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Thread: CarPC Power Options

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006

    CarPC Power Options

    I am a newb to CarPC's but work as a Sys admin and am quite familiar with
    computers. The setup I have in mind requires a large amount of power. I did a
    search and found some information but most of it was old (2004 and older)
    and most didn't seem to have great success.

    If you don't want/need the background info you can skip down to the bottom
    where it says - Finally -- The question.

    The Car:
    2003 Mercedes C230 Kompressor Coupe

    The proposed computer:
    Via SP13000
    512 mb memory
    Seagate Momentus 5400 120GB low power
    Maybe Flash for OS (lower power?)
    Removable USB drive for DVD/MP3

    Surveillance Cameras

    The problems:

    Power and Drive Space.

    Most of you will probably think this is dumb, but that's okay
    I need to have a minimum of two if not four cameras in the vehicle.
    I have a certified stalker and as cool as it sounds... it's not. So I need
    a way to monitor my surroundings in the vehicle at all times. My original
    idea was 24 hour monitoring to the CarPC, this I now figure is almost
    impossible without a marine battery or leaving the car on. I now have
    the following plan.

    Home DVR to monitor driveway all day. (Covers while I'm there).
    While I'm at work isn't a big deal.
    While I'm in the car the alternator will keep the battery charged.

    The problem I run into is if I want to leave my house and go to dinner,
    a movie, golfing, or anything else. I want my computer during that time
    to be able to monitor what is going on around it. These time frames
    should be mostly around a couple of hours, but could be as long as
    five or six hours.

    Finally -- The question
    Can I limit the amount of power the CarPC is using?

    I.e. Can I use a 100 watts DC-DC PS or similar and using Laptop
    Battery software change the profile to use less processor, disable
    all usb devices (the camera's will be PCI) and only power the processor,
    ram, hard drive, and PCI card for when the car is off? This would
    disable wifi, gps, bluetooth, usb hard drive and other peripherals.

    I figure this would lower the power requirements substanially and allow for
    some recording time before the battery was drained.

    Any suggestions/ideas?


  2. #2
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    with ref to the stalker - bwhahaha - sorry! I had an old man who usd to stalk me at the pool when i was younger - scary!

    what about trying one of these IP cameras with mtoion detection. They can simply store the pics on a NAS drive in the car so power useage would be minimal.

    alternatively, go with a low power SBC and get one of these PC104 video capture boards. you can pick up a P3 1ghz which will spank on an epia 1ghz and should be faster than a 1.3. you will lose stuff like USB2 etc etc but you can add these with another pc104 card.

    actually...looking back at your DVR driveway issue...IP cams would be good as they can send direct to your home network when in range or to a web server for uploading to a site and send you an email. But i would judt have cameras at your house all the time. that way your house is monitored when your car is not there.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Those are some really good ideas. I looked into the options for the SBC and unfortunately from what I found it looks like the costs are going to be too much.

    I'm thinking that using power profiles that I can disable the power to the USB devices and reserve a significant amount of power.

    The following items will be powered via usb.

    External Hard drive (if I have one)
    Sound Card (Live! External 5.1)

    If I can shut all of those off when the car is off I think I can make it work.

    Does anyone know if you can regulate the amount of power that a PSU
    pulls? I'd like to have a powerful PSU but want to limit its draw when the
    car is off.

  4. #4
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    well the psu will only draw what it needs to run. you could do some tests to monitor it. if you dont trust this then have a second smaller psu that takes over.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    No I believe you, I just wasn't sure how it worked. If the PSU only draws the power required then I should be okay.

    Anyone know of a way to disable all usb devices at once. It'd be nice if I could just run a batch file or something that would disable all usb devices.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by Scouse Monkey
    what about trying one of these IP cameras with mtoion detection. They can simply store the pics on a NAS drive in the car so power useage would be minimal.
    I've tried searching for cameras like these that store direct onto a NAS drive, havnt come across any???

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