I am always interested in building new thins, especially being a CSI major and having worked in the field of software development for 5 years.
Having said that, I would have abosuletly no problem building a small PC, the only problems I have are understanding how to actually wire and supply the power to the PSU from the car or at least in the house. The forums I have seen that do try to explain this, are a little over my head with a lot of electrical technical talk.
For everyones sake I dont expect a detailed explanation, just a pointer on where I can get started to look at specifically this problem. I've looked at the getting started thread, but nowhere did I find how to actually connect the car battery to the PSU (m2-atx) for instance.
So my question is this, if i have a M2-ATX power supply unit, how do i connect it to the battery or how do i supply power to it at home? (same with LCD monitor)
any tips are greatly appreciated,
FAQ to the FAQs
Welcome to our madness....
You're going to tap into the HDD connector of a spare ATX PSU.
Yellow is +12v and black is ground. (red is +5v and not needed for this)
The attached diagram should help you out with powering the unit in the house. To get power tot he M2-ATX, you'll need to jumper pins 13 & 14 of the ATX power connector that plugs into the motherboard. The switch will simulate turning ignition on/off.
Collecting more data
I've gathered some more information. Trying to understand more about car electronics..
So heres how I understand it, please correct me if i am wrong..
1. Connect 4 gauge (I suppose) wire to the car battery (+12V)
2. Connect this wire to a fuse and then to a regulator (can someone explain the difference?? or is a fuse OR a regulator)
3. Connect the wire from the regulator to a power distributer and then
4. Connect from distributer to M2-ATX or Opus or Inverter
5. Connect from distributer to LCD screen.
Now where do I have to ground ? At step 3 from the distributer?
1. Don't suppose. You need to calculate the correct wire gage for your setup. I'll be using 4awg fromt eh battery to power the PC, an inverter and an amplifier. I'll have 10awg going from the distibution block (not a distributor, since that's what sends fires the spark plugs int he engine) to each component.
2. No, you don't need a regulator. A fuse, you do want, and you want it as close to the battery as possible. A fuse will melt if it receives more current than it can pass in order to protect the wire from overheating and the electronic components behind it in case of a short circuit. A regulator takes a variable power level (like that from your car battery) and cleans it up to provide a stable, constant voltage that won't damage electronic equipment.
3. No regulator. A fuse as close to the battery as possible (about 12-18").
4. Correct, except its a distribution block.
5. That depends ont eh screen. Some screens (Xenarc, for one) will operate fine in unregulated power because they have a built-in regulator. Other screens need regulated power, so you need to get power from the M2ATX or Opus or whatever PSU you use. The PSU regulates the power for the PC, so it's a stable, constant 12v coming from the PSU, which is perfect for an LCD screen that requires 12v.
I suggest getting a second distribution block for ground. All the grounds froom the components go into the distribution block, and a single, larger wire (same gage as the power cable) goes to a bare metal (no paint!) connection on the chassis somewhere.
Thank you very much for your reply.
Thank you for correcting me on the names of power distributer and a distribution block.
I said suppose because I am not going to build anything for another 3 or 4 months or so for now I am just trying to figure out the whole concept of this (oddly enough i can build NAND gates and MicroProcessors out of wires, but find this a tad bit confusing)..but yes I DO understand that I will have to use the chart somewhere to figure out the exact gauge I will need.
Now I understand what a fuse does and I understand what a regulator does, I am guessing that I dont need a regulator because the PSU will do the job of cleaning up and keeping the voltage steady?
As far as the screen is concerned, I dont want to hack my car since I'm in no way a fabricator and dont wanna mess anything up, I also dont want the screen to be easily seen from the outside when my car is parked..I am thinking of getting an in dash touch screen and Iwill connect it according to its specs probably to the PSU (which will provide a level voltage)
Now I have a question for you DarquePervert(funny name btw)...you said you will have 4awg from the battery to the distribution block and then 10awg from the distribution block to the PSU .. why do you have to change the gagues?
Dont flame me if that question sounds stupid, i still have more reading to do..
Don't sweat it man.
I planned and calculated and learned and read and planned some more for over a year before I actually puirchased anything toward my project. It was almost two years before I actually had anything installed. I'm still nowhere near complete, but I've got functionality in the truck at this point.
Yes, the PSU regulates the voltages, so you have no need for a seperate regulator... UNLESS you have the need to power more devices than your PSU can handle, and then a regulator to supply the appropriate voltage (Usually +5v or +12v) is required. There are point-of-load power supplies available for a reasonable price in the store that are ideal for just a USB hub and a USB DVD drive, for example. Again, this is only if you need additional power over and above the DC-DC Power Supply.
4awg can proved all the current I need for all my devices, and it's some thick-assed wire. 2awg and 0awg are even thicker.
I don't need wire that thick going to the PC or the inverter or the amp (when I get one), since they won't draw that much current individually, so I use wire that is suitable for the component's current draw.
Yes, I am planning on doing the same thing, will start purchasing after a year or so..for now will be following these threads. However I can purchase all the PC components and have it working no problem, it is hooking it up to the car that I am mostly baffled with..hehe, need to do more research on this, unfortunately not a lot of people show the actual wiring but show only the fabrication of the console panels or of their PC's (which is interesting, but I understand that part completely)..I wanna see some dirty nasty wiring so I can see the flow of logic (even though I am getting it just need more to reassure and gain confidnece)
Will keep you updated on my findings and questions.
Sup and welcome to the forums.
Question to DP
Hey DP quick question about your 4awg to Dblock to 10awg cable thing..
Do you use a fuse from the DBlock to protect the 10awg cable? I think it is important to use a fuse when switching the gauge of the original cable (4awg) to a smaller cable (10awg)..am I right??
First of all, let me say that I don't have this all installed in my truck as of yet.
The computer is installed with a desktop 15" monitor and a half-assed wiring job that allows me to work with it to tweak, configure, see what works, and so on.
The distribution block I have has fuses for each output from it, so each line will be fused, yes. Here's a link to the distro block I have: http://www.streetwires.com/products/...oFuseBlock.cfm
Mine is the CBR44M with the maxi fuses. It is also a distribution block for ground lines, as well.