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Thread: My first build plans, criticism welcomed

  1. #1
    Newbie an0maly's Avatar
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    My first build plans, criticism welcomed

    First of all I'd like to give you all a tremendous thanks for this forum, there's definitely not enough people out there with interests like ours so I'm glad to be a part of the community. I've been in the hobby of building computers for about 5 years but really hadn't thought of implementing that knowledge into a build for my car. Until that is, I came across mp3car. And it could not have happened at a better time too because in about a month I'm going to be buying a 99-04 Mustang GT. So I have spent the last week or so compiling a list of the components I'll need to build myself a rig.

    So what I'd like to do is run my plan by you guys so I can get some feedback and constructive criticism on what you think. I'll begin by saying that I have a nearly complete understanding of PC builds in the home environment. I also have a good understanding of typical car audio. What I lack, is a solid understanding of electrical circuits and such. The concept of wiring the PC into the car's circuit is what I've had to do the most research on. Also I plan to keep this build at a relatively low budget, I'll save the expensive builds for when my knowledge in this hobby is much stronger. So just keep those things in mind while you are looking through my ideas.

    So first off, my hardware list:
    MOBO: JetWay J7F4K1G2ES-LF $120.00 Onboard audio & video, 2GHz cpu inlcuded
    RAM: G.SKILL Extreme 1GB DDR2-533 $24.00
    PSU: M4-ATX 250W Intelligent DC-DC $88.00 Let me know if 250W is overkill, but keep in mind I have no idea how much I'll be adding to this build over time
    MONITOR: VM80L 8in LCD Touchscreen $175.00 If it fits, otherwise I'll drop down to the 7" model. Anybody know much about this brand?
    CASE: VoomPC-2 $63.00 Will be going in trunk
    AUDIO: Unsure at this point as I don't know if the Mustang I'll be buying will have the Mach audio system. If I remember correctly, Mach was an option, not stock on all models. So the audio setup on the PC's end is going to depend on this
    EXTRAs: Will be running USB to the front of the car to a hub that I'll add seamlessly into the dash somewhere for flashdrives, keyboard, and game controller (the onboard graphics on the mobo aren't at all impressive but I know it will run my NES/SEGA/SNES emulators.) I'll also be wiring a reset switch from the mobo directly to the front of the car for those BSOD situations. And finally, I will eventually add GPS, Wireless and Webcam rearview in the trunk, all via USB.
    OS & FRONTEND: I will be using a very gutted XP with the Centrafuse frontend.

    Now, I'll explain how I believe I should wire it. Please feel free to correct any mistakes or misunderstandings:
    I think that I should use thick gauged wiring for the PSU to battery connection, with a fuse in between them. I'll also wire the PSU into the ACC or IGN wire (I believe I understand the function of the ACC vs IGN, but should I avoid either for any reason?) Finally, I'll wire the monitor to the 12v & ground on a molex connector coming off the PSU (That's the correct way right? Should I add a fuse between them?) And again, I'm going to avoid touching on the audio aspect of things until I know what I will have to work with. But basically I believe that should be it or am I missing anything?

    Thanks in advance for any feedback, and it's nice to meet you all.

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate Wayne613's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by an0maly View Post
    I think that I should use thick gauged wiring for the PSU to battery connection, with a fuse in between them. I'll also wire the PSU into the ACC or IGN wire (I believe I understand the function of the ACC vs IGN, but should I avoid either for any reason?) Finally, I'll wire the monitor to the 12v & ground on a molex connector coming off the PSU (That's the correct way right? Should I add a fuse between them?) And again, I'm going to avoid touching on the audio aspect of things until I know what I will have to work with. But basically I believe that should be it or am I missing anything?

    Sounds fairly solid. Really, the little crap your going to run into can't all be accounted for. I know you'll probably need a few trips to radio shack in the midst of doing things, as you might have forgotten about a quick-disconnect here, ran out of 16 gauge heat-shrink tubing there, etc...

    Only thing right off is your going to need to splice in parallel the PSU switch that goes to the MB, and to the momentary switch (power button) if I understand correctly this aspect. Which is smart of course, as you don't wish to be stuck solely at the mercy of the M4.

    Opinions:
    In my experience...It's good to have both + and - fused if you're willing to put the extra effort into it. Frankly, 99% of the time, car fires are caused by some short, usually due to some after-market work done with crimp-kits and electrical tape. If you have the ground fused as well this will prevent this and damage to devices if you put the in-line fuses close enough to the source.

    And of course use soldered connectors, connections, heat-shrink tubing, etc..

    Doing this causes extra time, cost, and the like, but will save headache, heartache, and you can buy marshmellows in preparation for roasting over the other guy's car with the "professional" install going sour in a few years.

    Every time I pay someone else to do stereo grunt work and the like I just end up having to do it over anyhow as they can't even zip-tie the damn crappy electrical-taped ends. knobs. /rant

    Best of luck!
    2008 Ford Mustang GT/CS CARPC(99%)
    Software: Ride/Road-Runner, Digital FX skin 5.x, iGuidance 2011, GPSgate on Win7 64bit

  3. #3
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne613 View Post
    Sounds fairly solid. Really, the little crap your going to run into can't all be accounted for. I know you'll probably need a few trips to radio shack in the midst of doing things, as you might have forgotten about a quick-disconnect here, ran out of 16 gauge heat-shrink tubing there, etc...

    Only thing right off is your going to need to splice in parallel the PSU switch that goes to the MB, and to the momentary switch (power button) if I understand correctly this aspect. Which is smart of course, as you don't wish to be stuck solely at the mercy of the M4.

    Opinions:
    In my experience...It's good to have both + and - fused if you're willing to put the extra effort into it. Frankly, 99% of the time, car fires are caused by some short, usually due to some after-market work done with crimp-kits and electrical tape. If you have the ground fused as well this will prevent this and damage to devices if you put the in-line fuses close enough to the source.

    And of course use soldered connectors, connections, heat-shrink tubing, etc..

    Doing this causes extra time, cost, and the like, but will save headache, heartache, and you can buy marshmellows in preparation for roasting over the other guy's car with the "professional" install going sour in a few years.

    Every time I pay someone else to do stereo grunt work and the like I just end up having to do it over anyhow as they can't even zip-tie the damn crappy electrical-taped ends. knobs. /rant

    Best of luck!
    some solid advice,, and i agree that the term 'professionally installed' seems to be used loosely these days. though i disagree with fusing the negative lead. if using a properly sized fuse, all that should be needed is a fuse on the power lead. after all, if anything were to happen to either lead(getting cut/pinched/severed/shorted), the positive power lead is what all the power is coming from. cut the main power, and the device can't do any more damage. i would really hate to have something happen to the negative lead that would cause a blown fuse, but then still have a live circuit on the positive leads input.

    some people think that i am crazy, but i prefer to run a thicker power wire than what is needed(my dsatx power supply is using 8 ga cabling), and then fuse it lower for the device that is using it. i do this mainly so that if i ever need to upgrade, or add a device to the power line, i won't have to re-run any wire, i will only need to change a fuse.

    try surfing the for sale section, you might get lucky on a couple of items that can make your build a little better on the cheap.

    i am not a huge fan of jetway boards, i haven't used them, i just get the impression that they are a little under powered, and most start looking for faster alternatives later.

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate Ramb0_Command0's Avatar
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    The specs look good, I'm not familiar with that model of monitor, but I'd look around the reviews subforum to see if theres any info on it there. But in general I tend to believe you get what you pay for in most cases with electronics. I'm not saying its bad, but there is probably a reason its only $175

    The PSU looks good, 250W is probably overkill but its always best to go too big in case you want to add something later

    As for the wiring, I ran a 4 gauge into the car, split it to three 8 gauge wires, 2 amps and a comp. Like the PSU, too big is a good thing, as long as its fused correctly. I second not fusing the ground, there is absolutely no need for it, you simply run the same size ground wire as the power wire, if a wire is going to overheat/catch on fire, its gonna be the one with the larger amount of power running through it (hint: its the +), or when a + grounds to a - (usually touches the frame or something). Fusing a ground could cause it to ground through other devices that are connected to it if the fuse blows, not so good for the other components.
    Car PC Project Status
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    Computer.[====================] 100%
    Car.........[====================] 30%
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  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate Wayne613's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    some solid advice,, and i agree that the term 'professionally installed' seems to be used loosely these days. though i disagree with fusing the negative lead. if using a properly sized fuse, all that should be needed is a fuse on the power lead. after all, if anything were to happen to either lead(getting cut/pinched/severed/shorted), the positive power lead is what all the power is coming from. cut the main power, and the device can't do any more damage. i would really hate to have something happen to the negative lead that would cause a blown fuse, but then still have a live circuit on the positive leads input.
    Have to agree to disagree on that one. I've seen far too many paperweights made from mistakenly touched leads, and more than 1 or 2 car fires in my years. Granted, most of those were from faulty factory wiring, as insulation does not last forever. That said, I know of 2 off-hand that were simply due to a reverse polarity issue, contacting an aftermarket ground lead. Fuse on it just before it's contact point would have saved a couple of rather expensive ad-hoc barbecues.

    Fusing a ground could cause it to ground through other devices that are connected to it if the fuse blows, not so good for the other components.
    Should the fuse blow, it won't cause damage should a ground loop occur, and it will be noticeable right away. Like I said, convenience...
    2008 Ford Mustang GT/CS CARPC(99%)
    Software: Ride/Road-Runner, Digital FX skin 5.x, iGuidance 2011, GPSgate on Win7 64bit

  6. #6
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    ok, agree to dissagree-- as long as it is fused, with you own most preferable way, it is still better than the alternative- a unfused, roadside barbeque

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