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Thread: Everything You need to know about your M4 ATX

  1. #161
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blk02si View Post
    The M4 manual states if you are going to be running at of near full load forced air cooling is recommended. I would say more than 75% load or about 185w, You're going to want to put a fan over the top of it.
    I'm planning to put the M4 in a small external case I'm going to build out of plexi. I was wondering if I'd need to have a fan on it, I don't have room to use the larger metal enclosure that is available.

    I'm only going to be pulling about 50watts off the M4, and it's going to be in the cabin. I was thinking about this fan over top, with a filter on it. I don't think I'll need much of a fan, just something to move the air around so it isn't just sitting hot on top the M4.

    Also I haven't been able to find the nylon standoffs locally, but I think I got it covered, I put little cardboard washers on between the standoff and M4, and between the screw and M4.

  2. #162
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    I would like to say thanks to those that have posted in this thread and others with their problems and fixes to things. It seems that most if not all my questions I would have had, have been answer so this is why this is my first post since joining.

    I bought my M4-ATX back in Feb. and just got around to installing it and the rest of the computer last weekend. It booted up first time no problem in the car and has been running nice ever sense.

    Thanks for all the helpful past posts.

  3. #163
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    Well, I would definitely say that the heat thing is a big design flaw. I've been rolling with it for 2 weeks now. Morning, Evening and Night... no problems. Afternoons when it gets up to the 80's(F), it will go down after about 20 minutes. I did let it sit one afternoon just idle but as soon as I initiated some disk activity: *poof*.

    There is a fan blowing down onto the board provided by the M4-ATX enclosure's fan. But how much more airflow does it need? It's not like I can put a datacenter grade cooling system into my trunk!

  4. #164
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfalcon View Post
    Well, I would definitely say that the heat thing is a big design flaw. I've been rolling with it for 2 weeks now. Morning, Evening and Night... no problems. Afternoons when it gets up to the 80's(F), it will go down after about 20 minutes. I did let it sit one afternoon just idle but as soon as I initiated some disk activity: *poof*.

    There is a fan blowing down onto the board provided by the M4-ATX enclosure's fan. But how much more airflow does it need? It's not like I can put a datacenter grade cooling system into my trunk!
    Are you sure it's the M4, and not the PC, especially since it is in the trunk? Trunk tends to get quite a bit hotter than the cabin of your vehicle. How do you know for sure it is the M4 and not the PC? Have you checked the temp on the processor? What kind of cooling do you have in the PC?

  5. #165
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    The PC has had a past life in a datacenter and I've had 0 problems with it in that environment. It's Athlon XP processor is cooled by a Swiftech MC462 passive heatsink. Temps during that time of day on the CPU is 150F with case temps at 105F. I just got the longer USB cable for the power supply so I can see what's going on inside there.

    The problem I have with the M4 is that once the thermal alarm is triggered, the system will not power on. In fact, all power is cut to the main board as the mains leds on the mainboard are also extinguished while in this state. I have reprogrammed the limits on the M4 to over 200 degrees and yet it still triggers.

    So now I'm at a loss with the setup. I'm planning on putting the original AC power supply and running it on the inverter for a few days this week when it's predicted to be above 80F to make sure it's not as you suggest - a main board issue and to regain some stability for a while. But having experience with the system and it's configuration, I'm pretty certain that it's the M4.

  6. #166
    High Voltage blk02si's Avatar
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    A fan blowing downward on the M4 will do little if the case you are using has no exhaust fan to rid the system of ambient heat created by the passive CPU heatsink. I would try adding some more fans to the setup, the cooler the system is, the better it will run.

    Think about it like this: The more heat the system creates, the less efficient it becomes, which causes max output on the m4 to decrease, which causes more heat because it's flowing more current to keep up with the load, which causes more heat, which makes it less efficient. . . It's a nasty cycle that only proper cooling can cure.
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  7. #167
    Variable Bitrate Jistari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blk02si View Post
    Think about it like this: The more heat the system creates, the less efficient it becomes, which causes max output on the m4 to decrease, which causes more heat because it's flowing more current to keep up with the load, which causes more heat, which makes it less efficient. . . It's a nasty cycle that only proper cooling can cure.
    Havent heard it stated that clearly
    PDP1170/TRS80/Atari800XL/Amiga500/286/486/P2/P4/C2D/i7 still a newb (but an old newb, been doing this a while) working my way up to "Complete Newb"

  8. #168
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    One question then: Which component on the M4 would be the culprit that needs to be replaced with a better one? Clearly if the M4 can't hold up to 130F (max) inside the case, then there are components on the M4 that could use upgrading to better specs. A Voltage Regulator? A transistor? If it were replaced with a mil-spec component to prevent that part from being the weakest link in a otherwise good product, then it only benefits everyone.

    Sure, if I ran a duct from my air conditioner into the case maybe it would solve everything, but we're talking about a product marketed for working in the extreme conditions that exist in a mobile application.

    So other than physical cooling, are there any other suggestions or recommendations of parts to order from Digikey?

    Also, there are fans on the back pulling air out and a modern FH fan sucking from the front. The M4 sits midcase on the right since all the old power wiring and crap was redundant to a DC operation. I went with the passive heatsink to remove moving parts obviously.

  9. #169
    Maximum Bitrate jpinkerton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfalcon View Post
    I went with the passive heatsink to remove moving parts obviously.
    Passive cooling is probably what is killing you. I understand you don't want something failing with moving parts, but it's failing without them. Might try upgrading that passive cooling to some motion.

  10. #170
    FLAC Griff1's Avatar
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    I've been scratching my head for a few days trying to get this M4 to work properly.

    After a little reading it seems i have a few known issues,

    1, Sometimes is doesn't come on with the ignition, turn the ignition off and then back on and it comes on.

    2, Its just plain ignoring the dip switches and has settled on 60 seconds as its shutdown time.

    3, Sometimes comes on with the ignition and then goes back off 5 seconds later.

    I see that some have reported these issues resolved with the later firmware and my M4 is a very early model (the earliest i suspect, wish i'd tested it a year ago when i bought it)

    I don't have a clue about pic programming so what are my options?

    Is there anyone willing to make up a cable for me?
    P4 2.8 HT, 512Mb Ram, 60Gb 2.5 HD, M4-ATX, SB Audigy2, BU353, Lilliput TS,Soundgraph Imon VFD,SONY Optiarc dvd Burner,RideRunner, iGo8, Custom Freedom 2.1

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