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Thread: Consenus on quality Power Inverters and FM Modulators

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate dodgetimes2's Avatar
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    Consenus on quality Power Inverters and FM Modulators

    I've come to the point in my carputer project where the only 2 things left to buy are the Power Inverter and an FM Modulator (the FM Modulator only because I want to keep my factory steering wheel radio controls). I've searched around the Forum archives for awhile and was just wondering if its worth it to by name brands of these 2 items. I want to keep the sound quality as high as I can. Should I spend the money for a more expensive Kenwood (Alpine, Clarion, Pioneer, etc.) FM Modulator or get a cheap one off Ebay (Innovatek, XOvision) same goes for the Power Inverter, more expensive (Coleman, TrippLite, PowerBright) or cheap ones off Ebay like (GoSocket, SevenStar, Vector, Xantrex). Any of you guys have FM modulators and Power Inverters with little of no noise in your system? Is it even possible?
    1.6GHz HP e-PC, 768MB RAM, 120GB WD HDD, Slim DVD-ROM, Onboard sound & video, 7" Lilliput, USB GPS Mouse, Audiovox FM Modulator, Vector 400 Watt Power Inverter, Windows XP Pro SP2, iGuidance 2, 15" Samsung LCD for the rear *Carputer not installed*

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    Raw Wave Defiler's Avatar
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    Just to add my two cents...

    I bought my first, and only, inverter from Tiger Direct for $35 about 5 years ago. It's a no name 300W inverter and has the common features like two outlets, fault protection, and cutoff at 10.5V. It's outlasted 4 PSUs and is currently powering my fourth carputer. When wired properly I get no engine noise at all.

    This might throw a monkey wrench into the whole "Name Brand" scheme but that's my contribution.
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  3. #3
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    Defiler: is it possible that the PSU gave before the sound quality gave, due to generally crappy inverter?

    i'd think about more possibilities than crappy inverter being good.

    anyway, the inverter i bought was from a brand i'd never heard of, but it seemed the sturdiest and most likely to do the job well.

    it is a 350 watt, wagan tech inverter. 350 watt standard, 800 watt peak. it also has active cooling (several others didnt),

    optimum efficiency, 90%
    no load current draw, less than .3 amps
    alarm at 10.5 volts, shutdown at 10.
    (cars are designed to start with only 9.6)

  4. #4
    Raw Wave Defiler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walleye
    Defiler: is it possible that the PSU gave before the sound quality gave, due to generally crappy inverter?
    Not sure I understand the question...
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgetimes2
    I've come to the point in my carputer project where the only 2 things left to buy are the Power Inverter and an FM Modulator (the FM Modulator only because I want to keep my factory steering wheel radio controls). I've searched around the Forum archives for awhile and was just wondering if its worth it to by name brands of these 2 items. I want to keep the sound quality as high as I can. Should I spend the money for a more expensive Kenwood (Alpine, Clarion, Pioneer, etc.) FM Modulator or get a cheap one off Ebay (Innovatek, XOvision) same goes for the Power Inverter, more expensive (Coleman, TrippLite, PowerBright) or cheap ones off Ebay like (GoSocket, SevenStar, Vector, Xantrex). Any of you guys have FM modulators and Power Inverters with little of no noise in your system? Is it even possible?

    If you have a cassette tape option, go with the tape adapter. It sound much better with tape adapter than the FM method. The FM Modulator with plug inline with the car antenna is much better than the FM transmitter with doesn't hook up to the car antennna (wire less connection). With the modulator, when enable, it will cut off the antenna to the modulator so that the sound is clearer and less interference. Most/all FM Modulator CD changer use this type of connection. You want sound quality, get the expensive and well known brand. I used to have a AudioVox and it sound okay, but the one from Alpine/kenwood (from broken CD changer) sound the best.
    For inverter, you should look at one that have lower shutdown voltage (9.5 or 10V), better cooling method.

    Either way, I would suggest you buy one locally so that return/exchange could be much easier and buying online.
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  6. #6
    FLAC bosstone74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgetimes2
    I've come to the point in my carputer project where the only 2 things left to buy are the Power Inverter and an FM Modulator (the FM Modulator only because I want to keep my factory steering wheel radio controls). I've searched around the Forum archives for awhile and was just wondering if its worth it to by name brands of these 2 items. I want to keep the sound quality as high as I can. Should I spend the money for a more expensive Kenwood (Alpine, Clarion, Pioneer, etc.) FM Modulator or get a cheap one off Ebay (Innovatek, XOvision) same goes for the Power Inverter, more expensive (Coleman, TrippLite, PowerBright) or cheap ones off Ebay like (GoSocket, SevenStar, Vector, Xantrex). Any of you guys have FM modulators and Power Inverters with little of no noise in your system? Is it even possible?
    I understand that people have a REALLY hard time waitting to get their computer in, but when I made mine... I got done and said...I really want it to do _______or ________. So I reworked it and eventually bought an opus. I ended up spending a HELL of a lot more money messing around instead of just buying the PSU. Defiler said he's gone through quite a few PSU, if you take that into account and the inverter purchase, you might as well get an opus for as much trouble as it might be worth. So on the PSU, my advice, and hundred of people will stand by me on this...save a little more, do it right...GET AN OPUS!

    As far as the stock radio...have you researched your type of specific stereo, that's in your car...I know there are some after market companies that have made adapter to add and aux. port. That would really improve the sound quality. I went down the modulator road, and was not pleased with it at all...I went out and bought a new head unit that took and aux. it.

    just my 2 cents...

    good luck!
    BossTone74

  7. #7
    Raw Wave Defiler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosstone74
    Defiler said he's gone through quite a few PSU, if you take that into account and the inverter purchase, you might as well get an opus for as much trouble as it might be worth. So on the PSU, my advice, and hundred of people will stand by me on this...save a little more, do it right...GET AN OPUS!
    OK. Let me clarify a few things...

    Two of the PSUs were used. Total money spent on all PSUs was about $75. The point I was trying to make was that even a no name inverter can last a long time. We're talking 4.5 years. My PSUs in my home box on a line conditioner don't last that long and they are new when purchased. I've seen issues with Opus PSUs as well. I will admit not nearly as many as with regular PSUs but most people complain about a reboot issue with an AC-DC PSU/inverter setup, which I don't have either.

    Also, some people don't have the space for some of their small area installs and need to go something other than an opus.

    Again, you will get pros and cons with any setup. I feel an inverter and AC-DC PSU for MY application is better suited.

    PS. I'd rather spend $20 to replace a bad PSU from the corner mom and pop computer store today than wait for a new or repaired $150 to $200 Opus to arrive next week.
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  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate dodgetimes2's Avatar
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    Factory Radios

    I looked around on pie.net for an Aux Adapter and came up short because my radio does not have CD Changer controls. Damn!
    1.6GHz HP e-PC, 768MB RAM, 120GB WD HDD, Slim DVD-ROM, Onboard sound & video, 7" Lilliput, USB GPS Mouse, Audiovox FM Modulator, Vector 400 Watt Power Inverter, Windows XP Pro SP2, iGuidance 2, 15" Samsung LCD for the rear *Carputer not installed*

  9. #9
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    what kind of car do you have?

  10. #10
    FLAC MP3DUB's Avatar
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    From his profile:

    Vehicle:
    99/Dodge/Durango and 97 Ram

    That and I've been using a brand of inverter that I'd never heard of before, american power, and I've been using it for a few years with 0 issues, no exploding power supplies, no interferences. Actually, there was one issue, the bearings on the internal fan went so the fan was noisy, but otherwise, I've been happy.
    -Nick

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