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Thread: Hardware Review: Mini-Box M3-ATX-HV Power Supply

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    Hardware Review: Mini-Box M3-ATX-HV Power Supply


    What is it?

    The M3-ATX HV is a 95-Watt DC to DC smart automotive power supply.

    The Verdict:

    The M3-ATX HV is an impressive little power supply. The manufacturer appears to have harnessed the core features of previous smart power supplies into a smaller and more efficient form factor. The only true sacrifice for M3-ATX HV users will be total power output. If you can accept this, you get a high-quality smart power supply which will work for vehicles based on 12v OR 24v systems.

    Buy the M3-ATX-HV 95 Watt - Smart Automotive Power Supply on the mp3Car Store now.



    What’s in the box?

    The M3-ATX comes with only the power supply and a series of mini-jumpers for timer settings. All cables used by the M3-ATX are soldered directly to the board.

    Description:

    The M3-ATX HV is a fully RoHS compliant DC/DC ATX converter module capable of powering computer systems with up to a 120-watt demand. Constant power usage should be limited to the suggested 95-watt capacity. The M3-ATX HV appears almost identical to the 125-watt M3-ATX but offers a wider input range to allow for greater flexibility in installation platforms. Whereas the input on the M3-ATX is limited to 24v, the HV variant allows up to 34v. Needless to say 24v systems would be run at greater efficiency with the M3-ATX HV.

    The M3-ATX HV is considered a PICO-PSU. Its intended purpose is for small, efficient, power-sipping systems such as the latest Atom-based boards from Intel. I initially tried powering my core-2-duo Intel DG45FC board with the M3-ATX HV but I was unable to get past POST messages. My less-powerful Intel D201GLY board however was able to run successfully with a host of USB devices connected. The obvious benefit in using the M3-ATX HV other than its voltage capabilities is its size. When compared to the older M2-ATX it’s easy to see how the M3’s PICO form factor could come in handy in car PC or even embedded platforms


    M2-ATX on the top, M3-ATX HV device on the bottom

    My initial reaction to the size of the M3-ATX HV was very positive. As a car PC hobbyist I know that we feel “the smaller, the better”. Upon installing the device I did run into a problem that could end up being a problem for anyone installing a M3 into their system.


    As shown above, the M3-ATX HV comes in contact with a USB header on the rear of the D201GLY motherboard. Though the power supply works as installed, the ATX connector does not quite sit flush, and a jolt from a pothole or speed bump could very well dislodge the component touching the header.

    Overlooking the fitment problem, I continued the installation of the M3 HV. The power supply has only a specific set of wires which makes installation easy when compared to other PSUs on the market. Simply connect your 12V, GND, and ACC lines to the RED, BLACK, and WHITE wires respectively. Then connect the SATA power or MOLEX connector to your hard drive or split these wires to extend power to multiple components. The only wire that actually needs to be manually plugged into the M3-ATX HV board is the motherboard power switch wire, and the 3-pin female end of this included wire only fits one way on the power supply. Optionally, you can connect the white wire on the 3-pin cable to your car’s amplifier to provide a delay which will prevent the speaker “THUMP” that occurs in some systems.

    Completing these steps alone allows the M3-ATX HV to work as a dummy mode PSU. For smart power supply settings, the M3-ATX HV has a set of pins which can be jumped for shutdown timing options. There are 4 options which allow a simple jumper or two to set the shutdown/hard off time. A fifth option which allows user-customized settings is available, but such a task requires a separate cable which I have no access to at this time.

    The Positive:

    • Small form factor increases installation flexibility
    • Wider range of input voltages than most PSUs on the market
    • Ability to customize shutdown/hard off times
    • Built-in cables means less can go wrong for beginner installers

    The Negative:

    • Only 95-watts sustained output means your limited to VIA/Intel Atom products
    • Form factor can impede installation on certain motherboards



    The Verdict:

    The M3-ATX HV is an impressive little power supply. The manufacturer appears to have harnessed the core features of previous smart power supplies into a smaller and more efficient form factor. The only true sacrifice for M3-ATX HV users will be total power output. If you can accept this, you get a high-quality smart power supply which will work for vehicles based on 12v OR 24v systems.

    Specifications:

    Dimensions: 40x43mm
    Efficiency Rating: up to 94%
    5v Output: 7A Max, < 30 Sec.
    3.3v Output: 7A Max. < 30 Sec
    12v Output: 5A Max, < 30 Sec
    -12v Output: .10A Max, < 30 Sec
    5VSB Output: 2A Max, < 30 Sec
    Input Voltage Range: 6VDC to 34VDC
    Deep Discharge Shut Down: 11.2V
    Operating Temperature Range:-40°C to 65°C
    Operation Modes:
    -5 Seconds soft off, 60 seconds Hard Off
    -1 Minute soft off, 5 minutes Hard Off
    -30 Minutes soft off, 2 hours Hard Off
    -2 Hours soft off, 2 Hours Hard Off

    Buy the M3-ATX-HV 95 Watt - Smart Automotive Power Supply on the mp3Car Store now.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jensen2000 View Post
    • Form factor can impede installation on certain motherboards
    You can get round this problem by using an ATX extender cable.
    However this will leave the PSU 'free floating', I used a glue gun to both insulate the exposed circuitry and secure it to the side of my case.

    Works perfectly.

  3. #3
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    yea i've also seen right/left-angle adapters that could also help
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