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SBC for a carputer, how do I power it?

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  • SBC for a carputer, how do I power it?

    I'm planning to get a SBC (Single Board Computer) to use as my carputer. I have looked at many suppliers, but I think that Advantech is the best one for me. They manufacture PC-104 SBCs. Now, I'm very good with desktop computer hardware, but these SBCs are a whole 'nother animal. Can anyone tell me what exactly the PC-104 specification is and how I should power it? The specs state that they require 5VDC, but I haven't yet been able to find a current value. Can I power it from my car battery and how would I cut the voltage down? I realize for the SBC to maintain it's small size, it must use headers and the like, so I have plans to get a metal fabricator friend of mine to make the enclosure for me. Can anybody offer me advice or answers to any of the aimless questions I've posted above?

    This seems to be about what I'm looking for

  • #2
    Why don't I see a price on that link you posted? How much are you expecting to pay?
    http://www.cardomain.com/id/seanklsc

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    • #3
      see, I don't know how much they are. "call for pricing" my ***. They don't want to scare you off their website by showing their price, I bet

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      • #4
        I run a EM-586 PC104 SBC. See my website for schematics for the various power supplies I've run over the years.
        Old Systems retired due to new car
        New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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        • #5
          I'd be very surprised if it's less than $500; it could be over $1000 in small quantities. Still interested?
          If you can get by with a Pentium I or PII, there's SBCs on Ebay at reasonable prices. I got an Advantech Pentium I board for $50 Australian, but I've seen some full-length ISA SBCs that accepted PII CPUs for similar prices.
          The SBCs I've played with only needed +5V, although one that had on-board audio could use +12 for higher audio quality.
          PC/104 is functionally identical to ISA; all it takes is a passive adapter to convert between them. There are PC/104 sound cards on Ebay, if you don't get an SBC with on-board audio or an ISA or PCI expansion slot.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by BassBinDevil
            I'd be very surprised if it's less than $500; it could be over $1000 in small quantities. Still interested?
            That sounds about right. I paid £350 for mine back in 1999. Mine is only a P233 though - it wasn't a bad spec when I bought it, and still does everything I need it to with lots of processing power left over.

            Originally posted by BassBinDevil
            The SBCs I've played with only needed +5V, although one that had on-board audio could use +12 for higher audio quality.
            They're not all like that. Mine needs 5v and 12v to boot, but the 12v is at a ridiculously low current, so it's easy to generate. I used to use a 7812 because the mobo didn't care about drop out on the 12v line. I use a PT5071 these days for peace of mind. It can also take a -12v for better audio quality.

            The big selling points for me are size, everything being on board, and rock solid reliability. Hence I could build a small and low powered system.


            Rob
            Old Systems retired due to new car
            New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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            • #7
              thanks for your replies, guys. Rob Whitey, what kind of case did you mount your SBC in/on? Like I said, I'm gonna get a custom machined case, but I also just bought a plastic case meant to hold a single scope pistol, complete with foam rubber. I think I'll use it to carry the SBC around when it's not attached to my car sound system. Same idea as a removable faceplate...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wvanduser
                What kind of case did you mount your SBC in/on?

                I used one of these: http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?...dID=&doy=18m12

                I got the Box PC25 (6"x2"x12" approx) and then shortened it to 8" to be a snug fit for the SBC itself. Then I mounted the hard drive, power supply and universal infrared receiver over the board and drilled the case for all the necessary connectors.
                Old Systems retired due to new car
                New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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                • #9
                  Rob Whitey, I was a little confused when you said your processor was only a 233, but then I read your signature and it all became clear to me... You run DOS. I was also considering using DOS, and since I only wanted to play MP3s and drive a character LCD, I was considering DAMP. How have your DOS mp3 solutions worked for you? Is it sluggish with only a 233 behind it?

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                  • #10
                    I wrote my own MP3 solution. It's not sluggish at all. mp3 (dos port of mpg123) decoding uses about 20% cpu load to decode. Ogg Vorbis has a similar CPU load, perhaps a little higher.
                    Old Systems retired due to new car
                    New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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                    • #11
                      MPXPLAY looks like a good DOS player. http://www.geocities.com/mpxplay/
                      I wouldn't expect a 200 MHz pentium to be sluggish under DOS; I used to run Windows 2000 on a Pentium 200 at work, and listened to MP3s while doing other stuff.

                      I'm thinking of building the carputer into an old underdash 8-track player, or maybe an old 2-way radio cabinet. I need to make up my mind which SBC to use, build the power supply, and then see what will fit.

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