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Thread: Planning my first Carpc - will appreciate any suggestions and help

  1. #21
    Maximum Bitrate rray's Avatar
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    I think that you can just tap in to the red and black wires of ANY USB cable connected to the device and supply 5V.

    Probably you can buy a cheaper powered USB hub and it might just charge while connected to the hub, depending on how the hub is built.

    Use the DC to DC converter to supply the 5V for the USB hub, and the V Aux signal for 12V to the amps remote and program it to turn on your amp with script.

  2. #22
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    Now to get that Dell to work as an external monitor for a carpc(so I can still run 64bit)

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rray View Post
    Use the DC to DC converter to supply the 5V for the USB hub, and the V Aux signal for 12V to the amps remote and program it to turn on your amp with script.
    rray - I think for dc-dc converter I could just use a USB car charger, something like http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...&pf_rd_i=typ01

  4. #24
    Constant Bitrate Project07MACry's Avatar
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    Let me go backwards here...

    Dunno why I’m doing this in bullet form (oh that’s right; I’m at work! *lol*), but here goes:

    • The amp power should come directly from the battery. The harness may not even be used at all, except for remote start. This will of course start the million dollar question of secondary battery vs capacitor; but if you get an entry level amplifier, you can drive power from the main battery. Like you, I’m that “better-safe-than-sorry” person whose girlfriend loves to take her daughter around in my car when I’m not using it. For that reason…
    • I use a secondary battery. And I use a relay that switches charging on and off when the car is on and off. It’s been a year; and it still is going strong. Winter for me is here; and having the ability to have my main battery dedicated to powering up is awesome. And in connecting the amp to that secondary battery, just because the car is off doesn’t mean your CarPC/music is too. This is a caveat I tend to embellish. A lot. Some advice on that: While an Optima battery is your best bet, they are not the only deal in town. Shop Stinger; shop Odyssey, shop XS Power; shop for any battery that will not leak acid no matter what position you put the battery in. And be sure that you get an excellent mounting mechanism for it too!
    • The Venue 8 Pro looks very promising. As far as power goes, any opportunity to not use a cig adapter is an opportunity well taken. The USB hub idea works, as long as you know that your hub will only serve as a charging station for all USB items. The danger of most tablets (this one included) is that they do not connect to any external peripherals. So whatever you were considering about rear-view camera/USB camera connections, car diagnostic connections, and things of the like… you can forget about it. And what about adding extra storage via the MicroSD slot? Get past powering on an internally mounted unit, and this should be the next question on your mind.
    • That alternator – truth be told; I am not sure how long an alternator is supposed to last. However, because I was “Mr. Trial-and-error,” I ended up replacing mine. I think I went from 80 amp to 100 amp or something like that. As long as your connections are correctly installed, your alternator is nothing you need to worry about. Especially if you go the tablet route.
    • @Camo.b is spot on about second battery info as well as the 7” install for a “novice.” My 10.1 screen (which is the combination of a pulled LED netbook display [used in some tablets!] and a controller board for VGA/HDMI connectivity) was decided upon after years of dealing with 7” screens. And even with fabrication, the person doing will have to redo the Camry’s HVAC controls for proper placement. And they do have 10.1” tablets (some less than $200 on eBay!), so know what screen size you really want before you dive in.
    The Toyotanation.com forums - This forum will be your best friend. Look through here first to see how fellow Camry owners did their car audio setups. You will notice a few things; namely the fact there was little-no drilling! For my MACry, the only thing I had to do was puncture a hole in a grommet that already existed, and feed the power wire for the amp, and later the secondary battery-relay connection, through the hole, underneath the carpeting of the car and the underneat the car's backseat which you will have to pull out. You’ll also find information on LED bulb swap outs, and other upfit ideas you can discuss with @rray.
    • Based on the tenor of this thread, the Metra kit is a necessity. Buy a couple of these early. Your fabricator will appreciate you.
    • I will go through my old pics and give you an idea of how my setup currently looks. Hopefully by then, you’ll know how you want your setup to look. Because it seems you want to go the regular infotainment route, with Office 365 and the internet at your fingertips. In this plan, the tablet is your best bet, and depending on the amplifier you get (4 channel for all six speakers, no subwoofer) you may not even need a secondary battery. But if you feel yourself getting bold with a bigger build, you may require a bigger setup.

    That is all… For now.
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog

  5. #25
    Constant Bitrate Project07MACry's Avatar
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    Memories!!!







    My brother just pulled these from my iPad; these were from when we had to pull the front fascia (HVAC controls, display, DC/USB compartment), the shift column, the seats, carpeting, and back seats out.
    Notice in all the pics, the passenger side of the car has red wires along the rail; the big one used to power on the 4 ch amplifier. Now, it connects the secondary battery in the back to the relay that activates/deactivates charging the secondary battery. The snake (a.k.a. the 15ft wires wrapped in braided sleeving) are the 2 USB, the HDMI, and power wires that I need to feed to the dashboard.
    Believe it or not, once you have gotten used to it, doing all this can take as little as half an hour. And best part... no hole drilling!

    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog

  6. #26
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    Sorry pkaush, but I spotted the following...
    Quote Originally Posted by pkaush View Post
    I found few thread reporting issues with the alternator on connecting the second battery and jump starts, all the fun stuffs.
    I was wondering, what thread(s), or what "issues"?

    There should be no issues unless (and here I go again with the same old list...) the batteries are permanently connected/paralleled; you have a "weak" or bad alternator (eg, Bosch and apparently some GM types with weak main rectifiers; or rewound (higher output) alternators); you have a faulty battery. There are other possibilities - and some depend on the type of isolator used - but keeping it simple for now....


    As to a second battery, IMO the main reason is simple - you want independence from the main/cranking battery.
    That may be in case the PC is on for too long without the engine charging (hence no cranking due to a flattery) or to avoid drop outs during engine cranking.
    There can also be long-run DC noise issues, but I wouldn't expect that to be an issue on your case - not with a 15W & 8W load. (Normally the power would be taken direct from the battery for the cleanest power.)

    A good converter could solve the dropout issue. IMO it should be placed close to the loads (PC & screen) so that any 5V voltage drop isn't significant. Not that good dc-dc converters should emanate noise, but noise can be from the output or circuitry as well as the input supply.

    Independence wise, assume your 23W load means 30W consumption total (relays, dc-dc converter etc). That's equivalent to a single HID beam, or HU at reasonable output (half volume or higher), or nearly half a traditional single low beam (55W). I'd expect a normal car battery to survive that for at least an hour or 2.
    However a second isolated battery means independence. And as a bonus - should your main battery fail or be flat, you may be able to crank or start with the aid of the 2nd battery.


    BTW - a 2nd battery should be a simple as the second appropriate battery; the interconnect cable; and the 2 fuses or (preferably self resetting) circuit-breakers at each end of that cable. That's the "standard" requirement for any dual (parallel) battery system - except if the batteries are colocated or physical security is employed (ie, no fuses or CBs).
    Add to that the isolator which can be as simple as a relay that is controlled by the (alternator's) charge or no-charge light - eg, maybe a typical 30A relay in your case.
    Otherwise voltage sensing isolators though they are more expensive (ie, the same relay but with added circuitry) and still consume power when not [i]in use[i] - eg, typically from 50uA to 10mA. And specialised voltage sensing isolators (aka smart or intelligent battery isolators) may be required for newer variable or EMS controlled charging systems.
    In the interests of keeping things reliable and avoiding battery undercharge and overcharge issues - and maybe isolator expense - I won't suggest diode/MOSFET type isolators.
    Last edited by OldSpark; 11-25-2013 at 10:24 PM.
    Project07MACry likes this.

  7. #27
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    Thanks Project07Macry! Well at this point I have not yet decided which way to go and just evaluating both the options. I already have a small fanless PC for car and will get my Venue 8 pro tomorrow. I am out entire Dec and will only start the project in Jan, so all I can do at this time is evaluate ;-)!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Project07MACry View Post
    • The amp power should come directly from the battery. The harness may not even be used at all, except for remote start. This will of course start the million dollar question of secondary battery vs capacitor; but if you get an entry level amplifier, you can drive power from the main battery.
    How much power does the harness provide? Just for my understanding - when the stock stereo was powered from the harness, how much extra power would we need for the new amp given the stereo is gone, which also had some internal amp. I understand that it depends more on the amp and even though I have not yet looked much for amps, but a quick look on amazon shows may be I would be interested in Pioneer GM-6500F 4-Channel Bridgeable Amplifier- suggestions invited?

    I agree with your point that we need to connect the amp directly to battery, I just do want to do that without knowing why? or how much short were we in harness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Project07MACry View Post
    • The Venue 8 Pro looks very promising. As far as power goes, any opportunity to not use a cig adapter is an opportunity well taken. The USB hub idea works, as long as you know that your hub will only serve as a charging station for all USB items. The danger of most tablets (this one included) is that they do not connect to any external peripherals. So whatever you were considering about rear-view camera/USB camera connections, car diagnostic connections, and things of the like… you can forget about it. And what about adding extra storage via the MicroSD slot? Get past powering on an internally mounted unit, and this should be the next question on your mind.
    I don't know how much max power I can get out of cig power adapter in camry. I have seen, car USB power converter which provide upto 5 amp current, which means 5V * 5 amp = 25 watt. Dell venue pro takes 10 watt (5V * 2 amp) and the rest 15 watt could be used for usb devices.

    Dell Venue pro works fine with the USB hub, which means I should be a able to get all the USB devices work with it. If we run low in power, we could just directly power the hub from the battery.

    Rear view camera would be another interesting problem to solve. I guess we could just have program to display output of a usb camera which we could install somewhere at the rear of the car.

    I appreciate the pics you have posted - they are helpful.

  8. #28
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    I will add that Optima batteries are not designed for use in a daily driven Vehicle. They were originally designed for use in off road vehicles. They DO lead acid under the proper conditions and they can damage your alternator if allowed to discharge too far. I had an issue in my car where they ate up battery connectors within a week. And I lost an alternator due to discharging an optima too far. A discharged optima battery is seen as a >400amp load on the alternator and will severely tax your alternator.

    I had 3 optimas replaced under warranty due to the acid leakage and these batteries were all under the hood in the factory location. I gave up and replaced them with US AMP batteries which were AGM style batteries. AGM batteries are generally cheaper and much better batteries for in car use. US AMP went out of business but you can still get AGM style batteries from other manufacturers.

    Just say no to Optima...

    That vehicle started out with a Diode Isolator but due to issues with the drop in voltage across this diode I switched it to a constant use solenoid rated for 150 amps. Only active while the car was running. I actually hooked it to the ignition lead so it was engaged whenever the ignition was on. I could jump my battery easily with a +12 volt wire to the solenoid engage connection. A constant solenoid connection is a cheaper solution and likely much more durable than most of the others. A properly engineered "smart" digital based isolator that actually works as advertised is going to be 10x or more expensive than the solenoid and will be less durable. A smart isolator wouldn't be needed unless you were charging batteries that aren't matched up well. Such as perhaps an optima battery and a large deep cell battery. (Not likely in a car or standard truck installation.)

    I will mention that in a 2 or more parallel battery system you will want to ensure the batteries are compatible to be charged together. The worst thing that will happen is they may not both charge fully since the system will work based on the most charged battery. If your system consistently doesn't charge one of the batteries fully it can drastically shorten its life. Someone else will likely state there is no concern about parallel batteries but lets be realistic. Can you charge a AA and AAA battery together or a C and D together in the same circuit? For similar reasons the charger will stop charging when it determines they are to proper voltage which will likely happen to the smaller one first thus never charging the larger one fully. Do your own research with the manufacturers of the batteries or just buy similar batteries and not worry about it. As I said, the worst case is one of the batteries will die sooner.

  9. #29
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    Sorry redheadedrod, but until you explain how an alternator works off the "most charged battery" (or how one battery being charged - ie, above 12.8V - can dump into or charge another battery), you won't win anyone over to that argument.
    And thence your well worn "matched batteries" when charging assertion - other than that they all be 12V lead acid.
    But just ask the plethora of people on mp3car that have paralleled different batteries for their PCs etc - eg, AGM; 7AH; etc. Only permanently paralleled batteries need be matched, and as someone recently replied to one of redeheadedrod's posts, that does not happen in our situations (eg, engine bay & cabin or trunk mounting; asymetric charge & discharge).


    And the charge-light controlled isolator is the same as the ignition controlled isolator except its coil (86) is connected to the charge light terminal (eg. D+ or L - see my replies re the "UIBI"). The IGN controlled isolator is fraught with issues, plus of course both batteries drain if you leave IGN on.


    Now let's see if red replies with an explanation, or merely recites his usual non-referenced lines.
    BTW - you can check the above with manufacturers, but most will agree with me. If not - let me know. The disagreements usually come from those that see an opportunity to sell an extra battery, or in some cases where certain batteries do have marked characteristics, but that is usually type dependent rather than capacity - except where current limiting is essential (but what isolators have you seen that have that?).
    Last edited by OldSpark; 11-26-2013 at 02:39 AM.

  10. #30
    Constant Bitrate Project07MACry's Avatar
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    Ahhh... The joy of the holidays!

    Oh, I feel the holiday love! That pie-loving, turkey-carving love of the holidays…
    I’m sorry; I couldn’t resist. Anyway…

    Amplifier wiring
    The primary reason there is a direct connection to the battery is because of current flow. Based on my understanding, the harness will provide the same power, just not enough current for a typical amplifier. That is, if you were to get a typical 4 channel amp from the likes of Lanzar, Rockford Fosgate, JL, Kenwood, Boss, Alpine or Sony, you’ll notice they always tell you to use 8 AWG or 4 AWG wiring to connect to the battery (as well as to fuse the connection, thanks @OldSpark). Thumb rule is: the shorter the number, the thicker the cable; the thicker the cable, the less resistance it has. The less resistance the cable has, the more load it can handle, and therefore, the more current can flow to your amplifier. And that current is necessary to keep those kinds of amps going, otherwise you risk frying the power supply, overheating the amp, frying the amp, or all of the above.
    Now bear in mind, that’s if you use those kinds of amps.
    If you use these kinds of amplifiers, only then do I see you using the harness to power it. I cannot vouch for its abilities, because I believe in subwoofers and the old-school amps that power them. But look at the reviews; check out other builds that have used similar types, and then make your decision.

    Rear View Cameras
    If you indeed go the route of the tablet, check out @Hexxamillion’s Altima build. He used an independent screen for his cameras similar to a rear-view mirror. This is an idea you can consider if you wish…

    Optimas, Stingers, and Odysseys. Oh My!
    I will not dispute/confirm the charging issues that @redheadedrod has discussed. I’m sure he went through that ordeal and came out the other side so others won’t go through similar plights. All I can say is that in my situation, I use two (2) optima yellow tops; a D35 for the main battery to start up the car, and a D51R for the audio setup. Both are 12V batteries; both charge fine with the Stinger relay isolator and all fuses in their proper places. Both just happen to require 13.6-15V from the alternator to properly charge. There have been no acid spills of any kind, and no alternator issues of any kind since this union took place.
    Before I forget, the harness you speak of is already routed to the main battery. If you use the harness to power whichever amp you choose, you sort of defeat the purpose of the secondary battery. @OldSpark said it best; should you want independence from the main battery, the secondary battery is the way to go.

    Until Next Time…
    All systems are a go...
    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

    The Worklog

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