Power & Configuration

Power & Configuration

Our computers are built to order and all units ship with a User Guide which is unique to that machine.  This page shows information that is common across all the N, J and C-family PCs we build (excluding the CQ family), but please contact us for an electronic copy of the User Guide for your specific machine, which will also cover any relevant optional features such as 3G and GPS.

Mounting the PC

The PC includes mounting flanges with 4 screw holes for quick and secure installation.  We recommend that the PC be mounted base-down, but if necessary the PC can be mounted in any orientation*.  Please ensure that there is sufficient space around the sides of the PC and the fan to allow adequate air flow.

*If the PC has a base-mounted anti-vibration mounting platform (normally available for ICPC-4 chassis only) then the PC must be mounted base-down, and should not be mounted to a vertical panel.  If the PC has a side-mounted anti-vibration mounting platform (normally available for ICPC-1 or ICPC-3 chassis only) then the PC can be mounted to a vertical panel, but we recommend that the ports face either up or down (rather than facing left or right).

Port Configuration & Power Supply

The top level of the rear of the PC looks like this:

The PC includes an internal automotive power supply that suppresses transients and will ensure that the PC will not reboot during engine cranking.  Power is supplied to the PC via the 6-pin power input plug, labelled ‘P-IN‘ above. The cable functions are as follows (see below for pin-out diagrams):

  • 2 x yellow cables: +12V – connect to a permanent 12V source, via a fuse, that can provide at least as much current as the rating of the PC’s fuse (although the actual current draw will be significantly lower).  This feed should be permanently live, regardless of whether the ignition is turned on or off.  When the PC is turned off the power draw is minimal (<3mA), and the vehicle’s battery will not be significantly discharged.  The input power feed does not need to be regulated, although for 24V vehicles please use a voltage dropper to provide a nominal 12V supply.
  • 2 x black cables: Ground – connect to the nearest grounding point(s).
  • Red cable: Ignition feed – when 12V is applied on this line the PC will turn on after a short delay.  The PC will remain on until 12V is removed from the red cable, after which the PC will initiate the shutdown procedure.  We recommend using a 1A fuse between the ignition feed and the PC.
  • Blue cable: Remote output – this cable provides a switched output that can be used to turn on and off external devices such as head units (if they support this feature). The output voltage on the blue cable is equal to the input voltage on the yellow cables, and the maximum current supported is 250 mA.

If your PC has been supplied with an AC power supply this will have a 2-way switch that controls the red cable.  Simply insert the P-IN connector, turn the 2-way switch on, and after a short delay the PC will power up.  To shut down the PC turn the 2-way switch off.

The PC also includes a 3-pin auxiliary power output socket, labelled ‘P-OUT‘ above, that provides a regulated 12V supply (& 5V for most models) (up to 1A maximum) when the PC is turned on.  This may be used to power one or more accessory devices, such as an LCD display.  The cable functions are as follows:

  • Yellow cable: +12V output
  • Black cable: Ground
  • Red cable: +5V output / [Not used] depending on PC

If the P-OUT connector, or the blue cable of the P-IN connector, is used to switch a relay it is essential that a protection diode is installed across pins 85 and 86 of the relay, as shown in the diagram below.

Initial Power Up

We recommend that you connect the cables to the vehicle electrical system before inserting the power plug into the PC.

Unless you have requested that we complete this step on your behalf, the very first time you turn on the computer you will be guided through the Windows® Out of Box Experience.  This will prompt you to enter certain information, including your Windows® Product Key which can be found on a label attached to the computer case (if the PC was ordered with a Windows license).  If no product key is entered you can continue to use the computer, but a valid product key must be entered within a period of 30 days.

Please ensure that the computer has a reliable power source before turning the computer on, especially for the very first time.  The Windows Out of Box Experience takes approximately 5 minutes to complete, and the PC should not lose power during this initial procedure.

If power loss does occur during initial setup then it may be necessary to use the Factory Recovery Solution (detailed below).

Removing power from the PC

Under normal conditions the P-IN connector should not be disconnected from the PC, and the two yellow cables of the P-IN connector should be permanently live.  However, it may occasionally be necessary for the P-IN connector to be removed from the PC, or for the power source to which the yellow P-IN leads are attached to be switched off temporarily.

In such circumstances please ensure that the PC has fully shut down, and that the red cable of the P-IN connector (ignition feed) is not live, and has not been live for at least 10 seconds prior to the power being removed.

Changing the Ignition-Off behaviour

When the ignition feed is turned off the PC will shut down by default, but hibernation may be used instead.  To change the Ignition-Off behaviour follow these steps (for Windows® 7):

  • Click on the Start button, then Control Panel > Hardware and Sound
  • Under the Power Options heading click on Change what the power buttons do
  • Choose either Shut down or Hibernate under the “When I press the power button” drop-down menu.

If you choose the Shut down option then please refer to the section below to configure settings for Windows® Update.

Please do not choose the Sleep option unless you have applied a shorting jumper to Pin 6 of the external jumper block (see below). We do not recommend using Sleep, as the vehicle’s battery may be drained overnight.  By contrast, when the PC has been shut down or hibernated the power consumption is negligible.

Configuring Windows® Update Settings

If the ignition-off behaviour (detailed above) is set to Shut Down then we strongly recommend that the installation method for Windows® Updates is changed from its default setting of Install updates automatically (recommended) (for Windows® 7).

This is because, under the automatic scheme, updates are often applied when the PC shuts down.  When the PC shuts down in response to the ignition feed being turned off the operating system is allowed approximately 2 minutes to complete the shut down process.  If the operating system has not shut down within this period then the PC will turn off anyway, before the operating system has shut down correctly.  This is a deliberate safety feature to prevent situations where the vehicle’s battery could be drained as a result of a software crash causing the operating system to hang and the PC to remain turned on for long periods (e.g. overnight).

Windows® Updates that are applied when the PC shuts down will result in the operating system taking significantly longer than normal to shut down, risking the PC turning off before the operating system has applied all the updates and fully shut down.

It is therefore essential that Windows® updates are applied manually rather than automatically at shut down.  Please carry out the following steps within Windows® 7 as soon as possible:

  • Click on the Start button, then Control Panel > System and Security
  • Under the Windows Update heading, click on Turn automatic updating on or off
  • In the first drop-down box change the selection to one of the following options depending on preference:
    • Download updates but let me choose whether to install them
    • Check for updates but let me choose whether to download and install them
    • Never check for updates (not recommended)

Factory Recovery Solution

Note – if requested In-CarPC can bypass the creation of the factory recovery image during the PC build, instead providing instructions to allow customers to create the recovery image themselves. This would normally be carried out after any necessary customisations have been made (e.g. installation of software) but before the PC is installed into a vehicle or delivered to an end-user.  

The PC includes Acronis True Image OEM, a factory recovery solution that is able to restore the PC to factory settings.  This may be necessary in cases where operating system files have been corrupted (e.g. due to malware, virus infection or unintentional power loss during initial setup).

The recovery solution runs from a secure partition on the PC’s hard drive, and does not require the PC to be booted from an external device such as a USB flash drive or CD.

To restore the PC to factory settings, power the machine and press the F11 key when prompted, before Windows® begins to load.  A menu will then be shown, with the following options:

  • Acronis True Image (Full Version) – Provides a Linux-based version of Acronis True Image HD, which can be used for advanced backup & recovery tasks
  • Recover – Restores the PC to factory settings
  • Windows – Continues booting into Windows®

Select the appropriate option using the up/down/enter keys on the keyboard (a mouse cursor is displayed but this may not function in some cases).

The solution also includes a preinstalled Windows® application, Acronis True Image HD, which can be used to create additional backups, either of the complete system or individual files.  Backups can be stored locally on the PC itself or on any external or network-based storage device.  To start using Acronis True Image HD it is necessary to register the software using an activation code (printed on a separate leaflet).

Activation is only required in order to use the Windows® based application – the factory recovery system, which is invoked by pressing F11 when the PC boots, is already fully functional and does not require activation.

Please note that restoring the PC to factory settings, whether this is achieved using the F11 boot menu or the Windows® application, will result in the loss of all data, settings, programs and any other changes that have been made to the PC since it was shipped from In-CarPC.  The factory recovery operation is non reversible.

Additional Information

This section provides further information about the connectors shown above (click images to enlarge).