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Valet Switch HELP!

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  • Valet Switch HELP!

    So i've started working on the small pieces this project simply because that is what i can afford. So last night I made a radio shack run and bought a 6x3 project box and two automotive switches. I've already wired and put them together but want someone to tell me I did this correct. Power (obvious) ground (obvious) but Acc (is this the wire i'll run to my Computer?) please help!!! I don't want to install something wrong only to fry a 300 dollar piece of equipment when i only make about 1/2 of that in a month, sucks being a college student.
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  • #2
    Originally posted by Nickwell24 View Post
    I want someone to tell me I did this correct. Power (obvious) ground (obvious) but Acc (is this the wire i'll run to my Computer?)
    it sounds like you're using a lighted switch. lighted switches work the same as any other SPST switch, but they also have a ground lead (to ground the bulb). so to answer your question... yes, the switch's "ACC" lead goes to your computer.

    NOTE: if you want to use it as a valet switch (as opposed to a main power switch), then your main power should go through a relay switched on/off by your car's ignition or ACC line. you can then install a switch on the IGN or ACC line to act as your "valet" switch.

    this is what I mean:


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    • #3
      Could i simply use this as a power switch? that way i just flip it on the turn on the com and don't have to mess w/ remembering to cut power from it?
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      • #4
        If not that, how do you wire a relay, and how exactly do relay's work
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        • #5
          why not just wire the power to your ignition? i'm new to this but it would just be like audio right? or is there a remote wire? is there a memory wire so you dont lose all your stuff you have saved?

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          • #6
            the reason i don't want to direct wire it is so i have the option of if it will turn on or not.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by skystitt View Post
              why not just wire the power to your ignition? i'm new to this but it would just be like audio right? or is there a remote wire? is there a memory wire so you dont lose all your stuff you have saved?
              you should NOT power anything directly off the car's ignition or ACC wires. these wires are not 'general use' power wires, they are specific circuits for specific purposes. the wires and fuses are large enough to power what came with the car from the factory. if you add things (like a carPC) then you need to run your own power wires to the car battery to power them.

              you can use the IGN or ACC wires as a signal wire to control a relay, but you should never power any device directly off the car's IGN or ACC circuits.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Nickwell24 View Post
                how do you wire a relay, and how exactly do relay's work
                a relay is basically an automatic switch. it uses an electromagnet to open/close a circuit that would otherwise have to be opened/closed manually by flipping a switch, pressing a button, etc.

                with a relay, you can control a high current circuit (carPC) with a low current circuit (IGN or ACC). in this case, the IGN or ACC line will be used as a 'signal' wire. it is not directly powering any device, it's only providing a small amount of current to power the coil which will close the circuit (automatically "press the switch").

                a standard bosch style relay has 4 or 5 leads, numbered 30, 85, 86, 87 (5-lead versions also have an 87a). two of them are for the coil (86=power / 85=ground). 30 is the high power input (car battery) and 87 is the relay switched output in the 'closed' position (on 5-lead versions, 87a is the switched output in the 'open' position). when you apply low power to the coil, it physically pulls the internal switch to 'close' the high-power circuit (connecting 30 with 87). when no power is applied to the coil, then the high-power circuit is left 'open' (on 5-lead versions, 30 and 87a will be connected).

                wiring your main power through a relay will allow your car to automatically switch power on/off to the PC just by turning the key. (mechanical relays are cheap. they only cost about $5-$10 at an autoparts / electronics store)

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                • #9
                  Okay if i'm doing a laptop install is it safe to run power through the cig lighter for them?
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                  • #10
                    Think of the future....

                    If you get hooked on this like so many of us, you will be glad that you did things as well as you could at the beginning.

                    I is really easy to carefully plan a hole drilled through the firewall of your car to run the power cable. Best Buy and such have install kits that come with large gauge cable, intended to be connected directly to yr car batt through a fuse:
                    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....equestid=55928
                    http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....ctGroup_ID=731


                    There are firewall grommets to pass the cable through, then you can give it a squirt of silicone caulk for good measure.

                    The kits come with a power distribtion block, that once screwed in a location of your choosing, has several output connections for our carpc, screen, amps, whatever...

                    12 volt power is a big issue and should be done as best as you can. It's one thing I did right the first time. A car fire, or even a little smelly smoke really puts a damper on the fun.

                    blessings and good luck!
                    Happy CarPC'ing!

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                    • #11
                      on that note. How safe would it be for me to cut the power feed line feeding my cig lighters and run them through a switch? i ALWAYS forget to unplug those damn accessories, and it's such a nuisance having to find the cables again when i get back in.
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                      • #12
                        as long as the switch can handle the current you'll be running through it then it's perfectly safe.

                        but why bother with a manual switch? just wire a relay to your IGN line to turn your cig lighter circuit on/off with the ignition. (a relay is only 2 extra wires ) if you still want a switch, then you can switch the signal wire. since the signal wire is very low power, this will allow you to use a much smaller switch as well.

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                        • #13
                          i think i'm going to end up doing both a relay and a switch.
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                          • #14
                            Not to cut in, but when hooking up a switch with a light..... how do you get the light to turn on, when running it off the ACC line? So that when the PC is on the light is on.... and when i turn off the switch, it is off.... I am also doing the relay technique, do to the fact I have alot of devices and alot have cigarette lighter plugs with fuses and regulators... So there was no need to put them on the PSU.... Is this a good enough relay....... http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...t&tab=features. It can handle 12v+ at 10 amps.....

                            So far I have 33 watts from the screens, 4 amps from a dc-dc adapter, and a XM Direct.... Do you think one relay can handle this, or should I use more?
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                            • #15
                              one relay can handle it fine, but I wouldn't use that one. you don't need a DPDT relay if everything has the same power source.

                              use a 30A or a 40A SPST "automotive relay". these are easy to hook up and can handle a lot more current.
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