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Thread: Car PC Building Experiences ... So Far.

  1. #1
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    Car PC Building Experiences ... So Far.

    Having spent over $3K, I'm feeling like I'm constantly battling flaky hardware or I'm just flat out not doing something right, so I'm hoping someone can provide some insight as to how to do things ... "right"

    Here's what I've done:

    I bought a Car PC case from Mechatronix. I've also drilled the thing to death, so I have two cases that are now completely riddled of holes I feel like this case is right, but there are several things I'd like to do to fix it. First, it would be nice to have a front panel with buttons on it (parallel port controlled is fine) with spaces for LEDs and a USB port. Having had no experience with CAD design, and no pockets full of cash, I can't afford to prototype a bunch of cases for this project - unless I had a set of people interested in buying my design.

    Secondly, I bought a Pico-ITX board. The Pico-ITX board worked great for about 6 months. I figure with the constant fiddling, mounting, unmounting, and changing of standoffs didn't help matters - it ended up shorting out when I plugged in the USB port connectors, and on and on and on. I think the Pico-ITX board is a perfect fit for this, but I am not sure.

    Third, I bought an AMP9-B from 41hz.com. This works great. I have confirmed it works, and the output is perfect.

    Fourth, I bought a laptop hard drive, and some anti-vibration mounts for it. I attached it to some drywall aluminum siding and it fits like a glove. Perfectly mounted, and so forth. It works great, very happy there.

    Fifth, the display - the Lilliput 7" USB Touchscreen - works great. It fits in the case, screwed down, and works beautifully. Linux and X-Windows with the touchscreen works brilliantly.

    I am concerned about several things. First, I bought a 90W power supply (the pico PSU 90W) and found that the Pico-ITX board kept freezing and failing to reboot after I added more than the touchscreen controller and keyboard to the USB ports. If I added a CD Rom or Bluetooth controller to it, it would fail to boot all the way, and would get to a point where the system would flat out not boot until I left it unplugged for several minutes.

    Do I need a power supply that can supply more wattage? I am thinking the PW-200-M would be perfect, as it's 200W and fanless.

    Next, I need a way to tie down the cables securely in the case. I am using tie-wraps, but I have found that the slightest vibration will cause the cables connected to the motherboard to come loose.

    I'm not really frustrated right now, I'm just trying to get a design that works. And I'm hoping someone's used the same case I used from Mechatronix, and used the same type of hardware. I'm not opposed to using a different motherboard, like a Nano-ITX board - I just need to be able to wrap all of the cables and fit everything in the case so that it can be put into the dash.

    I'll take pictures shortly to show what I've accomplished - which with a dead motherboard is not a whole lot.

    I have opted to use some aluminum siding (a 1 1/2" wide aluminum strip bent so it fits in the case) that I can drill into and mount the phono outputs for the speakers and connect the power connectors to the board. It's hard to get this right, I'm happy with how it progressed, but I'm thinking there's an overall better way to do what I want.

    I'd appreciate any help people can suggest. I know this is a long post.

  2. #2
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    use hot glue on the cables on the board or super glue. just a little dap after you insert them
    Garry
    Killeen tx

    93 typhoon #1110 work in progress

  3. #3
    Maximum Bitrate JimmyFitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenshin5 View Post
    ...

    I am concerned about several things. First, I bought a 90W power supply (the pico PSU 90W) and found that the Pico-ITX board kept freezing and failing to reboot after I added more than the touchscreen controller and keyboard to the USB ports. If I added a CD Rom or Bluetooth controller to it, it would fail to boot all the way, and would get to a point where the system would flat out not boot until I left it unplugged for several minutes.

    Do I need a power supply that can supply more wattage? I am thinking the PW-200-M would be perfect, as it's 200W and fanless.

    ...
    You need to break down the power used at each voltage rail: 12V, 5V, and 3.3V. It sounds like you may be too heavy on the 5V, that is what USB uses. You have to look at current needed at each voltage, not 90W vs. 200W
    ~Jimmy

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyFitz View Post
    You need to break down the power used at each voltage rail: 12V, 5V, and 3.3V. It sounds like you may be too heavy on the 5V, that is what USB uses. You have to look at current needed at each voltage, not 90W vs. 200W
    Apparently, this system has the ability to peak 120W with the mini power supply I bought. I can buy a self-powered USB 4 port controller that will output what I need from a 5V input, which would work perfectly. This way, the power is not sapped from the motherboard, but from its own power connection. I was hoping I could find a "do it yourself" kit with the pieces to solder on myself, but from the sound of it, it's cheaper to buy one pre-made, disassemble it, and mount it.

    This should be lots of fun! w00t!

  5. #5
    FLAC -zip-'s Avatar
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    Hang in there, frankly if your carputer starts working flawlessly buy another thing to attach to make it screw up. A perfect CarPc is boring.
    2008 350z GT Installed since April 22nd 2011 - Worklog
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  6. #6
    SD beats everything. So there. danielkh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -zip- View Post
    Hang in there, frankly if your carputer starts working flawlessly buy another thing to attach to make it screw up. A perfect CarPc is boring.
    OH! OH! What he said! DEFINITELY, what he said!! (While I am looking at that great $1K mobo/case upgrade now that everything is working flawlessly)
    My opinion is my own.

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate P3D4T0R's Avatar
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    Do NOT buy one of those Pico PSU's, they don't make it that obvious but if you read around you will see that they don't regulate the 12v rail which with your other PSU could have been the cause of your MB death. Buy a PSU from here, mp3car, trust me I found out the hard way, that doesn't mean you do.
    "Mess with the best, die like the rest."
    Work Log --> Old Car (Totaled)
    Work Log v2 --> New Car (Totaled)
    Work Log v3 --> GMC Suburban K2500 (Engine died)
    Work Log v4.5 --> 05 Toyota Tundra DC SR5

  8. #8
    SD beats everything. So there. danielkh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P3D4T0R View Post
    Do NOT buy one of those Pico PSU's, they don't make it that obvious but if you read around you will see that they don't regulate the 12v rail which with your other PSU could have been the cause of your MB death. Buy a PSU from here, mp3car, trust me I found out the hard way, that doesn't mean you do.
    On the new system I am looking at, they are suggesting this PSU because of "stock" PSU real estate in the case. It looks good on paper. Thoughts?

    http://www.mini-box.com/PicoPSU-120-...=8&category=13
    My opinion is my own.

  9. #9
    SD beats everything. So there. danielkh's Avatar
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    Sorry, my bad.....this is the PSU they recommend.....thoughts?

    http://www.mini-box.com/M3-ATX-DC-DC...=8&category=13
    My opinion is my own.

  10. #10
    Variable Bitrate P3D4T0R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielkh View Post
    On the new system I am looking at, they are suggesting this PSU because of "stock" PSU real estate in the case. It looks good on paper. Thoughts?

    http://www.mini-box.com/PicoPSU-120-...=8&category=13
    It might work if you start your car before your PC because the cranking of you engine drops your voltage to as low as 6 or 7 volts and after your engine has started can run as high as 14-16 volts. So it might work but personally I don't know... Right now there is someone selling the same PSU I have that runs just about everything in my CarPC. Check it out here it the opus 120. And if you want a good basis for building a CarPC checkout the worklogs especially mine...
    "Mess with the best, die like the rest."
    Work Log --> Old Car (Totaled)
    Work Log v2 --> New Car (Totaled)
    Work Log v3 --> GMC Suburban K2500 (Engine died)
    Work Log v4.5 --> 05 Toyota Tundra DC SR5

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