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Off-roading with a CarPC

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  • Off-roading with a CarPC

    I've done some searching with regards to hard drive shock absorption and such. All I've really found is that mounting the drive vertically is the right thing to do. I guess this keeps the disks from hitting eachother on bumps? Would this set-up be enough to keep it going while doing some mild-medium off-roading? (Trails, mudpits, etc) Or should I just turn off the PC while I'm off-roading? I've seen a few different shock-absorbing methods, but no real confirmation as to whether they work well or not. Anyone have something they're using that they feel is really good?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gearhead61
    I guess this keeps the disks from hitting eachother on bumps?
    Mounting vertically is used to fight head-slapping. The head is to a harddrive what a needle is to a record player. A head-slap occurs when a shock causes the head to strike the disk. This can cause damage to that area of the disk, or worse. Debris from the impact can gouge concentric rings all over the platter.

    Now, mounting vertically has been discussed here for years. It's effectiveness can and has been debated. I think it is more of a superstition than anything else. Some people have mounted their drives vertically and haven't had problems. Therefore, they attribute the success to their mounting job. See this thread.

    Originally posted by Gearhead61
    Would this set-up be enough to keep it going while doing some mild-medium off-roading? (Trails, mudpits, etc) Or should I just turn off the PC while I'm off-roading?
    Probably not. Not anymore than mounting it flat (horizontally). Turning the PC off is a good idea, as most drives "park" their heads. How about using a small P-O-S drive for a while and take it off roading with you. Give it your worst and see how it fairs.

    Originally posted by Gearhead61
    I've seen a few different shock-absorbing methods...
    Again, look at the thread I referred you to. Shock-absorbing can actually be counter-productive. I don't do it and I don't mount vertically. I haven't lost any data on my carputer. This could just be the luck of the draw.

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    • #3
      Thanks! I found that thread earlier but got bored (being an engineer and all too familiar with gravity) with the discussion of the force of gravity, which seemed to go on for too long, so I quit reading. I did come away with the concept that some shock absorbers can create harmonic motions with the drive and cause all kinds of trouble. I wasn't sure if there were any that didn't. =P Your idea of just using a POS HD at first through my first few off-roading trips is a good one. I think I've got a spare hard disk laying around somewhere. That way I'll know what it can take, along with the rest of the computer system.

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      • #4
        if I was building a pc for off road use I would defanately start off with a panasonic toughbook..... the whole thing is built to take much more shock & vibration than anything else as far as pc's are concerned... not just the hard drive either.... which is incased in a gel suspention...
        MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

        first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Gearhead61
          I think I've got a spare hard disk laying around somewhere. That way I'll know what it can take, along with the rest of the computer system.
          I'll wager that you are surprised at the resiliance of even a POS hard drive.

          If you're really worried about this, get a solid state hard drive and use nLite to slim down the OS.
          Originally posted by ghettocruzer
          I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
          Want to:
          -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
          -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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          • #6
            i'm not sure if this is a good idea or bad idea. but this just popped up my head. you should try using medium soft springs and put it in each corner of your hard drive. so everytime your car bounces, your HD wouldn't bounce as much. of course it WILL bounce but it wouldn't strongly bounce as much. then add a small cushion on the bottom so it won't hit from your HD to your board. i know it might look funny but at least it could help maybe? give some feedback if it's good or bad idea.

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            • #7
              i dont think it is much of a good idea.... maybe a hard gel would be useful, as it would dampen vibration, kilsomeimpact, but noy cause negative harminc effect i think....

              Probably still best to bolt it strongly to the car....less vibration, somebumps but no flopping around
              Roy

              2005 Range Rover 4.4
              Any ideas for putting a PC in this? :)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by trd-4runner
                i'm not sure if this is a good idea or bad idea. but this just popped up my head. you should try using medium soft springs and put it in each corner of your hard drive. so everytime your car bounces, your HD wouldn't bounce as much. of course it WILL bounce but it wouldn't strongly bounce as much. then add a small cushion on the bottom so it won't hit from your HD to your board. i know it might look funny but at least it could help maybe? give some feedback if it's good or bad idea.
                I think that is a bad idea. Again, read the countless forums that have covered this. If you have the drive "floating" like that, then the vibrations can cause a sort of harmonic movement that will shake the drive with greater momentum than the original vibration would have caused. Also, using a cushion (especially foam) can be terrible as heat will kill a drive faster than vibrations. Almost everything you hear about harddrive mounting is just speculated. So, you might as well go with the straightforward way: Just mount the damn thing.

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                • #9
                  I took mine on the crazy back roads of montana, (by accident) these were super bumpy, I had no issues. I was amazed that Igudance had a road about 8 feet wide marked on it's map.. I would have been VERY lost if my carPC had crapped out on me.
                  Shawn



                  Check out my web company Minneapolis Web Designer | MODx Web Design - Himmelberger Design

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                  • #10
                    One possibility is to salvage the isolation mounts out of a dead car CD player or changer, and use them to mount the hard drive. Judging by the ones that failed on a discman, they are filled with some liquid (silicone oil?) that provides damping. If you want to be anal, match the weight of the hard drive to the weight of the CD mechanism, and you should end up with an optimally damped and suspended system.

                    It might help to run a really big RAM cache or something, and set the drive to go to sleep after a short period of inactivity. If you can get the player to buffer 100 megs into memory, that could let you run an hour or more without having to access the hard drive.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheLlama
                      I think that is a bad idea. Again, read the countless forums that have covered this. If you have the drive "floating" like that, then the vibrations can cause a sort of harmonic movement that will shake the drive with greater momentum than the original vibration would have caused. Also, using a cushion (especially foam) can be terrible as heat will kill a drive faster than vibrations. Almost everything you hear about harddrive mounting is just speculated. So, you might as well go with the straightforward way: Just mount the damn thing.
                      well, either way the HD of course will shake but it would shake less but i guess it still wouldn't work. but man off-roading is fun. haha

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                      • #12
                        "Seagate's Momentus 7200 line of notebook drives, for example, is rated at 250 g's (2ms) while operating and 900 g's while parked. If you encounter a 250g-inducing pothole in your Impreza, the least of your worries will be the health of the hard drive!"

                        from CNET

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                        • #13
                          there called automotive drives..... very expensive but great for shock & temp extremes
                          MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                          first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Silentbob343
                            "Seagate's Momentus 7200 line of notebook drives, for example, is rated at 250 g's (2ms) while operating and 900 g's while parked. If you encounter a 250g-inducing pothole in your Impreza, the least of your worries will be the health of the hard drive!"

                            from CNET
                            Thats almost what I have in my player. I have a 100GB Momentus 5400.2. No complaints. Thin, durable, low power, and very quiet.

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                            • #15
                              I do heaps of off-roading and I use a standard 80GIG 3.5in HDD mounted horizontally. I've never turned the PC off and i've hit some pretty serious bumps/rocks/bog holes etc and have never had a problem. Been running for over 8 months now. No skipping, no freezing, no read errors...nothing. Very happy camper.

                              Cheers,

                              Gazza
                              P3 900MHZ 256meg, 160 gig 3.5, Lilliput 7 Touch screen, GPS (not working..yet), 3 million wires. 3 amps,

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