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  • M4 sounds REALLY hit or miss....

    So i read the review on the m4, and then most of the LENGTHY thread started 4 yrs ago. SO i'm all set with my setup have a 4 core processor with 8gb ram on an asus mini itx with features up the woo ha. BUT it'll draw like 225 according to the calculators. And looks like the m4 is about the only option for me that i can find, and people seem to have SO many problems with it and so much wire splicing seems to need to be done with it.
    Is it too much for me to expect for just a reliable but and plus psu with that output? Or do i just need to man up and buy the m4 and being the troubleshooting lol

  • #2
    I have been using the M4 for some time now; the major problem was interference to DAB+ and more importantly GPS reception. This is not uncommon in other supplies, it’s more common in supply’s that can run a PC with the input voltage as low as 6 or 7 volts.

    I overcame the noise by designing and fitting the M4 in a special RF enclosure. In some installations there can be a slight glitch on the IGN input (on/off input) with the system in Sleep mode. I overcame that with a simple diode and cap on that line.

    The M4 has operated faultlessly after that. With this PSU you need 8G cable minimum for low noise even in low power systems, preferably 4G for systems drawing over 10A (130W).

    I have not had a single failure to resume from Sleep or Hibernate for months at a time. No unexpected shutdowns or glitches of any kind.

    If you don’t have a problem with interference then it should work fine without any mods.
    Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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    • #3
      I'm running the M4 with a very similar setup to yours. I have a quad core AMD Phenom II (90w) on a micro-atx board with 8gb of ram and it's been doing just fine on it.

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      • #4
        ahh thats what i needed to hear, thanks for the reassurance both of you. I'm gonna use you two for references later if i run into those problems. Last q, so mp3's store seems to offer the best prices on these so i'll go with them but they have two slightly different models one that has an HV at the end of it. which one would be ideal for mysetup?

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        • #5
          HV is for vehicles with 24V - this is more towards big duty trucks, if i'm not mistaken. Ordinary vehicles will be 12V (or non HV).

          fwiw my M4 is powering Zotac mini-itx + Intel E7500, 4 GB, several USB devices and 2 HDD's and it hasn't given me any issues yet.

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          • #6
            I'm running the m4 with a intel core 2 duo, ga-ep35-ds3, 4GB RAM, 80GB HDD, Optical Drive, gforce 94xx, 10 port USB HUB (powered from molex) with GPS, Phoenix mt107a, touch screen (powered from splicing into cigarette).

            I am currently getting drop outs with the HUB but I am not sure if it's an interference issue or the fact it's a cheap hub. Otherwise I have no issues with the M4 but I have purchased the M4 enclosure anyway to deal with any possible interference.

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            • #7
              My M4 is in the SFF enclosure.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by elpres View Post
                I'm running the m4 with a intel core 2 duo, ga-ep35-ds3, 4GB RAM, 80GB HDD, Optical Drive, gforce 94xx, 10 port USB HUB (powered from molex) with GPS, Phoenix mt107a, touch screen (powered from splicing into cigarette).

                I am currently getting drop outs with the HUB but I am not sure if it's an interference issue or the fact it's a cheap hub. Otherwise I have no issues with the M4 but I have purchased the M4 enclosure anyway to deal with any possible interference.
                Hi, any problems with the HUBS will likely not be from the M4-PSU. I have around 20 USB ports at the front of the vehicle and every USB port on the MB used. Only 5 free ports (USB3 and USB2) on a USB hub under a cover in what was the old cigarette lighter / ashtray enclosure at the front of the vehicle are available for flash drives and other external media. Another 3 are available behind the centre console for future expansion if needed.

                The hubs are all powered. I have had problems with some hubs running “some” USB hardware. They would suddenly disappear and reconnect at random times and this is definitely a HUB fault/incompatibility issue.

                Some Hubs when externally powered “BEFORE” the PC has powered on (+5v USB has appeared from the MB) will bleed voltage back to the MB and other USB devices on the line. This can cause “SOME” USB devices to power up incorrectly and lead to strange issues with USB devices not ready or not functioning correctly.

                Since selecting the correct hubs and ext power setup this system has NEVER had a single USB issue of any kind under any condition on a cold boot or resume from hibernate or sleep.
                Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mickz View Post
                  Since selecting the correct hubs and ext power setup this system has NEVER had a single USB issue of any kind under any condition on a cold boot or resume from hibernate or sleep.
                  What are the "correct hubs"?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by elpres View Post
                    What are the "correct hubs"?

                    This was basically beg, borrow and purchase a few hubs until I found ones that worked with all the USB devices I have installed.

                    In the end I found the small 4 port extension repeater HUB from Jaycar with a hardwired quality 15 foot lead was one of the best for running from the trunk mounted PC to the front centre dash area. It becomes the main distribution HUB for the other HUBS and devices running at the front of the vehicle.

                    I was initially running another two standard 4 port hubs off this HUB with HI-DEF webcam, USB radio, keyboard, mouse, touch screen, GPS, OBD2 USB to serial convertor and two USB micro controllers with no external power to the HUB. The cable and repeater were that good; however the MB was designed to supply high current from its USB ports to allow this to work.

                    The HUBS Iím now using are the original 4 port repeater HUB and a 10 port HUB, both from Jaycar, and a 4 port USB-3 repeater HUB from Jaycar mounted in the ash-tray.

                    Now I canít remember if the 4 port repeater HUB back-feeds from its external +5v supply, Iím sure the 10 port does, however this is of no concern to me as the +5v supply for the HUBS (all are now powered) is supplied from the +5v output rail from the M4-ATX supply, with suitable protection for accidental shorts to ground and (God forbid) the Vehicle +12v line. This +5v output to the HUBS is switched via a tiny 12v relay controlled from the M4 +12v output rail. This is to stop any USB device from feeding back into the +5v rail before the PC has started. This can sometimes happen with USB OBD2 interfaces and independently powered Microprocessor interfaces devices. By taking a few precautions everything can be made to work faultlessly. How much effort you need go to is dictated by the complexity of the installation and the Hardware you are trying to use.

                    These HUBS can run everything I have thrown at them.
                    Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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                    • #11
                      I went ahead and bought it... ahh the last piece of the puzzle. Its going to be phenom. I thought about the usb situation as well, what do you have installed in your system that requires 20 usb ports?! very curious actually i feel like i'm forgetting something now

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bossman137 View Post
                        I went ahead and bought it... ahh the last piece of the puzzle. Its going to be phenom. I thought about the usb situation as well, what do you have installed in your system that requires 20 usb ports?! very curious actually i feel like i'm forgetting something now
                        FRONT:

                        1 Front USB 10Hz GPS receiver
                        2 Single USB-3 repeater extension socket for external file transfer to USB-3 1TB drive
                        3 Output from 4-P repeater HUB to 10-P HUB
                        4 Output to Four port HUB in ashtray for general external USB devices (4 ports free)
                        5 Front HI-DEF Web Cam
                        6 Touch Screen controller
                        7 OBDII general vehicle interface
                        8 Factory OBDII interface and Software
                        9 Vehicle system interface Microprocessor & feDrive interface (my version of iDrive for FE control)
                        10 CAN-BUS interface
                        11 HVAC microprocessor to Car-PC interface and standalone controller
                        12 Remote HVAC manual interface Microcontroller
                        13 Wireless Micro Keyboard dongle - For system upgrades and configuration if needed.
                        14 Wireless Micro Mouse dongle - For system upgrades and configuration if needed.
                        15 Port 1 free on 10 port HUB behind dash for future expansion.
                        16 Port 2 “ “
                        17 Port 3 “ “

                        REAR PC USB connections:

                        18 Rear USB 1hz GPS receiver
                        19 Rear HI-DEF Web Cam
                        20 DAB-FM receiver
                        21 Optical DSP PC to AMP interface with USB interface control
                        22 Hardware Volume - Mute – Auto DAB-FM Aerial Change-over relay control Microprocessor
                        23 Shutdown, Sleep, Hibernate State monitor and failsafe power off Microprocessor
                        24 M4-ATX interface for temp and status monitoring
                        25 Hi-Power WI-FI module
                        26 Wireless Internet module
                        27 USB-3 output to single port front repeater extension cable for HDD drive file transfer and backup
                        28 USB-2 output to Front 4P repeater HUB
                        29 USB-2 output to Single port front repeater extension cable for GPS receiver (for stability and interference reduction)
                        Last edited by Mickz; 03-18-2012, 08:56 PM.
                        Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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                        • #13
                          man alive, do you have pics or a work log of your setup i'd really like to see it. Sincce you're a bit more complicate than i am i have two more quick questiosn:
                          1. Do you have a secondary battery, or does the one suffice?
                          2. What gauge wire did you use to get ti to the DCDC psu? according to charts and my current draw and length i'm going to just my glove compartment, i should be fine with 8 guage and thats even overkill. a 12 or 10 would be fine as well eh?

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                          • #14
                            Hi, my work log is accessed by clicking on “The Project” in my sig. I went through a number of rebuilds in the work log and "almost" gave up the M4 for a number of reasons. The cable requirements change with a rear mounted system that also has an AUX battery and really a minimum of 4G is required to keep voltage drop to a minimum for correct AUX battery charging – standard current calculators V wire gauge usually don’t take system noise and correct voltage drop for AUX recharging in to account (to many variables).

                            The gauge of wire used in low power systems is more about reducing noise across the connection, so 8G is the minimum I would use to feed an M4 supply with low power draw (under 100 watts). Also it is important to run both Pos and Neg cables from the Vehicle battery to the M4 as well as using a short ground connection from the M4 to a good vehicle chassis point.
                            Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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                            • #15
                              I would imagine such amp charts have to be very general, but all the same it seems like 4 guage is WAY over what they all reccoment.
                              My PC is rated at 220 ish W. And for safe measure i'll round up to 250W. I'lll be storing it in the glove compartment so that reduces the L_total a ton of the wire which in theory as far as i understand it should reduce the guage i need. So i'll overestemate again and give myself 8 ft of required wire. According to ALL ampherage/wattage charts. 8 ft at 250 W is reccomended a 12 guage wire. I don't get to 4 guage until i go up to 840 watts... Which sounds more likely seeing as thats close to the draw of my 12 inch subs in back that i ran with a 4 guage wire. Lol a 4 guage wire looks like it will barely fit if at all in the m4 input terminals.

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