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  • anyone using a docking station? coupla questions

    i'm thinking a docking station would be a good solution. i'll be able to remove / replace the laptop at will and update it at home when need be. as well as take it out for security reasons.

    i've ordered an 8" 640x480 screen and plan on placing the docking station under the passenger side seat.

    what power solutions would you all recommend? AC->DC converter?

    any other tips for docking station use?

  • #2
    You can buy a dc-dc converter to power your laptop. just get one of the in car chargers of ebay or your local computer store. (Unless it is a Dell. They have a special charging circuit)
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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    • #3
      A lot of these docking stations use the same power supply as the laptop itself. That means you can use a "car/plane" adapter - the universal ones aren't that expensive. Just make sure you get a powerfull one!

      My cousin built his carpc-project around a dell latitude pIII laptop with docking. It works great, as these dockings had a power button and power/hdd leds which he connected to a switch and leds in the front of his car, while the pc is in the trunk.

      Good luck!
      Joachim
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      • #4
        cool. thx for the info guys. thru some research found this on dell's site of all places...

        http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...5&sku=A0406008

        i'm assuming that would fit the bill?

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        • #5
          yeah, but make sure that it is powerful enough to run your laptop with the docking adapter. My dell laptop was shipped with a 65w adapter and will not run if the laptop is docked. I had to buy a 90w adapter for it to work. Damn Dell's
          Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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          • #6
            Originally posted by meddler View Post
            yeah, but make sure that it is powerful enough to run your laptop with the docking adapter. My dell laptop was shipped with a 65w adapter and will not run if the laptop is docked. I had to buy a 90w adapter for it to work. Damn Dell's
            To reiterate the point, if your laptop power supply says 16V 3.4 Amps and you try to use one thats 16V 1.3Amps it will either burn up, burn up the motherboard, shut off intermittently, or just not post.

            Get => power regardless of the source.
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            • #7
              my laptop was rated at 65w. It's just when I added the docking station it consumes more power because of the extra USB ports etc. The Dell laptops are even as kind to tell you so () and won't boot.
              Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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              • #8
                my further research isn't helping things...

                my Dell D620 came w/ a 9-cell battery. Dell's user guide basically says it can't be used w/ auto/air adapters...

                but Lind Electronic boasts that their 90W versions can handle D620's on their website...

                then you add to that my docking station. Doesn't sound good for me. I'd really love to keep it simple w/ a DC-DC setup...

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                • #9
                  what wattage is on the wall power adapter?

                  The thing you have to be wary about with dells is if they don't get the right signals, they will not charge. Some of them won't even run.

                  Try here. LINK This was one of the only guys that sold a DC-DC auto air adapter that worked properly for my inspiron 8600.
                  Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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                  • #10
                    Check out the thread for my old carputer too.
                    My Car: 2001 Mazda MP3
                    My OLD Carputer project: Here
                    Completion Progress Bar: [**********100%]
                    Current build! Here
                    Completion Progress Bar: [*********99%]

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by meddler View Post
                      what wattage is on the wall power adapter?

                      The thing you have to be wary about with dells is if they don't get the right signals, they will not charge. Some of them won't even run.

                      Try here. LINK This was one of the only guys that sold a DC-DC auto air adapter that worked properly for my inspiron 8600.
                      thanks for the link.

                      The AC wall adapter states:
                      19.5V
                      4.62A

                      the DC Car adapter that i'm looking at has the following specs:
                      Input Voltage............11 to 16 Vdc
                      Output Voltage .........20 Vdc
                      Output Current..........4.5 amps (max)
                      Fuse........................15 amps

                      on paper, it should work right?

                      but how about w/ docking station and real world use?

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                      • #12
                        I run a Dell Inspiron 8000 through a docking station...

                        the "AC wall adapter" outputs [email protected] I bought a cheap dc-dc laptop adapter on ebay (specifically, this model). it outputs [email protected], which is the exact same rating as the OEM wall adapter. I tested the output voltage and it was dead on 20vdc both with and without a load.

                        It works great, I've been using it for months. it charges an almost dead battery in less than 1 hour while using the laptop (in the docking station) so it seems to have plenty of power. it does however get extremely hot (hot enough to burn your hand on, I was surprised the plastic didn't melt). I removed it from the plastic housing and mounted it in an old ATX PSU case instead. this allows it to run much much cooler (the exhaust fan sucks out the heat). I think it will work for years this way, but it probably wouldn't last too long if I left it in the plastic case (the parts inside can only handle that intense heat for so long). plus I don't want to find out what that PSU will do when it finally craps out

                        I don't think it really matters whether you're using a docking station or not. I don't think a docking station uses enough power to put a significant drain on the PSU/battery.

                        In my case, the car adapter's output specs matched my OEM wall adapter perfectly, but in your case the specs are different, so it may or may not work. the only way to find out is to try it. good luck
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by bagwellfive View Post
                          thanks for the link.

                          The AC wall adapter states:
                          19.5V
                          4.62A

                          the DC Car adapter that i'm looking at has the following specs:
                          Input Voltage............11 to 16 Vdc
                          Output Voltage .........20 Vdc
                          Output Current..........4.5 amps (max)
                          Fuse........................15 amps

                          on paper, it should work right?

                          but how about w/ docking station and real world use?
                          just remember that the laptop with a docking station will use more power than just the laptop alone.

                          That may not be quite enough current to run the laptop and the docking adapter. It may get hot like ComputerGeek's PSU. The only way to find out for sure is to try it.
                          Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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                          • #14
                            I should have mentioned in my last post that the car PSU I used got extremely hot both with or without the docking station. again, I don't think a docking station uses much power, at least not enough to make a significant difference.

                            I assume the reason it gets so hot is simply because of cheap construction/parts. although to be fair the factory wall adapter from dell gets very hot as well (but not as bad). since I gave it some active [air] cooling, it only gets warm now
                            F150 Truckputer [1.0] (coming soon!)
                            Fusion Carputer [2.0]
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                            • #15
                              I know my docking station takes more power, due to the USB hub and other associated bits that aren't on the laptop. That's why I run into problems with the first DC-DC adapter I bought. All machines are different, with any luck you will be ok with the PSU you chose.
                              Never let the truth get in the way of a good story

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