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Thread: Options for Newbies for powering CarPC...

  1. #1
    Raw Wave RoyN's Avatar
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    Options for Newbies for powering CarPC...

    OK, I was thinking about this...

    Maybe it is time to list the power options for Newbies to look at...

    It wont solve all problems but it will at least give OPTIONS of how to power the thing up. Here are a few of the ones that I know about, I hope others will contribute. Please dont post questions here, only functions of specific power options.


    Inverter - Allows use of large regular computer power supplies. Allows you to power high-end machines. Can give battery troubles, etc, is not very efficient, can generate noise (both electronic noise and audible noise).
    Inverters can be found for under $50, they are available in many stores, best buy, walmart, amazon, etc

    OPUS - Doesnt require anything else (hooks up straight to the battery and mobo/devices), includes shutdown/startup controller. Available in 90w, 120w and 150w. Depending on the Mobo/powerrequirements (beware especially of the 12v rail on P4/Athlons) it wont run high-end systems.
    Available for sale on mp3car.com store, varies from $140 to $200 roughly (depends on wattage)


    OK, now you guys can add your own and I'll try and maintain this list... I'm mostly interested personally in how the Carnetix solutions work... what are they combined with? I'm also interested in the Keypower and what people use as startup/shutdown contrllers, as well as the Mastero/Sproggys...

  2. #2
    Newbie
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    Max Power Drain?

    Hey, Thanks for the post. I have a question though.
    I started out thinking how cool all this is.
    Started off with a basic car computer. One LCD Touch Screen...
    Then it grew!
    hahaha
    I am planning on putting my carputer into a 95 honda legend.
    Heres what i have been thinking about.
    1 Carputer (Something like in the store of mp3car.com).
    3 Lcd Screens (One In Dash, 2 In Headrests)
    1 Xbox
    (Prob power with inverter.. but open to any other ideas)
    Those are tha major things taking power...
    (Check back next week and i will prob want to run a PS2 and a Gamecube!!! HAHAHAH!).

    But i am wondering if that would drain to much from the alternator.
    I am a bit of a noob, but i have been looking and can't find it.

  3. #3
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    good job RoyN are you planning to make this a sticky for the power supply forum?

    Here is a another popluar setup for some people. A decent 400W inverter (coleman is what I always see) with a carPC power controller from the MP3CAR store this controller has all the options (startup/shutdown/battery monitor/tempeture monitor/external amp power control/monitor power contoler). This type of setup is used mainly if you have a power hungry P4. Doing your system this way allows you to get a cheap PSU that will power your PC and give you some room to expand it. One thing I dont know is how this system holds up to engine cranking without any help from an EZ tank circuit and another battery.

  4. #4
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Carnetix 1260/1290

    The Carnetix is a combination auto start/shutdown controller and power regulator. In plain english, this means it will ensure that no voltage spikes will go to your computer and it will also instruct your computer to start and stop when you start and stop your car, just like most car radios.

    The Carnetix is not an all-in-one solution, however. It must be combined with a DC-DC Power Supply Unit (PSU). The function of the PSU is to take 12 volt power and break it down into the various voltages that your PC requires. These are often 12 volts, 5 volts, and 3 volts. Thus, the components required for powering a PC using Carnetix are:

    Carnetix + DC-DC power supply = Your solution

    The Carnetix is specially designed for use with a Casetronic C-134 computer case which already includes the DC-DC power supply. It is also an excellent choice for those who purchsed the ITPS hoping for a cheap power supply solution and have recognized the limitations it imposes.

    The difference between the 1260/1290 is the amount of power it can supply. The 1290 is a 90 watt supply while the 1260 is a 60 watt supply. This means the 1260 is suitable for relatively low power car pcs such as the popular Epia VIA M800, 10000, 12000 units. Don't know how many watts your system will draw? Search on "Power calculators" for links to online tools to help you calculate how many watts your configuration will draw. A newer model of the Carnetix, the P1900 is due in March 2005 and will supply 140 watts plus has the ability to supply voltages higher than 12 volts, useful for systems such as the Mac mini or laptops that often require 18 volts.

    Starting/stopping. The Carnetix has two features to help hobbyists start and stop their PC. Option 1 will signal any ACPI (most computers are) compliant motherboard to shutdown or start up. Two wires go from the Carnetix to the motherboard and plug in where the normal power switch for the computer case would plug in. Option 2 is designed to supply the computer with enough power so it can "stand by" when the car is off. This results in a VERY quick resumption of the system but also draws more power when the car is off. The Carnetix has a low voltage detector that will shut the computer off if the battery voltage is getting too low to allow the computer to restart.

    The Carnetix also has a pulse feature that can be connected to the car's alarm system. When the driver unlocks the car, the Carnetix receives the pulse signal and signals the computer to start. This can shorten the time it takes for the computer to start if hibernating or from cold boot.

    Surviving "crank". The Carnetix is designed to survive crank. Cranking is the process of starting your car and refers to the cranking of the engine by the starter motor. This process draws an enormous amount of power from your battery and will drop the system voltage below 12 volts. This will cause 12 volt computer systems to either freeze or reboot. The Carnetix is designed to supply enough power to your computer during this time to prevent either from happening. This is a useful feature when one stops briefly at a gas station and allows the driver to leave the key in the ignition with the car's electrical system on, fill the tank and restart the car without having to reboot the computer.

    For more information, including the online installation manuals with complete details of all features, see Carnetix
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  5. #5
    Raw Wave RoyN's Avatar
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    Thanks for that bugbyte!

    ahooper, please delete your post from this thread and search around then repost elsewehre if you still have doubts... I intended on making an easy guide for noobs....not making a question "will this setup work" thread...

    About making it a sticky, well I'm not sure if it will ever make it into a sticky, but if we get enough combinations in a simple way then I guess it could well be a sticky here or in the newbie section.

    Bugbyte, thanks for the contribution, I'll try and condense all that into the first post! thanks mate!

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