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Full-featured server in Combi car

05-07-2016, 06:25 PM
Suppose, the task is to install a 4U tower server + wifi-router + 4 IP cameras (1 front + 1 back + 2 in the side mirrors) + 2 displays (rear seats) in a luggage boot of Skoda Octavia Combi(European make). Server's maximum rated input power is 333 W at 230 VAC, wifi-router is a small one. Cameras need to be connected to the router via RJ-45 cables; they receive power via PoE (Power over Ethernet). Displays consume at most 25W each. My questions:

Will a car be able to produce such power when the engine is on? Where to look for such information?
Where can I find required manuals for the electrical part?
Where can I find manuals for routing extra cables (camera ones') without drilling?
How to fix server in a secure position?
What should one do to prevent temperature rise?
Will I need to buy any extra parts? Which?

05-08-2016, 07:32 PM
Is the system only going to be powered while the car is running? Is this just for an experiment or something that you want to optimize? For example, are you wanting to go quick and dirty (literally, in the sense of power) with an inverter that converts 12V DC of the car's charging system to 230 VAC as a pseudo sinewave, or do you want to power bypass the internal server power supply and power it directly with filtered 12V and DC to DC converter 5V and 3.3V (any other power forms your server needs?)?

What "temperature rise" are you wanting to prevent? Temp rise in the server due to interior temperatures while the car is parked, or temperature rise in the van due to the running server?

As for determining if the van can produce the required power, are you familiar with Ohm's Law? Your answer on if you plan to use an inverter or DC power will help determine if the car can provide the power, but you'll also need to understand how much power the van typically uses versus the rating of the alternator.

05-08-2016, 08:31 PM
System is going to be powered on only when the engine is running. I am concerned about heat from running server. I know basic electrodynamics laws. This is long-term project (3+ yrs), and probably I will install it on more cars after some testing. Important point here is that I don't know what's good for long term. I will need to have 220V socket because of PoE adapters + displays(maybe?) anyway, on the other hand this decision implies lower efficiency for the server. How much power is lost when using a portable inverter? And I still need help finding right documentation for particular car.

05-09-2016, 08:00 AM
The documentation for the particular inverter you use should list the efficiency of the inverter. It's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 85%-95% efficient. But to pick the correct inverter you need to add up the continuous power draw of all of the devices you plan to run off of it then pick an inverter that can source, continuously, at least that much power. You also may have some issues using a "standard" inverter which provides a very crude and digitally noisy approximation of a sine wave. The filtering in the monitors and server may be good enough to handle the noise, but you may also end up with artifacts. You won't necessarily know until you try it. For budget purposes you may want to figure the cost of a true sine wave inverter which is quite a bit more pricey than the psuedo sine version. Certainly if you're planning to have speakers powered by the inverter you'll want the pure sine inverter.

I don't have access to any charging system documentation for Skoda.

As for addressing the heat, is there maybe a liquid cooled heat exchanger option for the server you plan to use?


05-09-2016, 08:26 AM
No, liquid cooling is not an option.

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