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Thread: Running a Desktop off 12v

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    Default Running a Desktop off 12v

    So I live off the grid. Pretty much everything in my house runs off 12v. Except for the computer (currently an old laptop). I'm running into issues playing the mid-range games on the laptop so want to switch to a desktop with a little bit more ability. Laptop specs:

    Windows Vista
    160 GB HDD
    4 GB RAM (the original speed was 533 MHz but I changed to the 4GB before I knew much about computers)
    Dual-Core AMD Turion 64 1.6 Ghz
    ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 iGPU

    My current build:

    Windows XP
    Gigabyte GA-F2A88XIV-Wifi mini-ITX
    Kingston Hyperx 2x2GB DDR-3-1866
    AMD A-6-5400K 3.6 Ghz (iGPU AMD Radeon HD 7540D)
    Laptop HDD and Optical Drive (had them laying around)

    I know the PicoPSU is an option and I checked out the review of them here. However, the review doesn't include the PicoPSU-160-XT or the PW-200-M with the 192w adapter (12v/16A). Should I stick with the 19v adapters and get an inverter? Or am I good using the highly rated 192w adapter? Will my build fry the PicoPSU's? Should I get a low wattage PSU, extra batteries and an inverter?

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    Default

    I take it the 12V supply you have is not very well regulated. If that's the case, you might be able to find a "buck-boost" converter that will take the 12V supply and step it up or down as needed, then feed that to a PicoPSU. The main challenge here would be finding one that's powerful enough.

    The PicoPSU "WI" (wide input) models seem to just have a buck converter for the 12V, which won't do much of anything for, say, an 11.5V input - in fact, it'll make it worse. However, for a higher input, it should be fine.

    I think your best bet would be to use a WI PicoPSU with one of those in-car laptop charger boxes (12V->19V boost converter). The PicoPSU 120-WI-25 *should* be enough for your build (although I'd get a second opinion on that). Just pair it with a sufficiently powerful "in-car" laptop charger and you should be good to go.

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    I currently have a pretty cheap setup that doesnt give a lot of power. I also don't have a lot that TAKES power. The laptop charges the USB devices and as an older, non-battery laptop it takes the 12v like a champ. i don't have the money to spend on a 12v freezer so for now the laptop is it.

    I kept reading that newer laptops don't like 12v so went searching for a desktop conversion. :/ it's been... Interesting. I don't really want to upgrade the batt's at this point so would hope to find a PSU that can run 12v.

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    Oh, whoops. The 12v is regulated by both a regulator and an inverter... I spent the cash and bought a pure sine wave one. I plan on upgrading when I have the dehydrator and freezer (more panels, more batt's) but right now I don't need it.

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    Default

    Still, in the interest of efficiency, looking into using just the regulated DC instead of going DC -> AC -> DC could be worthwhile.

    Cheapie definitely has the right idea. I've seen some buck-boost regulators that will take 9-19VDC and spit out 12VDC +/- 3%, but can't remember where off the top of my head. Will come back with concrete info.
    Careful what you wish for... You just might get it.

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    Power is already kind of ridiculous. The sheer amount of work and research that went into this setup still staggers me. Efficiency is my middle name, anything that simplifies is A+ in my books. S'why I don't have plumbing or wired lights, too much PIMA

    I'd love to get some more info for the converters. I've never heard of them. Been reading some articles and they seem perfect for running the computer through DC directly. The LCD laptop screen with LCD Controller can also run off 12v so this may save me some hassle. I just can't find much info on finding and implementing them into the current setup.

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    I don't know how happy it will make your computer or monitor power supplies but it seems something like this would work.

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    So mini-box does have a dc-dc buck boost converter but I'm having trouble determining what would be needed to hook it up to something. It looks like it comes with hookups to the motherboard. So what kind of wiring for the power supply? The pics I found on google show it used in cars and hooked into a car batt which is not what I have so I'm unsure what I should be looking for...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BarkingPup View Post
    [...]hooked into a car batt which is not what I have[...]
    OK, so where is your 12V coming from?

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    There are psu especially designed for car pcs. Standard voltage in cars is (dirty) +12V DC.

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