DSATX Review by Mr. Albers
I, like many others, have experimented with several combinations of PCs and power supplies looking for the ideal solution at a budget. I’m not sure I will ever be happy =) but the number one necessity is a decent foundation, i.e power supply.
My previous setup consisted of a 400 watt husky inverter, a CarPC Pro SDC and tank circuit powering a 250w power supply and a P4 processor, hard drive, optical drive and 4 fans. The combination worked fantastic after some relatively difficult adjustments with the timer and a chip swap. There were some issues that I wanted to overcome, primarily the noise of the inverter fan, bad connection in the PSU (needed to wiggle the wires sometimes) and the delay in turn on with the SDC. I ran my 5v hub and Xenarc display off of a Carnetix 1280 that I had laying around. I had zero issues with induced noise but it was a substantial current draw and difficult to hide all of the components while still maintaining functionality of my Honda Element.
I spoke with Jeff and he went out of his way to get me a post beta unit. It was a bit more than what the original beta testers but I was extremely eager. The unit came a few weeks later where I tore out the power supply and inverter, created some nice 8 gauge power wire and tapped into my 12v power and ground distribution block. Everything worked great for approximately .5 seconds =) I like a couple other members of the board received a faulty beta unit. I contacted this board and Jeff and had a replacement unit before I could send out the original. Huge kudos to Jeff on his professionalism!
DSATX Take 2: This time I hotglued the DSATX to the inside of my plexi case, chopped off the floppy molex connector and soldered on a few more molex for added accessories. I put the unit back in the vehicle, powered it up and instantly the unit buzzed out of hibernation. This thing worked fantastic. My resume time is under 10 seconds. Best of all, its silent, no fans at all.
I decided to press the unit a little further. As you may recall, I was using a Carnetix p1280 to power screen, hub and slot loaded cd player. I decided to run a 3 conductor, 14 gauge insulated wire from the PC in the rear to the front of the vehicle. One conductor for 12v+, one for 5v+ and the shielding ground as ground. I chopped up a molex, wired the blacks together and soldered the red and yellows to the appropriate inner conductor. Ran that to the front of the vehicle and tapped in for my accessories. All and all, I extended the internal wiring of the PC by about 18 ft! I checked voltage at the end and I was still reading 12 and 5!!! Very little loss. I powered up and the screen worked great, but connecting the cd player was a bit of a chore. It wouldn’t work. I also checked the DSATX and found it was blinking 5 times in a row. The system still worked fine and acted normal, just had the 5 consecutive blinks. As Jeff informed me, this means i overloaded the unit. The unit will NOT automatically shut down if it goes into this stage. Luckily I caught it about an hour later. I popped out the fuse, reset it and reconnected the 5v to my optical and tried again. Everything worked!!!!!
Presently powering: P4 2.4, IDE optical, IDE 250 Maxtor drive, 4 port hub, 2 USB extension cables, xenarc monitor, USB GPS, USB CD drive, USB keyboard, cell phone charger and fans all off this sucker with no problems at all!!! I still plan on adding a second hub and a joystick.
Pros: Simple install (if you have a non conductive case), Substantial improvement over SDCs and inverters. Cant stress this enough. plenty of power to work with my hungry system, ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC response from Jeff with questions. Setting adjustment is simpler than my old SDC. Its truly a set and go.
Cons: Can be a little difficult to mount as it is simply a board. As others have mentioned, the serial cable adapter is a flimsy connection and a hard reset button would be nice to have (I just pop out the fuse right next to the pc). I am working on a slight noise issue with this power supply (yet to determine if its RF interference or a grounding issue). I will edit this post as I figure that out. UPDATE-Figured it out. The on board sound is just so cheap. It picked up some sort of interference. Upgrading to a creative PCI card solved everything with a significant boost in output voltage
I would like to mention that if anyone has any questions on this board, I am more than happy to give my relative insight. I'm by no means a genius, but I have tried several different ways of powering a PC and i must say that DC-DC is the way to go. (Now i will never sell my old power system :mad: )
Photos? Want photos?
What was removed
PC being modifed for new board and DSATX
and the final install (low picture quality)