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  • Questions about power...

    Hello I am new to the hobby and I had some questions about getting power. I know there are various ways to do this and I just want to find the safest (no fires or burnt out cpu's and most reliable and effecient ways possible. I have read many posts about the way people do this. However I am a pretty visual person so here's my visual questions:

    Do i have to use an inverter and if I do, do I connect a terminal strip directly to the battery and connect the inverter, pc, monitor, rear camera to the terminal

    Or, do I connect the inverter power cable directly to the battery, plug in the pc, monitor and rear camera into the inverter?

    Or, forget the invertor and connect a terminal strip directly to the battery, then connect the pc (using an opus or atx power supply, monitor, rear camera that way?

    Or, am I some kind of idiot who is making this more complicated than it should?!?! hahaha


    I just do not want to use a cigerette lighter, or drain my battery, and I want to get it (at least the pc, if not the monitor) to power on and off automaticly. I am just not very electrically inclined.....Please Help!


  • #2
    Originally posted by PandaBearBG View Post
    Do i have to use an inverter?
    no... an inverter is never a good solution. it should only be used if your carPC draws too much power for a DC-DC power supply to handle.

    Originally posted by PandaBearBG View Post
    do I connect a terminal strip directly to the battery and connect the inverter, pc, monitor, rear camera to the terminal
    you can if you want, but it's not necessary. a terminal strip / barrier strip doesn't make a very good distribution block, so I wouldn't recommend using it for that purpose. you need to fuse all your wires anyways so a fuse block would be a better choice:



    Originally posted by PandaBearBG View Post
    Or, am I some kind of idiot who is making this more complicated than it should?!?! hahaha


    Originally posted by PandaBearBG View Post
    I just do not want to use a cigerette lighter, or drain my battery, and I want to get it (at least the pc, if not the monitor) to power on and off automaticly.
    if you want automatic startup/shutdown then you'll need a startup/shutdown controller. you can buy these as a separate device or you could get an "intellegent automotive PSU" (which is a DC-DC PSU with a built-in startup/shutdown controller).

    Originally posted by PandaBearBG View Post
    I am just not very electrically inclined.....Please Help!
    nobody is naturally, it must be learned. fortunately, the electrical wiring required to provide power to your carPC is very basic and easy to learn/understand. you're doing the right thing by asking questions now (as opposed to just "winging" it).

    remember two important things before you buy/install anything. most important is; you MUST fuse your wires as close as possible to the power source. your main power line should be fused within a few inches from the battery, and anytime you reduce the wire size you should use a [smaller] fuse at the beginning of that line. the other important point is; your wires must be thick enough to handle the required current (amperage) draw and to minimize voltage drop. the wire gauge and fuse rating will be specific to your system, so we can't suggest anything until we know what you'll be using.

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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by FusionFanatic View Post
      no... an inverter is never a good solution. it should only be used if your carPC draws too much power for a DC-DC power supply to handle.
      With the DC-DC power supplies available today, thiis scenario is getting more and more uncommonb.

      if you want automatic startup/shutdown then you'll need a startup/shutdown controller. you can buy these as a separate device or you could get an "intellegent automotive PSU" (which is a DC-DC PSU with a built-in startup/shutdown controller).
      Good advice. However you provided the wrong link, courtesy of mp3car.com's store.
      Not your fault. They have it linked incorrectly on the store main age, it appears.
      Not at all surprising.

      Intelligent PSUs: http://store.mp3car.com/category_s/22.htm

      nobody is naturally, it must be learned. fortunately, the electrical wiring required to provide power to your carPC is very basic and easy to learn/understand. you're doing the right thing by asking questions now (as opposed to just "winging" it).
      Right you are.
      I knew NOTHING about car electrics and advanced car udio till I got into this. I learned along the way and was ble to instll my setup myself, with the help of some friends and fabrication whizzes.
      Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
      How about the Wiki?



      Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the replies, really good info!

        Thanks FusionFanatic and DarrquePervert, I really appreciate the replies/advice/info from the seasoned pros. So right now I've been looking at intelligetn dc dc power supplies because they seem the best answer, but I noticed many are mini, tiny, micro to obviously save space, I was wondering if they work only on mini mobo's or full sized ones. The reason I started this whole venture was:

        A I broke the arm on my center console and as I was repairing it I thought, I should prob just put a PC in there
        B: I have an Old PC and want to use its parts and can fit it in there
        c: I like to MacGuyver stuff into stuff
        and lastly D: I like to make things overly complicated. *translation* "More for the fun and experience doing it on the cheap instead of the simple easier bought-it-made route."

        So, my extra motherboard is a a KM400-M2 that uses a 462-PIN Socket A with an AMD 2100 processer, and I was wondering if these DC DC power supplies can just be plugged into this thing? My old power supply was a nightmare of wires. And If it can be just plugged in do you just "piggy-back cables from one peripheral to the next? I am not very computer building savvy.


        Or do I have to buy a new Mobo? ( really would like to avoid that )

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PandaBearBG View Post
          So, my extra motherboard is a a KM400-M2 that uses a 462-PIN Socket A with an AMD 2100 processer, and I was wondering if these DC DC power supplies can just be plugged into this thing? My old power supply was a nightmare of wires. And If it can be just plugged in do you just "piggy-back cables from one peripheral to the next? I am not very computer building savvy.
          I believe the board is ATX-compliant. Which means any of the ATX-compliant full-feature PSUs should work, so long as the one you choose provides sufficient output.

          The ATX-compliant PSUs are meant to plug in just like a PSU in your desktop. A 20-pin (or 24-pin) ATX connector to the motherboard, a 4-pin 12v connector for some motherboards, and 4-pin power connectors for hard drives and such.

          Or do I have to buy a new Mobo? ( really would like to avoid that )
          I don't believe you need to.
          I would, but only because I have a negative bias toward ECS-brand products due to horrible experiences with them.
          Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
          How about the Wiki?



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          • #6
            You need to use a power calculator to ensure that the DC-DC PSU you purchase can supply enough power to the board.

            This FAQ explains how to ensure you have the right wattage PSU.
            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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            • #7
              Well, after some reading and comparisons I did some rough calculations and I think about 100 watts should do it for my needs and plus some and that is generously rounding it up with room to spare. I think I am going to go with the M3-ATX DC-DC ATX PC 125W Power Supply. Now in total blindness, I assume that the "ATX" in "M2-ATX" means that it should be compatible with my KM400-M2 motherboard and the power supply specifications also state that they are compatible with AMD MoBo's which is what I have. Sorry to be soooo redundant but actual PC building is not exactly my strongest ability. Thanks, I appreciate any responds in advance! Just wanna do it right the first time.

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