Typical vehicle ignition key

Many of our customers use computers and monitors in vehicles with a ranged DC input. The typical 12V car battery, for example, ranges from around 11 to 14V DC. For a motherboard that needs a fixed and regulated 12V DC input (as many of motherboards do), this is a problem. At voltage below or above 12V you risk damaging power carrying components and making the motherboard inoperable - or worse - causing a fire!

This is why the majority of our units are deployed with a ranged power input. We have partnered with several manufacturers of high-quality power delivery systems to offer a ranged DC input on most of our units, including units that need quite a bit of current (10A or more).

One of the more popular applications of this technology is our -VP (vehicle power) option which utilizes a specialized (and programmable!) power delivery board with a link to the motherboard, which allows our computers to be used inside of vehicles with battery systems.

This is how it works:

1.     Our 3-pin power connector is connected to the DC source as follows: the black wire goes to DC-, the red wire goes to DC+ and the blue wire goes to the ignition, which is switched to DC+.

Our 3-pin sealed power cable color code

2.     When the ignition is engaged, the power delivery board powers on and sends a signal to the motherboard to turn on, which then boots the system.

3.     When the ignition is disengaged, the system does not immediately power down but first sends a power off signal to the motherboard, which starts a graceful shutdown, and then after a set time (which can be adjusted with jumpers or through an application interface), the power module disconnects power from the motherboard, thus preserving the vehicle’s batteries.

This system has been very popular with our customers as the go-to way to integrate PCs into a vehicle with battery systems to ensure batteries don’t get drained and to provide protection to the PC from overvoltage or undervoltage conditions, voltage surges, and abrupt loss of power which can lead to data corruption and hardware damage.

This vehicle power option is available on any of our computers or LCD PCs, both sealed and panelmount.

We have created a guide on our website that summarizes these steps in greater detail, for your reference when integrating a SmallPC to your system. You can get access to it by creating an account on smallpc.com. If you have any questions about the functionality or features of this utility, do not hesitate to contact us!