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Is a DC-DC PSU right for me?

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  • Is a DC-DC PSU right for me?

    I've had my CarPC set up for nearly 5 years now. Aside from a motherboard that died as a result of a rear end collision, it's been nearly flawless operation.

    I just have one tiny little problem. It doesn't work on a hot day.

    I'm running the old school set up with the power inverter and regular PSU. For the most part is works so I've never messed with it.

    I can't figure out which of those two components overheats in the sun, but one prevents the system from starting for about 15-20 minutes on a hot day until the trunk air cools from the wind flowing over it.

    First off...will a DC-DC PSU end this problem? It's NOT a processor overheating problem. It's a power supply issue with the heat.

    Second, I don't want hardly any of the fancy features the OPUS boasts. I really just want to replace the power supply I have with a DC-DC version and have everything else stay the same.

    That means I want my power button on my dashboard to work the same way, hooked up to the mobo, not the PSU. And I want the general power button I have next to it to be able to completely kill all power being sent to the entire system from the car via the solenoid between the battery and the inverter I have now. Will an OPUS or any other device allow that to work?

    The computer itself is a pretty simple set up. It's a mini ATX board running all on board basic systems. (video, audio, both integrated rather than fancy cards) I need to power the board, 1 hard drive, and a few USB devices. Namely the touch screen, keyboard, and sometimes a memory stick (have a USB port on the dash so I can upload new files right from the drivers seat)

    That's about it.

    So the questions are...

    1) Will a DC-DC PSU end my overheating issues?

    2) Can it function as a simple PSU without all the bells and whistlers like auto start up and shut down. I want it to replace my AC PSU, not improve it.

    3) Will I have trouble powering my set up?


    I don't mind spending the money on say an OPUS with all it's extra features if it's a great PSU and I can bypass the fanciness. Of course I wouldn't mind a cheap reliable PSU that's barebones like I want to use it.
    Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

  • #2
    Originally posted by Skipjacks View Post
    I've had my CarPC set up for nearly 5 years now. Aside from a motherboard that died as a result of a rear end collision, it's been nearly flawless operation.

    I just have one tiny little problem. It doesn't work on a hot day.

    I'm running the old school set up with the power inverter and regular PSU. For the most part is works so I've never messed with it.

    I can't figure out which of those two components overheats in the sun, but one prevents the system from starting for about 15-20 minutes on a hot day until the trunk air cools from the wind flowing over it.

    First off...will a DC-DC PSU end this problem? It's NOT a processor overheating problem. It's a power supply issue with the heat.

    Second, I don't want hardly any of the fancy features the OPUS boasts. I really just want to replace the power supply I have with a DC-DC version and have everything else stay the same.

    That means I want my power button on my dashboard to work the same way, hooked up to the mobo, not the PSU. And I want the general power button I have next to it to be able to completely kill all power being sent to the entire system from the car via the solenoid between the battery and the inverter I have now. Will an OPUS or any other device allow that to work?
    Yes.

    The computer itself is a pretty simple set up. It's a mini ATX board running all on board basic systems. (video, audio, both integrated rather than fancy cards) I need to power the board, 1 hard drive, and a few USB devices. Namely the touch screen, keyboard, and sometimes a memory stick (have a USB port on the dash so I can upload new files right from the drivers seat)
    It sounds like one of the DC-DC ATX units would do you well.
    Detailed specs about your system such as make/model of motherboard and the CPU, as well as RAM.
    The more details about the CPU, the better.
    You can calculate power draw on all the rails of your PC and see which one will suit your system best.

    So the questions are...

    1) Will a DC-DC PSU end my overheating issues?
    Maybe.
    The overheating could be coming from a number of places:
    CPU sensor.
    Ambient sensor in the motherboard.
    HDD temp

    It could be any one of these or all of the above.
    Having a means of monitoring temps such as Motherboard Monitor or Everest, as well as monitoring/logging in the BIOS and integrated into Windoze can help pinpoint what's failing.


    2) Can it function as a simple PSU without all the bells and whistlers like auto start up and shut down. I want it to replace my AC PSU, not improve it.
    Yes.
    The simple way of doing it is to use the SDC on the power supply to power on the PSU. If you wire your existing power switch to toggle the IGN-controlled line, then it will trigger startup or shutdown of the PC.
    What the PC does is defined in the Windoze power settings.


    3) Will I have trouble powering my set up?
    I sincerely doubt it, but post the specs or look up the power draw of your components and you can see what models would work best.

    I don't mind spending the money on say an OPUS with all it's extra features if it's a great PSU and I can bypass the fanciness. Of course I wouldn't mind a cheap reliable PSU that's barebones like I want to use it.
    Emphasis mine.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DarquePervert View Post
      It sounds like one of the DC-DC ATX units would do you well.
      Detailed specs about your system such as make/model of motherboard and the CPU, as well as RAM.
      The more details about the CPU, the better.
      It's an ASUS mini ATX board (I'd have to go seek out the model number) running 256MB RAM and a Celeron chip. It's a REALLY simple set up. HEll I'm still running Windows 2000 (and thrilled to death about it!) because it's such a simple quick booting no nonsense OS.

      Maybe.
      The overheating could be coming from a number of places:
      CPU sensor.
      Ambient sensor in the motherboard.
      HDD temp
      The overheating is either the inverted or the current PSU. It depends on what day it is as to which is causing the failure. Somedays there's no power leaving the inverter. Some days there's no power leaving the PSU.

      Oddly, and I can't explain this to save my life, the PSU and inverter are usually VERY hot to the touch if the car's been in the sun. But the HDD, RAM chips, processor...are all cool. I understand the processor as it's got the heat sink. But the metal HDD...NEVER feels warm. Strange, since the whole mess is located in the same place.

      So as long as overheating from ambient temperatures, probably about 100 degrees in the sealed trunk, won't prevent a DC - DC PSU from opperating, I'm thrilled to be alive!
      reliable PSU
      Is reliability an issue with these things?
      Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Skipjacks View Post
        Is reliability an issue with these things?
        reliability issues are really only for any of the 'm' series series dc-dc power supplies. after getting a bad m4 myself, and seeing alot of other posts of issues with them (each series has its own unique set of common problems), i do not currently see a time where i can ever recommend any 'm' series power supplys-- i feel that minibox has alot of quality control issues that must be worked out.

        the positive side though, is that if you were to choose to get a m* power supply, is that typically, as long as they work with no issues in the first week, they will be fine for the life of the project.

        the opus brand and dsatx still seem to be the least problematic psu's overall though.
        My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
        "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


        next project? subaru brz
        carpc undecided

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        • #5
          They've certainly seemed to improve in popularity and reliability since I first did my install 4-5 years ago.

          Back then the OPUS was a $9 bazillion only option and no one trusted them yet because it was a new product.

          Nice to see they've come a long way!
          Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

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          • #6
            ...
            Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Skipjacks View Post
              ...
              ???
              Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
              How about the Wiki?



              Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DarquePervert View Post
                ???
                The point is, that I got you wondering. And that's what advances the human race!

                (The answer is that somehow my posts got all funky and I ended up making a new thread with my latest question as well as asking the question here. So I just left the new thread up rather than create confusion. I see that didn't work out quite as well as I'd planned. )
                Here it is! My carputer install! 1997 BMW M3

                Comment

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