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  • Easy laptop/psu question

    Can I use a dc->dc psu with a laptop with minimal or no modification?

    I've never actually seen an install with one of these, so it's hard for me to visualize what needs to be done.

  • #2
    yes you can. do a search on the forum, loads of info on this.

    I bought one off ebay ($20), plugged it straight into the car power and the other end into the laptop off it works (as expected).

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    • #3
      Originally posted by HPTDoh View Post
      Can I use a dc->dc psu with a laptop with minimal or no modification?
      yes, it is possible to use a DC-DC PSU with a laptop with no modifications of any kind. but this would not be a real carPC, it would just be a laptop in a car. to use a laptop as a carPC some modifications are necessary. since the laptop will not be accessible from the driver's seat you need the ability to turn it on/off remotely. this will require opening up your laptop (or docking station) and soldering wires onto the power switch. you can then hook these wires up to a momentary switch for manual on/off control or you can hook them up to a startup/shutdown controller for automatic on/off control.

      as for the PSU... the cheapest way to do it is to buy a cheap DC-DC power brick off eBay (as imi suggested). I used one of these in my old carPC setup and it worked fine, but after about 15 minutes of use it would get so hot that you could burn your hand just by touching the plastic case. I wasn't comfortable using anything that gets that hot in my car, and I worried about it melting and/or starting a fire. my solution to this was to remove the guts from the plastic case and mount it in a spare ATX PSU case (the case was metal and had a 120mm fan to suck the heat out). it ran nice and cool after that, and I used it for about a year with no other issues.

      the better way to do it is to buy a good DC-DC PSU like a Carnetix (with built-in startup/shutdown controller). the only mod you really have to do is splice in your own power cord but that's easy. check your laptop power brick specs to find it's output voltage; if a carnetix model has a matching output then I would recommend going this route instead.

      good luck
      F150 Truckputer [1.0] (coming soon!)
      Fusion Carputer [2.0]
      Fusion Carputer [1.0]

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      • #4
        Originally posted by FusionFanatic View Post
        yes, it is possible to use a DC-DC PSU with a laptop with no modifications of any kind. but this would not be a real carPC, it would just be a laptop in a car. to use a laptop as a carPC some modifications are necessary. since the laptop will not be accessible from the driver's seat you need the ability to turn it on/off remotely. this will require opening up your laptop (or docking station) and soldering wires onto the power switch. you can then hook these wires up to a momentary switch for manual on/off control or you can hook them up to a startup/shutdown controller for automatic on/off control.
        I'm aware about this part. I previously had a modded Xbox with XBMC as the frontend installed. For whatever reason after a few years it decided to quit working. I've always wanted a carPC, but the Xbox was just a quick and easy way to do it. I'm taking this as an opportunity to take on a new challenge

        Originally posted by FusionFanatic View Post
        the better way to do it is to buy a good DC-DC PSU like a Carnetix (with built-in startup/shutdown controller). the only mod you really have to do is splice in your own power cord but that's easy. check your laptop power brick specs to find it's output voltage; if a carnetix model has a matching output then I would recommend going this route instead.

        good luck

        Perfect. This is what I was trying to get answered. I really like the startup/shutdown controller feature and wanted to avoid doing the cigarette lighter adapter thing

        Thanks!

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