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  • Sad day in car computing

    2 years and the obvious happened. My hard drive died. Interestingly enough I have received more education then I ever have before on the durability of non-solid state drives.

    After speaking to a senior engineer at Seagate (my dad) the lessons learned were that neither 2.5" drives or 3.5" drives by nature were meant for this application and that they were not meant to take the abuse of the vehicle shock or the hostile temperatures that come from living anywhere other then Phoenix or LA... the answer - there are special "vehicle drives" that were meant specifically for this application, but I am not sure where to get them from or how much these cost.

    I am thinking about taking a SATA 3.5" drive and mounting it externally (this is a trunk mount system) with an external case that implements a ton of padding (all custom stuff), but I am extremely concerned about the temperature shifts as 3.5" drives actually have much lower requisites in production then 2.5" drives, because their standards are much higher as mobile computing (i.e. laptops) is the intended use for these drives.

    Has anyone tried a 3.5" drive? Does anyone have any experiences living in a place that has sub-zero temperatures (like Colorado)? Does anyone have any first hand experience with the durability of drives?

    I know 2 years is a good lifespan for a drive that takes car abuse, but wow, this created a serious pain in the butt.

    The other cool thing about all this happening was I got to make a make-shift test bench (hokey pins from a parellel port jack, soldered to wires that were hooked up to a really cool 3amp vehicle power supply from radio shack [$50] - you turn it on by carefully removing a pin, then shoving it back in ).

    Streetdeck is cool, but I realize my days of car computing maybe numbered...
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  • #2
    One more thing - kind of funny - the timing of this disaster was impeccable - I was leaving for a business trip and told everyone I didn't need a map (arrogance) - I ended up turning around and going home for a mapquest printout that sent me in the wrong direction and got me completely lost (over an hour late)
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    • #3
      I've been running a 3.5 drive for a little over 4 years now. My drive experiences seasonal temperatures between -25C and +30C. Never a glitch, never and issue.

      But I do create and image of the drive at the end of the week, just to be safe.......

      Umm, about the trip.......

      Why didn't you just pull over and buy a paper map for like 5 bucks or so? Gas stations still keep 'em in stock. They still work as far as I know. Even when the power goes out!
      Used one the last time I went on a trip (took the car without the 'puter). Would have saved you the hour drive back.
      I always keep a paper map or atlas on hand. Never know when the gps is going to be wrong or have a coronary.
      The gps is nice and I use it all the time, but I like to confirm what it's telling me from time to time. I just keep seeing the lemmings running off the cliff in my mind when I see people following gps instructions blindly.........

      Just my .02

      Cheers
      For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
      Leonardo Da Vinci

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      • #4
        We could do like nascar with their 2nd ignition systems; and have a hot standby, like raid.
        It's been a while...

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        • #5
          Ha! No, I was only 15 mins away from home... It was mapquest that sent me out on a wild goose chase and made me late, but you are right.. had I bought a map, I would have made it easily and on time. Streetdeck nav (when it is working) has never steered me wrong though.

          It is good to hear you have had good luck with the 3.5" drive, but does that Chrysler of yours have REALLY good shocks? The TC wasn't blessed with wonderful stock shocks (I think they wanted you to feel like you were driving a racecar or something [ya, right]).

          That nascar idea, ya, but by the time you are done doing all that, wouldn't you be running a server out of your car? We could run redundant servers with raid configurations and fail-over services, but I think you'd need your head checked
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          • #6
            Although, 25c and 30c is really good, because I think that the temperature was right in those specs when the hard drive died, and I wasn't jumping any speedbumps, so I have to believe this was temperature related.

            I think I am going to try the 3.5" SATA route - this will put 500G in my car
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            • #7
              Originally posted by 06TC_OWNER View Post
              ...........It is good to hear you have had good luck with the 3.5" drive, but does that Chrysler of yours have REALLY good shocks? The TC wasn't blessed with wonderful stock shocks (I think they wanted you to feel like you were driving a racecar or something [ya, right]).............
              The 300m is usually a pretty smooth ride, but mine is a 300m special which is the "performance" model of 300m. The spring rates ae higher, the struts are valved for it and the 18" michelin pilot sport tires all conspire for an abrupt ride at times..........

              Not quite a buckboard, but you know every nook and cranny in the road.

              I'm running a 320g 7400rpm drive myself. I've been thinking about moving the os over to a solid state drive lately though...........hate the thought of losing the drive in the middle of a trip (like you did).

              "Ghosting" the drive helps, at least then I'll only have to buy a new drive if it craps out..............

              cheers
              For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
              Leonardo Da Vinci

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              • #8
                Surprising that your dad works for Seagate and didn't tell you exactly what drive you should look for...we sell it right here on the store: https://store.mp3car.com/SearchResul...18&Search.y=10

                It's called an EE25 Automotive grade drive. It's the same kind of drive that the OEM car manufacturers use for their new media systems in the cars. The downside? It's only 40 gigs. However, you can easily run this as your OS drive then get an additional drive for media.

                I've been running nothing BUT a full size drive in my car for close to 4 years and have never had one crash on me. I live in Texas though and where I live we don't see sub 0 temperatures, though we're regularly below freezing during the winters (for about 2 months perhaps?) However, in the summer, we're routinely above 100 (sometimes 2 months at a time). I've never had equipment failure in my car, oddly enough.
                Jan Bennett
                FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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                • #9
                  GreatWhite:

                  Excellent to hear - that is exactly how I would explain my car. As far as the solid state is concerned, I am still feeling like it is a little expensive. Now that RedGT has shown they sell the extreme edition drive (and not for that much), it might be a good idea to use something like that as your primary drive and use a standard drive for your media drive. Solid state has a limited number of read/writes in its life unfortunately and the cost is ungodly.

                  Ghosting, YES - I lost Windows, Streetdeck, the whole nine yards. I have the SD disk, but a copy of Windows?? I'm not sure. I may have a cd, but not a valid key, so next time I will definitely ghost the thing.

                  RedGT:

                  I didn't know you guys actually sold that drive, and I called my dad at 10pm last night, so we really didn't get into the specifics, so in all actuality that may be the choice drive. I guess it just depends on how you look at it. I was told it was a "risk" using a standard 3.5" drive, but the big question lies in is it better to have a 3.5" 500g or a durable 3.5" 40g when 500g runs under $100 these days. I am going to try this risk (just because I have an extra one), with one exception... I will definitely be imaging the disk after I get everything installed!! Buying a new hard drive is not a big deal, but trying to get all the Windows stuff loaded from scratch with Streetdeck, getting the activation keys for both, and hoping you have a COA is really the big pain. I am pretty certain that I don't have a windows disk with this system, but I know I was sent the Streetdeck disk and whatever drivers I can't hunt down should be online here somewhere...

                  Speaking of which, the biggest driver pain was the Microsoft GPS drivers (which were kind of flaky) - does anyone know where I can grab a decent set for the Microsoft GPS receiver?
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                  • #10
                    Wow. Sucks about your drive and mapquest. Guess I'll be getting one of these drives, my Vibe that the carputer is going in is lowered 2.5" (I dont like stock ride height). Corners real nice, but those PA potholes shake ya up.
                    Mike

                    My Rides:
                    '03 Vibe GT!

                    My AED GA!

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                    • #11
                      The automotive drive and a second drive does seem like an attractive option, if you have the space.
                      Unfortunately, my setup is pretty much completely installed and there's little to no room left. I also don't feel like ripping everything apart to make room for a second drive. But for someone still in the "beta phase" or with the room/desire, it would make a very viable and robust option.
                      But lets not forget, it's still a drive. More robust, but it can still fail (same as every other option, solid state included). Mybe I'll take a gander at the specs on the one in the store.......

                      Hmmm..........

                      I wonder if 40 gig would be big enough for me.

                      Lemme think.............Full xp install, lotsa programs I use on the road, lotsa movies for the kids, hmmm...........

                      Nah. I'll just stick with backing up my drive. Maybe I'll get a usb adapter case for a drive to back it up to. Then if it craps out, pull out the busted out, slip in the good one, ready t go again in 5 mins or less.............

                      Guess it's what ever works best for you.

                      I will say this though:
                      Bought a couple things from the mp3car store myself, I highly recommend them!

                      Cheers
                      For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
                      Leonardo Da Vinci

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                      • #12
                        I have the drive Jan pointed out and so far no issues, The suspension in my coupe doesn't exactly give you the most luxurious ride and it gets pretty cold & hot out here in jersey and so far so good. The drive isn't huge on space but I use it for my os/SD and my main music/vids I then just have a regular laptop 120gb external for my additional music/vids because it can be easily replaced if something should go wrong. I only care about my os/sd install.

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                        • #13
                          80 gig automotive drives have been announced, that is what I am waiting on.

                          Been running the same 3.5 drive since original install. Only problem for me is winter, it will not spin after it hits -7C or so.
                          2008 350z GT Installed since April 22nd 2011 - Worklog
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                          • #14
                            Ok, well the update for me is that I tried the 500g 3.5" in the PC, and on the bench, the power supply wasn't able to handle it (it either drew more then 3amps [test power max] or the power supply itself couldn't hack it). Either way, I grew frustrated and just ran out and bought a 2.5" 160G hard drive and threw it in.

                            I found an unactivated version of Windows XP [YAY!] and installed it on the PC, found all the drivers (on this message board), and everything is HAPPY

                            I had music in my car for a short time today (wow, was that nice) using windows media player [pain to operate in a car], but after rebooting the PC, WMP says it "can't locate the server" - I have no clue why it would need to "locate a server" in order to play a local playlist... dumb.

                            One thing that did not go well was the StreetDeck disk... Perhaps moisture from storage, or shipping caused a scrape that went through the foil of the CD rendering it useless (I never opened this because I had a bundled solution). I am positive MP3CAR would be more then willing to ship me a new disk, but with my impatience, I am going to see if I can locate a contact to package a copy over the internet for me. If not, then I will be waiting on shipping, but wow is it great to have MUSIC in my car again!!! 1 week without it is downright painful!

                            As soon as I get this all setup, I have learned my lesson and will IMMEDIATELY ghost this drive!!
                            View my current SD Projects:

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 06TC_OWNER View Post
                              Ok, well the update for me is that I tried the 500g 3.5" in the PC, and on the bench, the power supply wasn't able to handle it (it either drew more then 3amps [test power max] or the power supply itself couldn't hack it). Either way, I grew frustrated and just ran out and bought a 2.5" 160G hard drive and threw it in.

                              I found an unactivated version of Windows XP [YAY!] and installed it on the PC, found all the drivers (on this message board), and everything is HAPPY

                              I had music in my car for a short time today (wow, was that nice) using windows media player [pain to operate in a car], but after rebooting the PC, WMP says it "can't locate the server" - I have no clue why it would need to "locate a server" in order to play a local playlist... dumb.

                              One thing that did not go well was the StreetDeck disk... Perhaps moisture from storage, or shipping caused a scrape that went through the foil of the CD rendering it useless (I never opened this because I had a bundled solution). I am positive MP3CAR would be more then willing to ship me a new disk, but with my impatience, I am going to see if I can locate a contact to package a copy over the internet for me. If not, then I will be waiting on shipping, but wow is it great to have MUSIC in my car again!!! 1 week without it is downright painful!

                              As soon as I get this all setup, I have learned my lesson and will IMMEDIATELY ghost this drive!!
                              Can't locate server?

                              Maybe check the wimamp settings and see if you have "always connected to the internet" checked. If it is, it may be trying to send back user statistics or checking for an update depending on how you have those preferences set.

                              I've pretty much settled on a plan myself:

                              I've got a couple drives lying around, so I'll ghost the Mputer onto one of those drives not in use (I've got another copy on the house server), place it in an anti static bag (like those used in shipping), I've got a couple small "Pellican" cases (air tight impact case) just slightly bigger than the drive, i'll secure it in one of those in the cut to shape foam, place a couple dessicant bags in it and chuck the case in my trunk bag with my car "essentials". That way, if the drive craps out, I can at least pop in the spare drive and have my OS and music (spare drives aren't big enough to hold the movies too!).

                              It never fails that when I'm on a long trip, something goes wrong (hense, the bag of "essentials" ). At least a "backup" of the Mputer basics would get me running again.

                              That's my plan anyways.

                              Hmmm, copme to think of it, that probably means something will probably break!

                              Just my Karma I guess............
                              For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
                              Leonardo Da Vinci

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