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Thread: Which do prefer/think is best? (Inverter or DC/DC)

  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Mar 2001
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    Post Which do prefer/think is best? (Inverter or DC/DC)

    I'm just curious what everyone's preferred method of powering their boards is. I was hoping for some pros and cons that you may have encountered.

    I am currently in the design phase of my project, and am looking for detailed accounts of problems, or hopefully ease of use of the two.

    As far as my system goes, I'm starting off fairly basic just worrying about getting the PC wired, audio connected and a keypad hooked up. I plan to upgrade after this phase to either a 4x40LCD or a 6" TFT. (Any comments on these as well would be benifical, but not crucial at this time.)

    I do have some electronics exsperiance. (Know how to use a DMM, soldering, ohms law )

    So, any comments would be much appreciated. Thanks everyone.

    In case you are wondering I plan to document this all and eventually have a site that is very comprehensive in the matter. Thanks again.
    -Jeffro

  2. #2
    Live and Kickin'
    Arby's Avatar
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    Dec 2000
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    Houston
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    Post

    Inverter: Cheap, easy, inefficient, can make noise.

    DC-DC: More expensive, efficient, no noice introduced.

    That's the basics. A search would turn up many discussions on these.

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    search the forum we have had this arguement almost 5 times now and all we have accomplished in having it is that it is up to u what u use in your car.

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 1999
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    Yorba Linda, CA
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    Yes, you should always use the search function first, but here goes:

    I used an inverter in my very first setup in 1998 and the computer would reboot or hang if I had it running while trying to start the car.

    Since then I've been using a custom-made DC-DC converter I designed and built myself. It has performed perfectly and I would never go back to an inverter.


    Here are some pros/cons of going with DC-DC:

    Pros:
    - More efficient. With an inverter you are converting 12VDC to 110VAC and back down to several DC voltages for the computer. With a DC-DC supply the conversion is direct and thus more efficient.
    - Smaller (single PSU rather than an inverter/AT or ATX PSU combo)
    - Less current draw from vehicle electrical system
    - Can handle lower input voltages (my system keep running even while starting the car)
    - Runs from any 8-16VDC source (for running in the house off AC I use a small 12V power supply similar to a laptop battery
    charger)
    - Can be made for very little $$$ (most of the parts can be acquired as free samples and you can solder it all on perfboard or make your own PCB if you have skill or know someone who can do it for you)
    - Less noisy. Inverters introduce something car audio equipment was not designed to deal with: 60Hz line noise. Most home audio equipment has special filters for getting rid of this annoying "feature" of AC electrical power. An inverter is even worse than house AC since it's a modified sine wave that has a more "square" profile, thus generating more electrical noise.


    Cons:
    - Inverters are more readily available and a commercial inverter + normal PC power supply combo is considerably cheaper than commercial DC-DC supplies. A good AT or ATX form-factor DC-DC supply will run over $100.00 US. For the same price you can get an inverter and a regular computer power supply and still have change left over for a 40x4 LCD, etc.
    - It is difficult to do yourself if you lack the necessary skills. You will need to know how to read a schematic, solder, and work with prototyping materials or PCB fabrication to built your own DC-DC PSU.
    - You will need a separate line-powered PSU to run a 12V DC-DC PSU in the house off AC current.

    It's really a matter of money, time, and expertise. If you can afford the time and/or money needed to get a DC-DC PSU, I say go for it. Otherwise go ahead and use an inverter; you can always switch over to DC-DC later.
    Jason Johnson
    Yorba Linda, California
    http://www.m2pc.com

    MPC Phase IV - *** PENDING ***

  5. #5
    Newbie
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    Mar 2001
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    I appreciate the replys, exspecially yours jjohnson. Thanks for the help, and any more that anyone has.

    And just so everyone knows I did use the search function, and found some topics, but not exactly what I was looking for. (I'm not new to UBB boards at all) But hey, at least I didn't get totally flamed. I apologize if everyone feels that I am wasting time, but seriously I found very little on what I wanted.

    Thanks again all.
    -Jeffro

  6. #6
    Newbie
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    Mar 2001
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    Oops. Okay, I just now got a search to work properly. I'm not sure what I was doing wrong yesterday. Apparently I am a fool. Have a nice day all.
    -Jeffro

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