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Thread: A Real Car PC - 1999 Honda Accord Ex project

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    wow, so much info, and so much of it wrong...

    and the 'real carpc' comment was a little out of line--you are using the OS to define what a real carpc is? Os's are easier to change then hardware--as a IT person you know this.. most define a carpc as something that uses computer hardware-- weather it is a aurdino, or 775 socket motherboard..

    1st. CAPACITORS: use in a cars power circuit are useless. they will work as everyone explains them for the first tiny power dip, but after that, they become a parasitic load, and only help the original manufacturers wallet. if you have money to burn, i recommend you burn it before buying a cap..

    note: i have been asking, and searching for reasonable evidence that capacitors help car audio systems for years, and, while finding many topics on how they hurt car audio performance, have never come across any documented proof on how they help a car audio system. if you have proof that caps help a system more then hurt, please post up how and why, i am extremely interested in this information.


    2nd. i question if you have time for a hobby like this if you say that you don't have time to build a pc from scratch. while many have trouble-free setups that don't have problems, many times, it takes lots of years of tweaking, and tuning to get to that point.. if you don't have the time for hardware, you probably don't have the time for software..

    3rd. those car interfaces that you put down are there for a reason. try hitting the 'start' button at 55mph on a bumpy road. by the time you press it, you will have lost concentration on the road for so long, it would be a miracle if you don't hit anything..

    4th. AG coatings will many times increase glare-- because they diffuse the light across the entire panel. so instead of just a small part of the screen being blotted out by the sun, the entire screen becomes un-readable..

    5th. power-- read up on the different power supply options. there is a good option for that board, and i have listed all of those different options in the past posts.

    6th. 8" screen. check the fabrication area. there is no way to fit this in your dash without a lot of work. for a bolt-in solution check the bybyte kits.

    7th. gps. check out the bu353 reciever. it is a very common, reliable, and trouble-free solution for gps recievers.

    8th. battery/power. for just a atom based carpc, no upgrades are necessary.(the atom is something like a 15w tdp processor-- it is like adding 3 phone chargers to your car..)

    for car audio, it depends how crazy your going-- a simple 100-200w amp/sub combo really doesn't justify huge upgrades.. a 3,000 watt system would require multiple alternators, and batteries, and doubling up on the big-3 upgrade...

    the big mistake that everyone makes is the connections. with good, solid connections, you can get away with a lot more then a shoddy installation. my system has a alpine 150w rms 4ch amp, and a 300w rms sony amp, and a upgraded battery ground.. even cranked, i have zero dimming issues..

    for a eq, what are you looking for?
    thanks a whole lot SoundMan. very helpful info real talk. i will check into all of the above.
    and im tired of apologizing for my previous statements so no more.
    but for the eq i think i will need one. most of the setups i have seen have an eq box under there screens on the dash for the car audio. computer audio sounds differ from jus using a 3.5mm jack to da soundcard on da comp to the speakers. i believe the eq will broaden the sound and filter it way better then jus using my itunes EQ.
    and me i can hit my start menu going 70mph without looking at the screen. i have been working with these OS's for years that I know them like that back of my hand as far as where things are located. thats why I'm a good at what I do in the IT field. My clients tell me so.
    and yea your right about the the screen too. i look more in depth on the post Dave suggested on the molding and it is allot of work. looks like I just picked up a new hobby next to my video editing hobbies. so It looks like i'm gonna be hanging in there for the long haul on this project. this is something i have always wanted and I am so freaggin glad honestly I found this forum. real talk guys. your helping allot. I will be donating

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfxwave View Post
    I'm far from a expert in Caps but what i was told they do help allot, when your bass hits your amplifier draw more amps and your volts drop and the more your volts drop the more amps you pull and the hotter your amplifier get and it's all down hill from there. With a cap it place it will help the volts stay up and thus less amps you pull less heat is generated from the amplifier. now if you have solid bass and no gaps you will bring the cap down and it will no longer help but it don't hurt anything unless your alternator sucks. By the way a high output alternator and good battery is way better then a cap so upgrade those first.

    Just what i was told no paper to back up anything i said LOL

    Look at it this way find a 220v appliance and a 120v of the same type/equal (motor or compressor) and you will notice that the 120 draws more amps then the 220 does.
    thanks on the upgrades. any brands you recomend for the alternator & battery? or it doesn't really matter as long as its high output?

  3. #33
    Newbie jfxwave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    what can i say? i don't really know richard clark, so i don't know if it was financial motivation, or something else..
    Same here and i think no one does but Richard Clark himself.


    part of the issue with dimming headlights is that power is getting pulled away from the headlight circuit to provide sufficient power to the higher draw item-- the amps. so it is unrelated, but related to high power amps...
    The device that is pulling power from the headlight is the amplifier, thats why the dimming will dim with the music being played.


    if you frequent any car audio forums, you know just how many discussions on this there are...
    So true i do think it's a 50/50 deal but the article was from a SPL forum and i agree them guys don't need a capacitor and capacitors will hurt the amplifier.

    what i don't understand is if caps are good for a audio system, why is it so hard to find proof of that? wouldn't there have been someone somewhere that was able to show that a cap allows for the sub to dig lower, or get tweeters play smoother?
    Somewhat true but i really see it both ways, no proof they work but on the other hand i don't see that they do not work either. I say if your lights dim install one and if it gets better keep it if not ditch the capacitor.

    in the original post i had that had pics to the above link, most members agreed that the article proved caps were bad from a power perspective. but the article lacked any proof from a audio perspective ie: reguardless of power input, that caps help/hurt.
    Please look for that post because i would really like to see that, i have yet to fully understand the good/bad about capacitors.


    so, with the info that i currently have-- that article (and if your search for older posts by member Oldspark, his electrical experience also supports this)-- caps are bad. but, as a person who is more concerned with sound quality, and driver staging, i am open to being proven wrong. all i need is proof... if you can prove that a cap will get my sub to dig 2hz deeper/play smoother, and make my other drivers play smoother, etc, you can count on me installing a cap...
    I'm on the other side saying prove it to me that they do bad. lol and i do trust Oldspark because i have read some post and i respect his knowledge and yours too.

    To all that is reading this; evrything i'm saying is my own opinion and Oldspark and soundman98 have more knowledge then i.

  4. #34
    Newbie MatneyX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    this is a great guide-- that was written by a very experienced audio guru, that goes into great electrical detail on why capacitors don't help audio systems-- just be sure you have your thinking caps on!!

    and keep in mind-this is posted on a site dedicated to high spl-- if caps really helped people hit higher spl numbers, this would have been refuted with numbers proving it.. i got to page 2, and didn't find anyone giving proof he was wrong(there was the one post saying that he did all the testing wrong, but never came back with proof)

    http://forum.realmofexcursion.com/ac...capacitor.html[COLOR="Silver"]
    Lesson 5 convinced me... if there were a way to charge the cap after a big hit without reducing the available power to the amps, it would be another story, but that's beyond my electrical knowledge
    "Have we grown so hard we can't feel right or wrong, or have we grown so cold we just don't care?" - Dave Matney

    I don't currently have a CarPC, I just ask a lot of questions.

  5. #35
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    While I respect your guy's (Soundman & jfxwave) opposing viewpoints on caps, I think you're both missing the bigger picture: caps are no band-aid and/or substitute for a weak battery/charging system, but can be beneficial in a high-wattage system where transients (spikes) in music (current draw) necessitate a higher discharge rate than a typical battery or alternator can provide. That's the purpose of a cap. It doesn't add power, or take away power... but, it can provide a sudden rush of energy when needed. The recharge cycle for a cap may be a moot point, depending on your preferred type of music and listening level. If you're into super bass-heavy toons and cranked all the time, beef-up your electrical system BIG TIME. But, if you listen to music that's melodic with the occasional (or even frequent) transient, then a cap can benefit your system. The period between transients will allow the cap to recharge without robbing power from the audio.

    Of course, many of the AGM batteries available today can provide that quick discharge of energy, so they make caps more of an unnecessary accessory. BUT, a steady and abundant charging source, and multiple batteries is still a requirement.
    Last edited by Freedom_First; 02-23-2011 at 10:00 AM.

  6. #36
    Newbie jfxwave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatneyX View Post
    Lesson 5 convinced me... if there were a way to charge the cap after a big hit without reducing the available power to the amps, it would be another story, but that's beyond my electrical knowledge
    So your saying that after a big hit the alternator cannot charge the capacitor?

    I think it would be able to because when your system plays that big bass hit it will pull allot of amps and the capacitor helps but after that hit the amplifier will pull allot less amps and your alternate will be able to charge the capacitor and keep up with the amplifier as well. Thats why i say with people looking for SPL a capacitor will not work because the amplifier is at top load and using all that the alternator will put out without any breaks (lower load) to charge the capacitor.

    I can no longer read that lesson 5 and can't remember what was said (exceeded the maximum number of posts you can view)

  7. #37
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    I think I need to put my 2cents in.

    We all come from different background with varying skills in computer building and methods of building. Some look for top of the line High tech stuff, while some (like me) look for something economical and work within a budget.

    First place to start is here >>> http://www.mp3car.com/content/150-car-pc-101.html

    I did 8 months of researching. Did not register to post and ask questions off the bat, but to read people's experiences, follow a hand few of builds from start and see what they did and 'how' they did it. Then incorporate my needs for an in car needs and functions at my finger tips. The reason for the install is to have a safe and less intuitive entertainment system that keeps my mind from wandering too much, hands on the steering and eyes on the road. I am not installing the system to play solitaire while driving.

    This is my building http://www.mp3car.com/worklogs/14658...ter-build.html . First is to choose the parts that you need (choose, not buy yet), then choose the power-supply power requirement from one of the renounced power supply calculators and choose your DC-DC supply. Once the investment is made on hardware, there is no turning back (yeah you could return it and get another one, but its just a hassle) then pick your software and you are fine.

    Do a bit more research and listen to the fellow members. These guys are great and know their stuff. Good luck with your build.

  8. #38
    Newbie MatneyX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freedom_First View Post
    While I respect your guy's (Soundman & jfxwave) opposing viewpoints on caps, I think you're both missing the bigger picture: caps are no band-aid and/or substitute for a weak battery/charging system, but can be beneficial in a high-wattage system where transients (spikes) in music (current draw) necessitate a higher discharge rate than a typical battery or alternator can provide. That's the purpose of a cap. It doesn't add power, or take away power... but, it can provide a sudden rush of energy when needed. The recharge cycle for a cap may be a moot point, depending on your preferred type of music and listening level. If you're into super bass-heavy toons and cranked all the time, beef-up your electrical system BIG TIME. But, if you listen to music that's melodic with the occasional (or even frequent) transient, then a cap can benefit your system. The period between transients will allow the cap to recharge without robbing power from the audio.

    Of course, many of the AGM batteries available today can provide that quick discharge of energy, so they make caps more of an unnecessary accessory. BUT, a steady and abundant charging source, and multiple batteries is still a requirement.
    Quote Originally Posted by jfxwave View Post
    So your saying that after a big hit the alternator cannot charge the capacitor?

    I think it would be able to because when your system plays that big bass hit it will pull allot of amps and the capacitor helps but after that hit the amplifier will pull allot less amps and your alternate will be able to charge the capacitor and keep up with the amplifier as well. Thats why i say with people looking for SPL a capacitor will not work because the amplifier is at top load and using all that the alternator will put out without any breaks (lower load) to charge the capacitor.

    I can no longer read that lesson 5 and can't remember what was said (exceeded the maximum number of posts you can view)
    Lesson 5

    In our last lesson we learned that caps actually store charges on their plates. And of the 1960 joules stored in a 20 Farad cap, 1000 of them sit at a potential below 10 volts. This means there is no way they can ever be used by an operational audio system. Today we will look at another loss factor. It has to do with the loss factor due to the ESR of the cap.

    We have already studied voltage drop due to ESR but now let’s view it from an energy/watts standpoint. Let’s clarify things. The power delivered to the stereo by the battery and alternator bypass the cap. They merely flow by its terminals. If the cap charge is lower than the battery/alternator potential current will flow INTO the cap until it reaches equilibrium with the Battery/Alternator. If the B/A potential is lower than the charge potential of the cap current will flow OUT of the cap to the battery and or the amp.

    Always remember that voltage always flows from the highest potential to the lowest potential, just like water. Current does not however flow into the alternator even if it is lower than the battery and cap because it has diodes on its output that only let current flow FROM its output. Now whenever any current flows into or out of the cap it must pass thru the ESR of the cap. The resistance is really distributed throughout the cap but it behaves just like it was right on the output terminal as in a series circuit location in the circuit loop does not matter. Now suppose our 20 farad cap is charged to 14.2 volts and we place a load on its output. This load is the same one that we used in lesson 2 to cause 100 amps of current to flow from our unlimited capacity cap. Only now we have our smaller 20 farad cap.

    Lesson 5 (continued)

    We know that if 100 amps of current flows out of our cap, those 1.7 volts will drop across the ESR of .017 ohm. This will cause the output to drop to 12.5 volts just like it did with the unlimited cap.

    This means that the load (100 ohms resistance) will be consuming 1250 watts from our cap. 12.5 volts x 100amps = 1250 watts. The total wattage output produced by the cap is 1420 watts. 14.2 volts x 100 amps = 1420 watts. Unfortunately 170 watts of power will be lost in heat in the ESR of the cap. This represents a loss of 13% of our total usable joules (960) at this point. Now tonight’s question is if we increase the current draw to 300 amps (300amps x 14.2volts = 4260 watts), how many watts will be dissipated in the ESR of the cap and what percentage of the total 4260 watts does it represent? Of our total usable 960 joules, what percentage will be left for the stereo?
    I think that all around it comes down to this: does the music you regularly listen to have constant bass, or does it have bass with occasional points of rests that will allow the cap to refill? If you listen to music that can go entire songs without letting up on the bass, a cap is probably going to do more harm than good, because your subs will constantly be competing with the cap for the electricity. If, however, you listen to music that leaves enough room between bass hits for the cap to refill enough to power the next hit, it might be worth your time and money to invest in one (but only if you're still experiencing dimming, computer brownouts, and weird effects from the draw from those hits without the cap AFTER you upgrade everything else on the list).
    "Have we grown so hard we can't feel right or wrong, or have we grown so cold we just don't care?" - Dave Matney

    I don't currently have a CarPC, I just ask a lot of questions.

  9. #39
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    Let's put this in to simple terms.


    Think of electricity flow as water.

    A capacitor is a reservoir.


    If you have your tap on at a steady rate, the reservoir will probably not be used, turning on the tap higher and then the reservoir can help out with the flow.

    If the tap is left on at the higher level for a long time the reservoir will empty.


    Now if by default the reservoir fills when it's not full then it can take from the flow to the tap and do harm. If however it doesn't fill when the output is open it doesn't do any harm but obviously can't help.

    Now if the tap is only turned up full for short periods then it helps and doesn't hinder.


    So to sum up, as a couple above have said it depends on your choice of music whether it will help. Continuous bass listeners, it will do you no good whatsoever so get better components in the first place.

    Audiophiles with peaking occasional bass it will help, however get better components in the first place.

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by intrygue83 View Post
    ok here are some screens i like. I'm gonna take em apart anyway and make my own mold though. what you think:

    http://www.amazon.com/Lilliput-Touch.../dp/B000KDZHTG

    http://www.amazon.com/Lilliput-869gl.../ref=pd_cp_e_1

    http://www.short-circuit.com/product/VM80L.html
    The middle link is the exact screen i have. if you want any info from a fellow IT guy just click the link to my website in my signature and give me a call. ill be glad to help you out and give you any info i can. here is the link to what i put in my first build http://www.mp3car.com/newbie-propose...ml#post1408815

    As others on this thread have said, i agree and you should build your own system with a mini-ITX board that is intel Atom based, and get one that has at least a D510 (physically duel core, logically quad core). my system with a 60GB OCZ Vertex SSD boots in about 25 sec with about 8 USB devices plugged into it. I personally have a M3-ATX PSU. Its a DC/DC 125w PSU. as far as the audio i am running a 400w 4-channel amp for my 2 door and 2 rear speakers. i also have 2 10" MTX thunder series woofers with a 550w amp in my truck. all my sound is hooked up to a USB 7.1 sound card, and my setup hits harder and sounds clearer than my old 2-DIN in-dash touchscreen setup i had before. if you need wiring/electronics help let me know i repaired aircraft avionics for 9.5 years down to the circuit card level and know Ohms Law like my ABC's lol. the mouse i linked below is the best part for the truckputer i ever bought its the sweetest thing ever. here is a link to it sitting in the palm of my hand and some links to the KB and mouse i am using....http://www.mp3car.com/input-devices/...ml#post1434473

    And below is my "stock" look for my Radio Bezel Modification and some steps it went through before its final...
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    Last edited by houndazs; 02-23-2011 at 11:45 AM. Reason: Added Pics
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