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Old 20-10-2003, 21:55   #1
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Lightbulb 12 Volt Computers on board

I am in the process of building a 12 volt DC powered computer for my sail boat. Yes, I have a laptop, but it will be my backup. What I want to achieve is a PC that can run off 12 Volts DC, ie, not using an inverter. The solution so far;
Mini ITX Mainboard, small size, low current drain.
Lap Top Hard Drive, shock resistant, low current.
15 inch LCD Monitor, also 12 volt DC powered, low current.
Wireless KeyBoard and Mouse.
Combo DVD reader, CDr burner.
10 / 100 meg Ethernet adapter to enable networking of LapTop.

This PC will play DVDs, CDs, MP3 and Music CDs, run C-Map or other navigation packages and Weather Fax from the HF radio. The PC base unit will be bolted onto a bulkhead and the monitor mounted, but movable between the nav station and the saloon.
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Old 21-10-2003, 04:59   #2
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While this is not my area of expertise, it is my understanding that almost all PC's operate at 6 or 9 volt DC and that is why you have a power supply module on a computer. You just need to find out what voltage your computer requires and tep down to it. Staying in DC really reduces the power demand of a computer vs using an inverter and power supply unit. I was recently quoted a 10-11 times reduction in amps required. That is big.

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Old 21-10-2003, 09:16   #3
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For what it’s worth:
I’ve just checked two Lap-Top computers for Electrical characteristics (Outputs on AC Adaptors):
Newer: Dell (Inspiron/5100) - 4.5A @ 20.0 Volt DC
Older: Compaq (Armada 1130T) - 2.6A @ 16.5 Volt DC

Obviously, there are differing operating voltages.

Direct battery power (converted if need be) should be much “cleaner”, as well as much more energy-efficient (as Jeff says) than would Inverter driven AC power through Ac-DC Adaptor.

Gord
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