Will my car battery be enough?

Posted on 2005-05-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
Hi there experts,

I have put together a car computer.

It has a mini-ITX mobo with 7"LCD, 60 gig HD, 16x DVD & Wireless running off an OPUS 12VDC-DC PSU, and got it working by testing it on a motorcycle battery.  With this battery I can get a good 3 minutes of DVD watching before the PSU decides it's out of juice, and shuts down windoze.

I am wondering if when I put this in my car, the alternator will provide sufficient power to the battery to keep it running?  I mean, it SHOULD at least let me play mp3s, but it would be nice to also be able to watch movies (er... for the passengers... not me)

Question by:dbrownell83
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Assisted Solution

J-A-L earned 1000 total points
ID: 13931813
Tough to say... what you can try is purchase or rent or borrow a current meter to get a measurement of the amount of current flowing to your mini-ITX board and parts (total system from the battery) and find out what the Ampere x Hour rating is on the battery... that will give a rough idea if your running from the batter alone. You may want to find ways to reduce the current your device is taking if need be.  Decsk you purchase for cars may take less current..since they have less power hungry parts.

at yourtechonline.com
LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 1000 total points
ID: 13931857
A car idling will not generate enough current to charge the battery, but if it's above 3000rpm, it should.  Car batteries are typically around 50-60 ampere-hours, while motorcycle batteries are around 10, so you can figure on 5 x 3min runtime.

Author Comment

ID: 13931894

So I'll only watch DVDs when driving over 65mph. hahahaha

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Author Comment

ID: 13931900
(or i'll grind around town in 2nd gear.  )

Author Comment

ID: 13931909
what can i do other than turn off the LCD & DVD?  Can I hook the motorcycle battery up as an extra supply somehow?
LVL 69

Expert Comment

ID: 13932339
You can hook it up in parallel, but it wouldn't provide a lot more time.  What you need is a higher capacity battery, like a marine battery, but they are heavier and more awkward to handle.  Also keep in mind that batteries have sulfuric acid and some emit hydrogen gas when charging, which mixes with oxygen to produce an explosive combination.

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