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Planning a "TruckPC"

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  • Planning a "TruckPC"

    I'm still in the beginnings of planning a setup for my 18-wheeler, so any help would be great.

    Right now I have this setup:
    Laptop (in sleeper)
    2 usb hubs - 1 powered (in sleeper), 1 unpowered (in front of truck)
    Xenarc 7" TS monitor (in front of truck)
    USB Keyboard with touchpad (in front of truck)
    USB GPS receiver (in front of truck)
    Sprint PCMIA AirCard (in laptop)
    Inkjet printer (in sleeper)
    Microsoft Media Center USB Remote control adapter (in sleeper)
    What I'm wanting to do is to replace the laptop with a CarPC, probably the VoomPC2 starter kit that's sold here on

    Now is where the questions start:

    What my main purpose I'd like to do is to elminate my power invertor. I currently run the system on a 400w inverter. However, after an hour or so of playing around on the internet with the truck not running, the low power indicator goes off on the inverter, causing one hell of a noise. I know that I'm going to have to have an inverter for the inkjet printer, but I can deal with that as I only print 2 pages 1 time a day.

    The truck has 4 1,000watt batteries in it. They've been checked/replaced and are all fine. I just suspect the inverter is the culprit - getting hot over time and going off.

    Also, I can't make any permanent changes to the truck, meaning I have to use a cigarette lighter port in the truck. Where I'm planning on mounting the computer, I have 2 available. Those ports have constant power, except when I start the truck. They shut down while it's cranking the engine. So, I need something that will "ride through" that time period, which is usually under 10 seconds at a time. I don't want the computer going through a sleep/standby/shutdown every time I start the truck. I want to be able to do the "Shutdown" through XP to turn the entire system off when I'm done in the truck for the week.

    One thing I've found here on the forums is this item that a user is developing/building:

    That looks like it will do the trick for shutting down the system. What's your views on it?

    Also, because of the carpc, I'll have to add a larger LCD monitor in the back of the truck. I'll probably go with a 19" monitor to mount at the end of the bunk.

    So, is there anything I'm missing here? Any ideas/hints/changes are appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    If the cigarette lighter ports shut off when the engine cranks, then the power is going to go off when you crank the engine. That will cause the PC to shut off due to lack of power.

    That's definitely going to be an obstacle with a PC built on desktop components. A laptop-based setup could operate on battery during this 10 second "power outage" and might be a better solution for your situation.

    The desktop-based setups (like the VoomPC cased offerings int he store here) use a power supply that requires constant 12v and ignition-switched 12v to turn the PC on/off with the ignition.
    If you choose to manually turn the PC on/off with a switch, the switched 12v is not necessary.

    The problem is the constant 12v. Those cig lighter ports aren't exaclty constant.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?

    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


    • #3
      One more question - how exactly do you turn the VoomPC on? I don't see a power switch anywhere on the unit? Does it automatically start as soon as power is present?


      • #4
        The power supply in that system (either an M1ATX or M2ATX, depending) has a startup/shutdown controller that will turn the PC on/off with the ignition.

        It can be bypassed if you want to turn the PC on/off with a switch if you prefer.
        Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
        How about the Wiki?

        Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.