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Please help with power issues!

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  • Please help with power issues!

    Ok, first, I want to apologize if this has been repeated many times, but I HAVE done my fair share of researching on this forum about power supplies and seeing many different methods and I also understand that it is MY choice on how I would like to go about powering my carputer. Ok now all that said and done, here is MY problem. First, specs of my carputer:

    - MicroATX mb
    - 200GB HD
    - Soundblaster Audigy 2
    - ATi Radeon 9600 Pro
    - 512MB RAM
    - Netgear Wireless card
    - External firewire DVD burner
    - USB keyboard/mouse

    Ok now, I'm using a 400 watt power inverter which is powering my 300 watt power supply for my carputer. I have noticed that my computer likes to go crazy when I play my music up louder so I'm assuming that's mainly because of the fluctuation of the voltage from my car battery. I've read a lot of people suggesting other power supplies, like Opus or Carnetix? Well with the specs of my carpc, someone suggested I get at least 300 watt power supply, which is what I got, but these other DC-DC power supplies that I see only offer up to about 150 watt max? Will I have a problem with using something like that for my setup? And I assume that the Opus or Carnetix also regulates the 12V power for the computer? And does it also mean that if the voltage for my car battery drops and rises, that will not affect the carpc right? I just want this thing up and running so I can actually play my music up louder than it is right now. Right now, I can barely turn it up before something goes wrong with it. If anyone got some good suggestions, please let me know. Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Well I read your post showing off your vehicle. I notice that you have 3 nice JL AMPS, to power those speakers. I also noticed that you said your running the stock altenator.
    From your post you say its when the music get loud. How many DB are those subs producing? What exactly is your computer doing? Is it rebooting? or is it timeing out? You may want to double check your motherboard and make sure that when the subs are hitting that you dont have anything shorting out. Another thing to think about is putting rubber spacers (shock absorber) on the hard drive. Better yet get the 2.5 hard drive, they are more shock resistent (thats why they are in laptops). You may want to try taking the computer out of the trunk and setting it outside the car and try turning your volume up and see what happens. If all goes well than its definately the location/something wrong with your computer.

    Now if you do try the computer outside and still haveing problems I would suggest getting bigger altenator and possibly adding a 2nd battery.

    Your install is sweet, hopefully you figure out your problem.


    • #3
      Thanks for the suggestion and comment on my setup. Well see, I highly doubt anything is shorting out. If it is, something really bad would have happened by now. Anyways, I don't realy have to play it all that loud anyways. Just enough to get the voltage fluctuating. That's why I was wondering if the power inverter to power supply is a bad way to go about with power source for the carpc. As for the how loud the system can play? I have no idea. Never had a chance to really fully test it out because it always cuts out. Basically what happens is that Windows just locks up so I have to manual shut the computer off by holding downt he power button, but here is the weird thing I have noticed lately. When something like that happens, I can reboot and nothing happens, but you can tell computer is on. Then I turn it off for a bit and boot back up. Screen don't turn on, but windows does because I can hear the windows song. Then I shut down and wait a few more min. Then the screen turns on and everything runs normally again, until I turn the system up higher again. I was thinking about a separate battery mainly for the carpc alone, but just wondering if there was some other option. But yeah, I know I also have to do something about my harddrive as well. That will be taken care of once I find out about this whole power issue first. Any more ideas? Thanks for all and any input.


      • #4
        It sounds like a power problem. The clue to me is that it freezes when you turn the volume up. I have experienced similar symptoms when voltages got low in my system. I don't know what kind of screen you have or why it would behave that way until it "rested" for a few minutes.

        Try two things to isolate the problem:

        1. Use a digital multimeter to measure the voltage going in to your computer and monitor that as you turn up the volume. If the voltage begins to drop off, you'll have a pretty clear clue that's what's happening. However, it may not drop off linearly. It only takes a minor interruption of the voltage to cause the computer to freeze.

        2. Try operating your computer WITHOUT the stereo system turned on. Use it for awhile. Let it run while using the disk intensively for 20 minutes or so (note: I am not responsible if this drains your battery). If that works, take it out for a drive, still with the stereo off and see if it works without interruption. If it does, THEN turn the stereo on and see if you can recreate the problem.

        By the way, the quality of the inverter can affect the quality of the power supplied to your computer. If you didn't spend very much on it, you don't have a very good one. This can be problematic in a variety of ways.

        Search on terms like: "Inverter vs. DC" or "Best 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


        • #5
          im not to sure how E works but, if i was to say. Your inverter must suck as much as it blows lol. (im having one of those ****y crazy nights) well n e ways.

          1 Battery(2nd)
          2 alternator(im not so sure the factory 99accord is enough)
          3 or dc-dc psu if that doesnt work then see 1 and 2
          I GIVE FREE HUGS!
          Buy Sell or Trade
          If my pm box is full, please feel free to call me any time. 440-328-3382
          Thank you
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          • #6
            I would go with a second battery (For the love of god make sure you wire it in paralell and not series, you will blow **** up(12+12=24)). Then an alt upgrade.
            Quick! To the Popemobile!


            • #7
              Problem fixed guys. Thanks for all the help. Well anyways, to let you guys know, it wasn't power issues at all. Everything is running just fine even if the battery falls down to 11 volts, it still runs just as good as it would if it were 14 volts. I dunno, guess the inverter already helps regulate the power? Anyways, the problem that I found was my harddrive. Not that the harddrive was bad, but more like the way it was mounted. It was still mounted vertically, but perpendicular to the movement of the wheels. Also, the harddrive was mounted to the case with metal brackets, and the case was mounted to the frame of the car, so either way, the harddrive was getting a really good beating out of all of this. So what did I do to solve the problem? Well I took some household "sponge" and made my own custom "sponge harddrive enclosure" for it. Not sealed up. It has more than enough vents to dissipate the heat. But yeah, now that the HD has it's own shock dampener, I have never had a problem since. No voltage problem, no crashing problems, no nothing.