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Thread: Power and Sound Questions

  1. #1
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    Power and Sound Questions

    Ok, I am a newbie to the forums, but I have been reading alot about carputers and the lot.

    I have a g4 mini and have plans to put it in my new Mazdaspeed 6. I have a Xenarc 700TSV and Im using front row with the front row remote software for touchscreens that is on this forum. I have a power inverter already and I will hard wire this to my battery if needed.

    My question is this:

    LINK

    as good as using a p1900 from carnetix? I really dont want to cut my adapter or have to wait for all of the red tape to clear for the carnetix guys to make the mac pack cable.

    Im not too concerned about the sleep control, since I have a feeling it would kill my battery and I dont want to chance that at all.

    Also, I have read alot about using audigy USB audio cards, is the mini's onboard really THAT bad? I'm a huge quality nut, so I need to know up front.


    Any info would be awesome!


    joe

  2. #2
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jholman
    as good as using a p1900 from carnetix? I really dont want to cut my adapter or have to wait for all of the red tape to clear for the carnetix guys to make the mac pack cable.
    If you don't want to cut your cable, wait for the MacPac. The P1900 is the best way to go for a Mini.

    Im not too concerned about the sleep control, since I have a feeling it would kill my battery and I dont want to chance that at all.
    Unless you don't drive for a few days or have a weak battery you shouldn't have to worry. There is also an option on the P1900 that will kill the power to the Mini if you haven't turned it on for awhile (72 hours?). And it has a built-in cutoff if the battery drops too low.

    Also, I have read alot about using audigy USB audio cards, is the mini's onboard really THAT bad? I'm a huge quality nut, so I need to know up front.
    It's not that it's bad (at least on the Intel version), but it's limiting. The Audigy, Firewave, and Sonica are used to provide more control (balance & fade, timing, etc..) than you can get out of just splitting a headphone port. If you are going to run to an Aux-In on an existing Head Unit, then the headphone jack should be sufficient.

    Also note the thread I started last week about my Mini not recognising Line Out after it woke from sleep which also apparently happens on the G4 version too. My Sonica (even though I can only use it's headphone jack due to a lack of Intel drivers) doesn't have that issue. So if you don't use a sound card, make sure you can easily get to the port.

    -dave
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  3. #3
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    The Mini's onboard audio is quite good, in my opinion. Better than the Epia M10000, and I've got tin ears. However, if you are a huge quality nut, it is unlikely that you will be satisfied with the onboard audio. I suggest listening to it over a good pair of headphones. That's as good as it is going to get. If you don't like, then get an external devices.

    As for power, an inverter is not as good as a P1900, not because you can't run the Mini on an inverter satisfactorily -you can, but because it doesn't provide auto startup/shutdown capabilities for you.

    A properly connected P1900 will faithfully start, stop, and sleep your Mini without issues. Most of the dead battery issues I've seen are related to USB devices waking the Mini up or leaving it running. Rare instances of the P1900 'sticking' in the on position seem to be related to turning the ignition off, then on, then off again very quickly (this is anecdotal, by the way, Mike from Carnetix may disagree).

    In any case, you can do two things to prevent this from happening with a P1900. First, install a kill switch that interrupts power to the P1900. If you want to be fancy, use a timed relay that does this after a set time, like 5 minutes or so. This will ensure that the Mini is shut down properly by the P1900 and if not, that power is cut to prevent it from running.

    Alternatively, you can use Sleepwatcher, an app that will shut the Mini down after a certain period of sleep. Set it for 24 hours and your Mini will wake up right away on work days, but shut off over weekends.

    Still worried? Use a separate battery and a tank circuit to ensure that the Mini isn't drawing from your main battery when sleeping.

    Sleep is one of the THE COOL features of the Mini. It turns it into an appliance in your car, like a car stereo. Waiting for it to boot everytime you get in the car gets OLD fast.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
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  4. #4
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte
    Rare instances of the P1900 'sticking' in the on position seem to be related to turning the ignition off, then on, then off again very quickly
    While installing mine and running various tests I saw something like this happen. If I turned the car off while it was in the 60 second startup phase, the Mini would stay on. However, as soon as that time period was finished it would sleep the Mini as expected.

    This will ensure that the Mini is shut down properly by the P1900 and if not, that power is cut to prevent it from running.
    Actually, it won't. Killing the power to a sleeping Mac is only slighty less risky than pulling the power while it is awake. Ideally you would want to send it the shutdown signal (6 second button press) which I don't believe the P1900 offers yet.

    If you wanted to get fancy, you could build your own module to splice into Mike's Y adapter to send the power down signal after X hours of sleep. I think your suggestion of SleepWatcher is easier though

    Sleep is one of the THE COOL features of the Mini. It turns it into an appliance in your car, like a car stereo. Waiting for it to boot everytime you get in the car gets OLD fast.
    I'll agree with this. It's kinda annoying that I know my Mini is awake and happy, but i'm waiting on the DELAY to trigger AMPs, LCD, and USB Hub

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

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    I should have been more clear. When I was talking about cutting the power, I meant to a Mac that was set to shut down rather than sleep. If it hasn't shut down in 5 minutes, it's unlikely that it will do so and will require a hard shut down.

    It may be risky, but journaling helps and it ought not to happen very often in any case.

    In any case, I agree that it's not a 'proper' shutdown.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  6. #6
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    One stupd question, from the audio out on the back of the mini where do you go and how???? I have been trying to understnd but with no luck. ANYONE HAVE A DIAGRAM?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamgnat
    It's not that it's bad (at least on the Intel version), but it's limiting.
    Iíve another question about Intel Mini Ė how can you make sure that digital out is being used when you intend to do so? Iíve seen, some of the audio cards, Audigy-2 for example, got some sort of software control (from their Properties/Preference window) to explicitly set this option (i.e. Digital or Analogue) but I canít see anything like that on Mini. And also what type of audio cable should be used for digital out Ė is there any fiber-optic stereo cable with mini-jack available?

  8. #8
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppcebay
    One stupd question, from the audio out on the back of the mini where do you go and how???? I have been trying to understnd but with no luck. ANYONE HAVE A DIAGRAM?
    Depends on what you are doing. If you are keeping your HU, then you just run from the jack to the AUX port for the HU. If you are going to AMPs (that's what I did), then you need to split the output until you have enough connection for all your AMPs.

    -dave
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    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  9. #9
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacUsers
    Iíve another question about Intel Mini Ė how can you make sure that digital out is being used when you intend to do so? Iíve seen, some of the audio cards, Audigy-2 for example, got some sort of software control (from their Properties/Preference window) to explicitly set this option (i.e. Digital or Analogue) but I canít see anything like that on Mini. And also what type of audio cable should be used for digital out Ė is there any fiber-optic stereo cable with mini-jack available?
    I think it is "smart" (and I use that term loosely given my interaction with the jack) about it. If you have nothing plugged in, all you see for output options (assuming you don't have any other car connected) is the internal speaker. Once you connect something to the port, then you'll see (and it auto selects) Line-Out. I imagine it would do the same when you connect an optical cable.

    There isn't. You have to buy the adapter from Apple.

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamgnat
    Once you connect something to the port, then you'll see (and it auto selects) Line-Out.
    It's still showing only the internal speakers even if I connect something to it.

    another question is how do you connect Intel Mini to coaxial digital-in? I was trying to connect to my LifeStyle which hasnít got any optical digital-in. Any idea or advise?

    Thanks in advance!!!

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