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Thread: How bad exactly is an inverter?

  1. #1
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    How bad exactly is an inverter?

    Here's the deal, I'm planning out a carPC for a 90-93 accord that i plan to buy pretty soon. Anyway I made this other thread with a ****load of questions: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/newbie/28004-review-my-plans.html#post218579, but I have a real quick question, and I didn't want to add to my already long post. Now, I have a spare computer, here are the specs:

    Shuttle Slot-A mobo
    Athlon 850MHz (the older slot kind)
    384MB PC133 SDRAM
    16MB Nvidia video card (this would be replaced)
    Sound blaster Live! 5.1 PCI with digital SPDIF coax output
    30GB WD 7200RPM HDD
    250W Antec PSU (120V)

    Now, as you can see, this is a fine computer for MP3s, DVDs, navigation, etc. It used to be my main computer and I used it for those things (except navigation of course). If I threw in a new video card, it would be an excellent carputer, except for the power supply thing. This computer would tuck away nicely in the trunk, so no problem there. But power is a problem. I here tons of horror stories about invertors, that they are loud, ineffiecient, unreliable, etc, etc. But you have no clue how much $$$, time, research, and fabrication this would save me if I could use this computer and an invertor, vs building an ITX-based setup. I really don't wanna half-*** this tho, I want the end result to be decent. So I figured this:

    Here are the bad things about invertors (that ive read anyway), and my excuse/solution to each one:
    Loud - I'll run a power wire from the battery to the trunk (with a fuse, and a relay so its only on when the ignitions on, to reduce battery drain) and hardwire it back there, so you can't hear it from inside the car.
    Inefficent - I don't plan to use my carputer when the car is off, so if the alternator is keeping up with charging the battery, what's the problem? I'll replace the battery with an Optima yellow-top anyway (I've heard the old accord batteries are flakey so I put a new one in the budget), so I don't think this is a problem
    Unreliable - This could be a problem, but how true is it? I'll spend anything under $100 for a decent one (or is this not enough for a decent one), there has to be at least one brand thats reliable (I hope)!

    So how bad could it be I figure. It would save me so much time and money, maybe invest in a nice Xenarc instead of the Liliiput, and I think the end result is a much nicer, faster, computer. So let me know what you guys think!

  2. #2
    Raw Wave Defiler's Avatar
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    You've got the right idea. Inverters are not bad. Some people just prefer a DC/DC PSUs. I've used an inverter for over 5 years and through 4 Carputers and never had an issue with reboot on start or anything else of the like.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick response! Well after a little more research, I've made my decision to go the inverter route. Why should I build another computer when I have a perfectly fine one sitting in my basement collecting dust ? Man Im excited, now all I need is the damn car! Thanks again for your response, I have read some other people's opinions and it sounds the same as yours. Its funny tho - it seems like the people who use inverters love them, but the people that use DC-DC PSUs bash them and say their bad? Oh well!

  4. #4
    666
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    cant you buy a dc/dcpower supply and just take out the old one from the shuttle? uhh make sure you have enough watts though :-P

  5. #5
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    Yea I guess, im gonna look into that tomorrow (its late lol). Oh BTW, this computer isn't one of those small shuttle mini-atx things, its a regular midtower ATX computer (with one of those black window-ed cases), it just has a shuttle mobo in it. Custom built I might add . I couldn't find any 250 (or even 200W) DC-DC PSUs, and if a 150W is $200, then I couldn't imagine how much a 200 or 250W would be. And I can't build any custom or DIY ones, I don't feel that comfortable with small electronics and circuit boards

  6. #6
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    i support the power inverter now being bad claim. Ive had the same one (140w) for 5 years, through 3 carputers and no problems. Im sure the DC-DC supplies are good, and they better be for what people pay for them.
    2004 F-150
    Shuttle XPC, 80gig HD, Wireless Internet, DVD
    "How piMP3d is your ride??"

  7. #7
    Variable Bitrate Bodgy's Avatar
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    yep. no probs with my inverter either. does drain the battery fast if you run it without the engine running though. dont get any electrical interference or anything.

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate Pokey's Avatar
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    Go with a DC/DC converter, you have a nice setup to start with, don't go cheap now.

    Just my opinion tho/
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  9. #9
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    in my dodge shadow i left the carputer and inverter running for 4 hours, it started when i came back out. i dont see how it can drain the battery "quickly".
    2004 F-150
    Shuttle XPC, 80gig HD, Wireless Internet, DVD
    "How piMP3d is your ride??"

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate fantomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pokey
    Go with a DC/DC converter, you have a nice setup to start with, don't go cheap now.

    Just my opinion tho/
    i agree. you said you didn't want to half-*** this. as far aas im concerned, that major problems with the inverter is that it is going to take up more space and is really inefficient. and on top of that its not even a pure sine wave...i guess if you don't care about any of that, then go for it.
    rebuilding carpc... kinda..

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