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Power decisions

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  • Power decisions

    Well, I know I'm about to get in way over my head... but I've been thinking about building a system for my car for a couple months, and after finding this site, I'm finally ready to give it a try.

    The problem I have is that I'm not a big car whiz -- or even an electrical whiz. Just a computer geek. I'll have no problems putting together the computer side of this project, but my two concerns from the start have been a) power and b) audio connections.

    I've been doing as much research as I can, and I'm OK with audio connections for now. Power is my major concern. I've seen that people who are against power inverters are strongly against them, but since I'm inexperienced with electronics, I'm looking for a fairly inexpensive way out that isn't going to require too much electrical knowledge.

    I saw that some systems were using the Arise DC/DC power supply. Most of these, though, appear to be 60-80 watts, and I would like to run a ~350mhz machine so I can play divx movies on it as well. I know 80 watts won't cut it for such a system. My other concern is that the picture on the web site shows the power supply in big pile of pieces

    Once I decide on a power supply, I'm also worried about grounding everything properly. Does anyone have any advice on that?

    Another question I have is starting up/shutting down the computer. What do you guys recommend for this? I saw a number of mp3cars had a switch seperate of the car starting. Do most of you do this? Or do you hook them up so they automatically start up and shut down when the engine starts.

    I apologize for being such a newbie and stepping so far in over my head. ANY help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. If you know of any sites or mp3car sites that explain power issues / solutions well, I'd love to see them. I'm also really looking forward to any advice you have about starting a new system -- basically, if you were going to build one tomorrow, what parts would you use?

    Thanks again for reading this far down into my rambling

  • #2
    Assuming you are using at AT motherboard, the Arise supply will be fine for 350MHz. It doesn't come in any pieces. It is a fully assembled unit, with only the AT style plug for you to connect. This takes about 3 seconds to do, as all the effort required is to plug it in. DC-DC really is the only way to go. You won't have to worry about grounding problems.
    Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
    Car: 1986 Mazda RX-7 Turbo (highly modded), 1978 RX-7 Beater (Dead, parting out), 2001 Honda Insight
    "If one more body-kitted, cut-spring-lowered, farty-exhausted Civic revs on me at an intersection, I swear I'm going to get out of my car and cram their ridiculous double-decker aluminium wing firmly up their rump."


    • #3
      And if u want infomation, all i can suggest its read through the Examples of MP3 cars on the main site. You will find lots of information, and clues in here.

      Cheers and good luck Plans and progress on my install - (Updated 28 June 02)
      Australian mp3car Portal
      mp3car related links Check them out / Add some
      mp3car FAQ - RTFF

      [########==]80% Assembling
      -=Current Progress: Working Sproggy supply, building box.=-


      • #4
        The Arise power supply should be enough to power that system.

        I know that most computers come with 250 to 300 watt supplies, but they are leaving a whole lot of growing room most of the time. It all comes down to how power hungry your specific components are. Perhaps one of these guys can walk you though how to test the power draw from your computer.

        That said, there are several guys on this board that are powering computers at least that powerful if not more so with the ACE-865

        Another benefit of using that supply is that you wouldn't have to worry about grounding issues and noise filters and such. The single downside that I have heard so far is cost (about $70) but in my opinion well worth it.

        As far as having a switch or not, it depends on your driving/music preferences and habits. I have a switch in my dash, because there are times that I drive that I don't want to boot the computer. I was able to pull enough power from the accessory line to power my computer, but if you use an always- on connection to the battery, you should probably consider putting in a shutdown circuit to turn the computer off when the car is off so that you don't get stranded somewhere.