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4. In-Car Computers > 42. Power Your Car PC

Power Your Car PC

While you could just use an inverter to power a normal PC AT or ATX power supply, there are several power supplies on the market designed specifically for in-car computer use.

An in-car computer must be able to run on 12V, instead of the 120–240V found in a house. More accurately, an in-car computer has to put up with a voltage that fluctuates around 12–14V when the engine is on, and that can drop well below 12V when the engine is off or while it is starting. Computers are fairly sensitive to voltage fluctuations and can easily get “fried” by voltage spikes.

A regulated power supply is a power supply that ensures that its output voltages do not fluctuate significantly. All internal computer power supplies and many external AC adapters are regulated, meaning that minor fluctuations of input voltage do not show up on the output to the motherboard.


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