what is causing this, it can be a varity of things (my carputer just started to do this last night, so I have to dig through this list too.)

                      Your hard drive is not getting enough juice.
                      Your hard drive does not have a good connection.
                      The hard drive is damaged/has bad clusters. (Run a thorough scan disk.)

                      If you can boot up without an issue, it is probably bad clusters. Booting up usually uses the most juice.

                      There is a tiny chance it is memory related, but if it works at home with no problems when you open everything up, you can rule that out.

                      Try to see if it locks up when accessing a certain part of the hard drive (like a certain song or a certain program.) That is a sign that it is a bad cluster.

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                      • #12
                        I had a similar problem twice now. I was quick to blame the HD or power but was wrong both times. If I've learned anything working on my carpc project, its to never assume anything. It can be a costly mistake.

                        The first incident involved a pci slot and my sound card. Whenever I hit a hard bump, the card would pop out slightly. It wasn't bad enough that the card was completely disconnected, but it may have lost connection for some brief time causing the system to stop responding temporarily or crash.

                        After a few months, it started happening again. This time my system event log showed some HD errors. I took the HD inside and ran the HD utilities, but it passed all the tests. Upon further inspection, the IDE cable in the car was slightly nicked (probably from the cpu fan). I replaced the cable and all is well.


                        If you're getting a blue screen, you may be able to use memory dump utilities to isolate the issue. Also check the system event logs. My guess is a loose or bad connection.
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                        • #13
                          I disagree, I don't think it's a bad thing to assume anything. Just start with the cheapest, least time consuming option first, and go from there. I recommend you test to see if it is hardware related - BEFORE you rewire everything.

                          I had the same problem with my machine as well.

                          Try this.
                          Take the computer out of the car and run it for a few days. Don't shut it off, play music all night long and see if it hangs or crashes.
                          If your machine does not hang or crash, the problem is most likely hardware related.

                          Next, check if everything is in tight. Like everyone else said, something could rattle loose, pop out, etc...

                          In terms of getting a laptop HD, that is totally unneccessary. In the case of my machine, I determined it to be an older desktop HD which doesn't take the shocks as well as the newer ones do. If you are seriously considering getting a new HD, just get a nice 160 gig for like $100. The newer HD's (even the 7200 rpms) take shock nearly as well as the laptop drives.

                          At the time I had my problem, I bought a new 80 gig 7200 rpm HDD, and never had a problem since. The newer drives can take the shocks impacts and bumps as well as the laptop drives, and are still a ton cheaper.

                          As for why you are using an opus, rather than an inverter........
                          Does the opus have any sort of protection built into them, that inverters have?
                          for low voltage, battery run down, etc?
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