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Thread: To those of you with your computer in your trunk

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    To those of you with your computer in your trunk

    How do you get your USB to the front? I used a USB extension cable that runs to a hub in my glovebox, I ran all of my cables beside each other - power, audio, video, USB... I talked to a guy who installs car stereos professionally, he said power+audio isn't that big of a deal, so I figured this would be okay. The video does not have much interference, even when the car is running (but that little bit is because of the cheap VGA cable I used), the audio has really no distortion at all... but all of my USB devices are SLOW AS SIN. I have three suspicions - the first is attenuation - I've gone out of the range USB cables can handle - I will need to build a USB repeater; interference - much of the data is lost and needs to be resent, causing the slow speeds; and faulty USB device - one of my devices may be faulty, causing other devices to have problems.

    What do you guys think? What should I do? Tonight I am going to try removing some devices that I suspect might be the faulty ones and see how it goes. Also plan to test said devices on a laptop short range. I will update then.

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate krnpimpsta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    DC Metro area
    I run an extension cable to my hub. 13ft or so I believe. No issues.

  3. #3
    Confusion Master
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    Enforcer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    If you go down to the woods today, You're sure of
    check the hub is USB2.0 and not USB1.0

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate brucedog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    My son ordered a 2 fer $10 USB 4-hub thingy, and it was horribly slow, too, so I would guess that yr hub is the trouble.

    I ordered my 4-hub from mp3car store; may have been a bit overpriced, but all devices glide right along...and my cabling in station wagon is about 12'.

    Best of blessings and luck.
    Happy CarPC'ing!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    I have a powered USB 2.0 Hub.

    I do have power attached to it.

    I do not believe the hub is the issue, however because I do not believe this I had not planned on testing it. I will try testing it when I run my other tests. Thanks!

    Any other ideas?

    The max length for USB is 15 feet (5M). I should check if I went over that slightly with the extension cable + hub cable.
    EDIT: Nope, I used a 10 foot extension cable and I know that the other cable isn't close to 5 feet.

  6. #6
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    Corning, NY
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    Do the USB cables run near power wires? It could be cheap cables, but I've never heard of slow USB devices. Are you sure it isn't your computer?

    Is there a way to test your setup out of the car with the same cables and hub to see if it remains slow?
    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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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    USB over CAT5

    I know this will sound odd but if you're having problems going distance with USB try running the USB over CAT5.

    You can run almost anything off of CAT5. People have ran VGA, low power audio, s-video, among other stuff.

    I have not tried it myself but as I develop my Car PC I plan to use it as much as possible since it is so cheap. You just need to make sure you use the proper pairs of wires to limit the EMI.

    You can directly wire it on to the CAT5 or you can buy adapters that will convert it for you and get very good distances but cost an arm and a leg.

    Here is a site that has information about wiring USB and S-Video over CAT5:

    Here is a site that has information about wiring VGA over CAT5:

    If you do try this though, let me know how it worked out.

    Hope this helps.

  8. #8
    ptk is offline
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    most likely you hub. not all hubs are build equar. I will stick to reputable hub. I had the same issue, running a 5m USB extension cable. I had initially used small cheap supposedly USB2 hub and had major problem esp. with USB DVDROm drive. eventually i ditched it for belkin hubs and things improved.
    CarPC Ver 4 completed. Aopen i45GMT-HD, C2D mobile 2GHz. Photofast 64GB SSD. Novatel EU-850D

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    @bugbyte- I can't try the computer out of the car with the same cables, but it's a brand new PC that worked fine on the bench with other devices. If needed I can easily remove it from my trunk... it's velcro'd in.
    As stated in my original post, all cables run together. I did use 8awg wire though, so it should have less noise than thinner wire would.

    @ptk- Hmmm... D-Link hubs are generally pretty good... I will keep this in mind though.

    Found this in the reviews.
    "This isn't actually a fully powered USB hub. The USB spec specifies 500mA per device from powered hub. 500mA*7=3.5A. This thing comes with a 3A power brick. Since the hub uses some power, and power systems generally are about 70 percent efficient, that means you're probably getting 300mA per port. It'll power some things, but hook up 7 high power devices, and this thing won't work. Why do companies bother making products that don't work to spec?"

    Hmmm, could be the issue. I do have all 7 ports in use, I am using a DVD drive as well. I will try and see how it works with less devices plugged in. Thankfully I have some unnecessary stuff plugged in that can go directly to the computer (like my bluetooth and wireless) and really only the screen touchpad and DVD drive need to be plugged in. Next post will include results of testing.

  10. #10
    Newbie andrewanderson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I agee, relocate the wire before you go out and purchase a new hub.

    If that doesn't work purchasing a new hub is the next logical step.

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