Thanks for your questions. This is something we are beginning to draft as a knowledge base article on the mp3Car store. Until itís ready, however, I thought I would answer your questions here.
Question #1: Power Wiring -- my system came with an M2-ATX Car PC 160W DC-DC power supply. This was already installed in the case, and there's an eight pin connector on the back of the case. There's another connector in the box that connects to this with seven wires that wire to the car. The thing is there wasn't anything that describes which color wires to what. There's one thick red wire which I'm assuming is positive always powered from the battery. There's a big black wire which I'm assuming is ground. I expect one of the wires goes to a positive that comes on with the ignition. And I expect one goes for the boom control on an amplifier. I'm not entirely sure about the other three wires. Anyway, I don't want to assume which wire is which. I did see the circuit board diagram for the power supply, and I suppose I could open the case and trace the wires, but I'd rather not open the case yet and potentially void my warranty at least until I have the carputer wired up so that I know it works. Can someone let me know which wire is which or point me to a wiring diagram of the power connectors on this system? Also, which of these connections would fuses be recommended for and what size?
The larger red wire is the positive power input. The larger white wire is the turn on lead, which needs to be connected either to a positive power source when you're testing the unit or a switchable positive power source in your car. The larger black wire is the negative power wire. The two wires (small black and orange) above the negative power wire are for an external amplifier. They are optional. Still, they will allow the amplifier to turn on a few seconds after the computer to avoid the "thump" noise, which occurs when the amp turns on either before or at the same time as the carputer. The other wires (smaller green and black) located above the larger white and red wires aren't connected. At a later time, if you wish to hook up other accessories that require a lower voltage input, you can power them from your M2ATX inside the carputer.
Itís recommended to install a fuse on the positive power lead as close to the battery as possible.
Question #2: Optical Drive -- I also purchased the Panasonic Slot Load CW-8124 DVD-Rom / CD-RW Combo Drive and enclosure. I didn't find a manual for it on the extended information page for it in the MP3car store. It did come with a very basic manual that didn't say much, except that if I have problems with its performance I should consider applying external power to it. The drive has one USB data connector and one USB power adapter that plugs into the power port. Does anyone know if the drive can be powered directly from the USB port (like most external hard drives and baring performance issues) or do I still need to run power to the power adapter port regardless. If so is it better to run it to a USB port on the carputer or would I be better off powering from the car itself? If from the car itself, what is the best way to do this.
This drive and enclosure combination can most definitely be powered by the USB connections only. This is one of the reasons why this combinations makes perfect sense in a car where power is relatively difficult to access. This is the best way to power the unit.
Question #3: Installing XP from the optical drive -- I may discover this on my own when I get to this point, but I'll ask anyway. Would I just need to make sure the bios boots from USB and make sure the CD drive is connected, powered, and with the XP CD in the drive? I can install XP, but I'm used to the idea of the idea of the CD drive being already connected inside the case. Installing from a USB connected drive is new to me.
Youíre exactly correct on this one. All you need to do is make sure the bios is set to boot from the USB drive. The carputer should recognize the Windows XP CD as a bootable disk.
Question #4: I'm probably goind to spend alot more time in the forums looking for info on optimizing the system and so forth, but any hints regarding Windows XP optimization and hibernation settings that are a must or at least that are strongly recommended would be appreciated.
Can someone else help chime in on this one? Iím sure others have more experience with these specific settings more than myself.
At the moment I'm going to use a standard LCD monitor, keyboard, and mouse to get the system up and running, but within the next month or so I'm going to go ahead and order the Lilliput 629 LCD Touchscreen.
Let us know when you need the monitor, weíll be happy to ship the same business day .
I'll probably also add additional USB ports. I'm planning to get the Radio Shark AM/FM tuner and a Wifi USB connector from Radio Shack once I get the basic system running.
Our P5USB is a great way to add fully powered external USB ports. You can check it out here.
One by one I'll get the Centrafuse front end, GPS receiver, Bluetooth, OBE-II, and so on. I'm also likely to add a deep cycle battery at some point, and I'm sure I'll want to install an amplifier once I'm ready to replace my factory radio with the Lilliput. Really, I'll just take things one step at a time as time and budget permits. Oh, and I'm installing in a 2005 Mustang.
If you havenít already, we have a great couple of blog posts on choosing the right battery for your application.
Hope this helps and please feel free to contact us at the store with any further questions.