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  • car performance drop?

    Hi, sorry if this has been posted already, but I didn't find the topic in the history. Anyway, i was wondering if running a computer while driving impairs the car's performance on the road. Because with my 1.6L '97 Civic LX I noticed turning off the A/C while I pass gives a little "boost" so I think that with a CPU and a screen connected it would be hard to reach 60 mph :P

    so have you noticed something similar? if so, is installing a bigger Alt or batt would help?

    also, have you tried putting a UPS (backup battery) in your system, so you could turn off your car and still have a few minutes to turn off your pc properly? i think that would solve most "restart" and crash problems
    Unfortunately just dreaming about it.. :P

  • #2
    There's a thread about carpcs affecting gas mileage that should answer your question but the short of it is it shouldn't except for the extra weight. It's using power from your alternator and the alternator has to be on all the time. With AC, when in use the belts need to turn the AC compressor as well, which results in the loss of power.

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    • #3
      1.6 L.... thats your main problem with reachig 60mph.... not ya PC :P
      It aint no family car.

      SEE MK2 At : -
      http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=22810

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      • #4
        lol... the car creates the power regardless of whether or not your pc is attached to it. the ac compressor is driven by the car's engine, that's why it takes a performance drop. when you turn off the compressor, it declutches from the engine, so it no longer has any effect on it. however, the alternator is always connected back to the battery, and always clutched with the engine (cause it has to supply power to the spark plugs, obviously). it runs at 14 volts, and constantly charges your battery. the battery cleans the power before it heads to the car's onboard computer, and also you draw your own computer off the car's battery. so no, it'll have no effect at all on your car unless you draw more power than you can recharge. and that's determined by your battery. generally, with most modern cars (and batteries) this isnt a problem.

        in fact, i cant think of any cars where it would be a problem. maybe one of those 1 liter cars? cant think of any.

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        • #5
          Wrong.

          The alternator will be harder to turn when it is under more load (cranking out more amps.) The difference should be negligible, but a really crappy car with a high draw system (P4 running through inverter with raid and crt monitor, for example) might see a hit.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by none
            Wrong.

            The alternator will be harder to turn when it is under more load (cranking out more amps.) The difference should be negligible, but a really crappy car with a high draw system (P4 running through inverter with raid and crt monitor, for example) might see a hit.
            That is correct (mostly). Current is drawn NOT CREATED! That is the first thing you must understand in electronics. The car does NOT create full power all the time. If you have a 100 amp altenator, that means that it is CAPABLE of creating 100 amp without doing damage to itself. An altenator creates electricity by intersecting a magnetic field with a wire. The current is then created in the wire. The problem with that is that any wire carrying current, creates it's own magnetic field. Right Hand Rule will show that these two magnetic fields (the one used to create the current, and the one created BY the current) oppose one another, thus making a "load". The more current that is drawn, the larger the magnetic field that is created by the current, the harder it is to intersect the wire with the original field, thus further loading.

            Where NONE is slightly incorrect, is that even a small system will put a heavy load on the altenator. Lets say that you're using a 150 Watt system (DC-DC, DC-AC, doesn't really matter, it's the wattage we're concerned with) to create 150W the altenator must produce 12.5 Amps of current (in a perfect world with no losses). Considering that most cars come with around a 100 Amp altenator (probably smaller on that 1.6L engine), that is 12.5% of the available current capacity. I vaguely remember something from fields that the force is the square of the increase, so if the car before computer were using say 50 Amps of power, increasing the current draw by an additional 1/4 would increase the load 56%, thus affecting gas milage, and performance.

            But alas, your real problem is a 1.6L engine.
            2006 Chevy Colorado: VIA M10000 EDEN, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB 2.5" Seagate HDD, USB Slim Slot DVD/RW, Holux GPS, MobileVU 10.4" LCD (touch not working yet), VOOMPC Case (blue), 70W DC-DC supply.

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            • #7
              I do know that my system places no noticable load on the electical system of my car, but then I designed it to be low draw and my car is quite a beast

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              • #8
                Mine isn't noticable either, but 3 car batteries will do that.
                2006 Chevy Colorado: VIA M10000 EDEN, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB 2.5" Seagate HDD, USB Slim Slot DVD/RW, Holux GPS, MobileVU 10.4" LCD (touch not working yet), VOOMPC Case (blue), 70W DC-DC supply.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Walleye
                  the alternator is always connected back to the battery, and always clutched with the engine (cause it has to supply power to the spark plugs, obviously). it runs at 14 volts, and constantly charges your battery. the battery cleans the power before it heads to the car's onboard computer
                  The battery doesn't "clean" the power, it's still the 13.8 or whatever that your alternator chooses to give out. That's why you need a regulator. Your ECU etc will have its own regulator, or be built to tollerate varying input voltages (not sure which).

                  GingerPrince

                  Car changed for TVR Griffith 500, so computer de-installed. Using a Dension 100ix w/60Gb HD unit in the interim.

                  Carputer Install - http://www.stuffandting.com/carputer/
                  CarBox Software -- http://www.stuffandting.com/carbox/

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                  • #10
                    More electrical is use in the car, more load to the alternator -> engine. It will affect the car's performance, service life, and gas milleage.
                    Have you guys notice that when you go up hill (big one), sometime there is always a warning sign "To advoid overheat, turn off AC and RADIO".
                    2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                    89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
                    Y2K Accord Dell GX150
                    RoadRunner is the best FE PERIOD
                    EmoRebellion is a SCAMMER

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FireWire
                      have you tried putting a UPS (backup battery) in your system, so you could turn off your car and still have a few minutes to turn off your pc properly? i think that would solve most "restart" and crash problems
                      I seem to rember reading something about this at some point. If I remember right, electrical interference is a problem with UPSusses. Plus most let out a very irritating whine when the power is cut.

                      It's probably a bit inefficient too since you'd need an inverter to plug your UPS into and then you'd have the UPS with its own (noisy) inverter used only when power is cut.

                      You might want to do 2 searches. One for "tank circuit" and one for "shutdown controller." Might accomplish the same thing a bit more elegantly.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MatrixPC
                        More electrical is use in the car, more load to the alternator -> engine. It will affect the car's performance, service life, and gas milleage.
                        Have you guys notice that when you go up hill (big one), sometime there is always a warning sign "To advoid overheat, turn off AC and RADIO".
                        !you took the words right out of my mouth!
                        car computer rev 5: 8" lilliput and usual suspects

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                        • #13
                          In Vietnam they drive without their headlights at night because they think it saves gas.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Walleye
                            the alternator is always connected back to the battery, and always clutched with the engine (cause it has to supply power to the spark plugs, obviously). it runs at 14 volts, and constantly charges your battery. the battery cleans the power before it heads to the car's onboard computer

                            Originally posted by GingerPrince
                            The battery doesn't "clean" the power, it's still the 13.8 or whatever that your alternator chooses to give out. That's why you need a regulator. Your ECU etc will have its own regulator, or be built to tollerate varying input voltages (not sure which).
                            You are both right in some regards.... A battery does help smooth out large voltage spikes spikes in a car electical enviroment, basically just as a capacitor can smooth varying voltage source. Like GingerPrince said: almost all electronic devices (ECU, ABS controller, stereo, ect...) do have their own internal voltage regulators as required

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