Carputer

Crispin

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Not sure if here or Equipment or electronics is best...


Anyway, I have a carputer in my LC which to date I have been pretty happy with (It's a lie but hey...)
Now on it's 4th incarnation, all is well and happy. However...

I have now chewed up 3 or 4 hard drives and getting bored with it.
The drive is mounted horizontally to the inside of the case (http://linitx.com/viewproduct.php?prodid=12488) . The case is loose under the passenger seat, resting on carpet, does not slide or bash around due to all the cables holding it in place and all in all, it has a nice life. Granted, normal car life might not be "nice" for a HDD.

The main drive is a 30GB SSD which does a fine job. I had to put in another disk for maps (mapping software is not shy on file sizes). This current disk is less than 4 months old and already vanishes from windows randomly. Prior to the SSD, I had other normal disks in there which did the same thing.

Has anyone else had any issues like this? How do they mount / protect their disks? I struggle to believe that they die this easily. There are plenty people driving around with computers in their car / 4x4 etc?
 

Andy Harvey

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I still like the Toughbook solution as used in Police cars - Panasonic Toughbook CF-28, mounted on a Gamber Johnson vehicle docing station with a 7 in wireless screen up front. Currently my vehicle mount is not in the car but it does the same thing without it, just plug in a laptop power adaptor to power it. Just got a Mini keyboard and a mini trackball for it as well. It connects to my bluetooth GPS and runs Memory Map just fine.

Good thing about the Toughbook is the drive is shock mounted, these things are built to MIL specs and are used by Armies around the world. Can take a drop, are pretty waterproof (as long as the covers are over the PCMCIA slot door and the docking station port as they have seals on them.

The US police use a varient of it with SSD disks and video cameras in them for filming incidents.

Toughbook 28 might not be the fastest but it still runs XP SP3 and Office 2007 fine.

An alternative is the Toughbook CF-07 which is designed as a vehicle mount computer (it's a mini box with available vehicle mount brackets and is designed to work with the Wireless screen). Downside is that the processor is pretty slow plus they still command a high price. You can get a CF-28 laptop for a lot less. My docking station cost me £45, the Gamber johnson mount £25 (plus pretty steep shipping costs as it is damn heavy) and the wireless screen I got for £95 although you still seem them on ebay for over £500.

Certainly does anything I would want in the car, can run Memory map, Office, use mobile broadband dongle, run iTunes and send it through the stereo and all in a box that I could run over and still not have issues with it (they have run over them with Hummers with no damage). Also got built in Wifi and Bluetooth.
 

Jon Wildsmith

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Well this will jinx me I'm sure but I've been running carputers since 2002 and have not had a single hard drive failure and I just use ordinary drives. Are the drives going bad or just disapearing from device manager? If the later I'd suspect a power connector problem not a bad drive. Is is a 3.5 or 2.5" drive because the 3.5" molex power connectors are particularly rubbish IMO.
 

Crispin

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ok, toughbook this and toughbook that. :)
I did a quick search on google images for toughbook hardrive mount.
Pretty interesting:

Compliments of: http://www.toughbookuniverse.com/?p=31

I have never thought that rubber grommets have done anything good to stop vibration. I see they encase the disk in sponge. Much better.
I also like the drive heater idea. On my recent trip to Switzerland, the computer acted very oddly in the cold weather. At it's worse, it sounded like the disk was struggling to spin. The temp in the morning was -16, not sure how cold it got over night. Even the SSD didn't want to work without some warmth in it. Something to warm the drive up with would help.

Another thing I think is a killer is the orientation. For the most part, vibration would be up and down. This might[/i/ be causing the heads to crash into the disk. Putting it vertically might be better.

I think I am going to use the disk via USB and wrap a USB disk in sponge and wedge it somewhere. This should soften the normal day to day vibration.


Andy, that mount you have: Is it cumbersome and take up a lot of space? Do you have it in all the time or only when needed?
My mount, a pretty rigid gooseneck bolted onto the passenger seat mount is pretty wobbly. I would still like a dash mount but struggle to see how to make one with the rats nest of wires behind there.
 
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Crispin

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Jon, they all 2.5". Which way does your drive sit and how is it mounted? I am sure yours has seen more vibration and jarring than mine.

One of them had read error, the other two do not, on occasion, appear on boot. Sometimes a reboot works, sometimes not. I've done this while stationary as well as moving so seems unlikely to be power related. I have changed the power cables once.
What is puzzling is the vanishing act. Normally a disk would show up, just be bad. Not not show up all together. Also, when it does work it is fine until next boot where it's pot luck as to whether or not it'll show up.
 

Jon Wildsmith

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I think you have some other issue going on there Crispin. Mine are horizontal, screwed to the metal frame in the normal way, no rubber this or foam that ;) and yes they've had some abuse the worst probably being Ray hitting the computer quite hard because he thought the was a bee but it was a bit of mud :lol:
 

Crispin

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Jon Wildsmith said:
Ray hitting the computer quite hard because he thought the was a bee but it was a bit of mud :lol:
Poor thing must have taken a beating :)


I'll have another dig at the cables and plugs this weekend and see if there is something amiss.
 

Bat21

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I Have a JLT8404 tablet PC running Windows XP, Garmin Mapsource & Garmin NRoute mounted in a vehicle doc. This is linked up to a Garmin GPS Map60C.

Both are mounted to the passenger crab rail with Ram mounts.

I haven't tested it in anger yet but will be doing so later this year.







:::.Note to any thieving types that may be looking, this setup is not a permanent fixture in my vehicle.:::
 

Gav Peter

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Mmm, we like that. I did enquire with somebody about that sort of thing... It wasn't cheap... In fact, it wasn't far short of what I paid for my truck!!!

Maybe I was looking in the wrong place Paul... And I don't mean on your driveway!!! ;)
 
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