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AnonAMuse

A thought on living with a computer in a bouncy rv

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I have a thought experiment ;

 

 

  I live in a recreational vehical  in the lower 48 states , and I was wondering if any one has thought of the computers habits of screws loosing during long travels over roads. I know that in some cases it might be a good thing to put a thread locker compound on some of the screws to stop this, but is that the only thing that could work?

   Another thing not directly related to the screws but with the vibration aspect. Do the computers in general have other problems have a higher chance of overheating / part faluire due to the change in weather patterns as an R.V. travels from temperate locations to more desert like locations in say a 24 hour period?

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23 minutes ago, AnonAMuse said:

I have a thought experiment ;

 

 

  I live in a recreational vehical  in the lower 48 states , and I was wondering if any one has thought of the computers habits of screws loosing during long travels over roads. I know that in some cases it might be a good thing to put a thread locker compound on some of the screws to stop this, but is that the only thing that could work?

   Another thing not directly related to the screws but with the vibration aspect. Do the computers in general have other problems have a higher chance of overheating / part faluire due to the change in weather patterns as an R.V. travels from temperate locations to more desert like locations in say a 24 hour period?

The only thing I can think of that might be useful for “travel hardening” a laptop is swap the mechanical HD for an SSD, and look at stuff designed for being carried and knocked about.  Macs are actually pretty good for this.


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Swap air cooler for an aio, having all that weight hanging off the side creates flex, if your gpu is large or weight look into keeping it from moving.


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I would be most afraid of using a HDD in general, the GPU slipping out if the slot and if you have a large air cooler, that won't be nice as well


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48 minutes ago, scuff gang said:

Swap air cooler for an aio, having all that weight hanging off the side creates flex, if your gpu is large or weight look into keeping it from moving.

Air coolers aren't the issue. The way mounting system is, the whole mobo would break in half before CPU cooler causes socket to bend off.

 

As long as it's mounted tight, maybe with foam pads under and on the sides (just like cases are shipped) while moving it will be fine. Using it while moving is another matter, but still could work. With enough foam padding and rigid mounting.


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1 minute ago, LogicalDrm said:

Air coolers aren't the issue. The way mounting system is, the whole mobo would break in half before CPU cooler causes socket to bend off.

 

As long as it's mounted tight, maybe with foam pads under and on the sides (just like cases are shipped) while moving it will be fine. Using it while moving is another matter, but still could work. With enough foam padding and rigid mounting.

That's what I was trying to say, having that big hunk of aluminum hanging off your Mobo can cause issues from flexing, never said anything about a socket...

 

I switched to an aio cause i travel alot and don't want to worry when I'm ripping down gravel roads in a westfalla vanigon ? 


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cpu: ryzen 5 3600 @4.4ghz @1.35v

gpu: rx580 @1.45ghz mem=2100mhz

ram: vengeance lpx c15 @3800mhz

mobo: Asus b450f

psu: cooler master mwe 650w

case: masterbox mbx520

fans:Noctua industrial 3000rpm x6

 

 

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If you have a larger GPU I'd look at bracing that!


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These are educated guesses - 
1. Vibration is your primary enemy
2. Temperature swings can hurt but probably won't matter THAT much
3. Make sure moisture is taken care of
4. Make sure dust is taken care of

For what it's worth, I'd probably look into a laptop instead of a desktop. MUCH more power efficient (and self contained) and energy efficiency is likely something that matters. 

If you MUST go desktop... SFF is probably worth considering. AIOs are probably the way to go - you don't want stress on a board, have dust filters everywhere... and have something to absorb moisture... also try to have an insulated vehicle overall. 

For a monitor... monitor arm and make sure there's a way of keeping it stationary. 


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2 hours ago, scuff gang said:

That's what I was trying to say, having that big hunk of aluminum hanging off your Mobo can cause issues from flexing, never said anything about a socket...

 

I switched to an aio cause i travel alot and don't want to worry when I'm ripping down gravel roads in a westfalla vanigon ? 

 

2 hours ago, IAcKI said:

If you have a larger GPU I'd look at bracing that!

Best bet would be to have mobo laying horizontally. Like in Bitfenix Prodigy. That way both CPU cooler and GPU are standing rather than hanging.


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1 hour ago, LogicalDrm said:

 

Best bet would be to have mobo laying horizontally. Like in Bitfenix Prodigy. That way both CPU cooler and GPU are standing rather than hanging.

This is in the sleeper berth area of a semi. I have had several computers in trucks. This one is not mine but another drivers setup. I've never had a hdd fail nor anything else. But your other worry with a system in a vehicle is clean power. 

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A desktop wouldn't even be a consideration if I lived in an RV. I mean the laptop in sig is more powerful than the desktop that you don't really need to sacrifice power these days.

 

Yes they are more expensive, but considering some people drop a grand on something far more limited (phone) the cost isn't that bad tbh


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Thank you all for your kind suggestions.  I am using this thread to test a series of thoughts that might help myself and others that may be traveling around the country. 

  If I may I would like to explore another aspect in the thought experiment into the mix;

 

 

As I would be traveling through many different locations with many varied signal strength of wi-fi, can I get people to explore the most common types of boosters for wi-fi at different camp grounds.  The thoughts would be a signal connected to the grounds verses the options for phone boosted systems.  Pros and cons that might be nice to look at as of current providers. Ie..  Wi -fi trucker antennas or the top phone providers  or the subscriber assisted wi- fi boosters.   Lets assume a pure sine wave converter but on the shore powered side of a ground system lets assume occasional power spikes above and below but manageable with a surge protecter.

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Tbh the biggest thing you could do is talk to the driver about how they are driving (ive been all over the country. I know sometimes its not avoidable due to shit roads) and check the rvs suspension.

 

As far as the pc itself. Lay it horizontally if your worried about the gpu. But screws that are screwed in properly shouldnt be coming lose from your standard driving vibrations unless the roads and suspension are just horrible.

 

 

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Get a good laptop, use SSDs, and pack the laptop in a thickly padded laptop handbag or backpack when not using it. 

 

This will have the double benefit of saving you space and preventing components from breaking while driving. 


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If you are using a tow behind camper then keeping the system towards the hitch will limit it's up and down movement over bumps. This should really only be an issue if you have the system powered while moving for some reason (y tho?).  If the system is off, the HDDs should be able to take any kind of shock they would reasonably receive in transit excluding an actual roll over or collision. Even if the camper is bouncy there should be no issue if the system is running, I've moved all of my systems when they are running and my main system gets moved a lot and I'm never gentle with them. If I've never had a problem then I doubt you will.

 

You could support the GPU with a support bracket if you get a bigger one.

 

As for screws backing out from vibrations, this is a good point. Use captive thumb screws for the case side panels, a touch of locktite can go a long way.

 

WiFi is tough. I've never had good WiFi at any campground I've been to. The connections drop out a lot despite signal, the signal is weak or there is just no WiFi to begin with. The WiFi adapters built into motherboards and some of the expansion cards are a lot more powerful though. I've never actually tried any of them at a campground though. I would suggest getting a good solid card but not to expect too much. It might almost be better to use your phone as a hot spot in many cases. If you find something that works let me know, I'm curious.


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13 hours ago, Zusafek said:

This is in the sleeper berth area of a semi. I have had several computers in trucks. This one is not mine but another drivers setup. I've never had a hdd fail nor anything else. But your other worry with a system in a vehicle is clean power. 

New-rig-New-battlestation.jpg

The case and possibly the monitor I kinda want to put on shock absorbing pads. Maybe even bungee mount the case. I’m most worried about the GPU.  The rest of it probably needs nothing though.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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19 hours ago, AnonAMuse said:

I have a thought experiment ;

 

 

  I live in a recreational vehical  in the lower 48 states , and I was wondering if any one has thought of the computers habits of screws loosing during long travels over roads. I know that in some cases it might be a good thing to put a thread locker compound on some of the screws to stop this, but is that the only thing that could work?

   Another thing not directly related to the screws but with the vibration aspect. Do the computers in general have other problems have a higher chance of overheating / part faluire due to the change in weather patterns as an R.V. travels from temperate locations to more desert like locations in say a 24 hour period?

 

You're not the first person to ask about a desktop in an RV, but the two main concerns are Power and Fragility. You should have a UPS for the computer regardless of how you use it, but a laptop would be more reliable. As for fragility, a laptop might be slightly more durable by being able to put it in reasonable padding material, and laptops are a presently a little more solid, but you still shouldn't drop them, and the screens can be destroyed on the thin-and-light models easily.

 

If you do have your heart set on a desktop, you might still be limited by the AC inverter in the RV unless you have external power. To increase the durability, don't have the case mounted into the frame of the RV, and make sure it's in "Desktop" position rather than "Tower". Another thing that can be done is to modify the chasis so that one side of the tower is heavily padded (eg the bottom/right panel) and then use a bungee cords to hold the case down and together.

 

The main problem will be the heavy heatsinks on the CPU and GPU. Under normal conditions, even having the PC bungeed to something like a cushion would be sufficient, but if you slam the brakes on the vehicle, and the inertia manages to knock it pretty hard and bounce back, it might tear the heatsink off the CPU, or rip the motherboard mount points. I don't know what would be an appropriate solution for this other than maybe create a chassis mount anchor with a screw/bolt (just speculating at this point based on older laptop heatsink designs.) 

 

I'd certainly recommend not having any mechanical drives and optical drives.

 

 

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Get a laptop or a tablet. We use tablets and our phones when we travel in our Minnie Winnie. Wifi is not a issue at MOST Rv parks but when drydocking by a lake (or when I can in general) I use my unlimited data plan.

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A big laptop is definitely the preferred option if it could be arranged. They’re made to be dropped and stuffed in backpacks and lugged around.  Some of them are even built to spend their lives in bouncing vehicles.  Something with video out and a connector for a GPU might  take care of that big screen thing at least to some degree.  Still power issues etc..  maybe something with a respectable CPU but that has no discrete GPU of its own and then have an eGPU for the big screen.  Makes it more portable for carrying around but still capable of 1080p high refresh or 1440p low refresh gaming.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

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I used to be an over the road truck driver, and honestly I'd burn through a laptop a year in that thing. I had HDD's fail, hinges snap, you name it. I have a pile of old laptops sitting in my garage now from those days.

 

I think it really comes down to how it is mounted. If I were to do it today I would go exclusively with SSD. But there's no way I'd do it today, because being an over the road truck driver sucks, and I got out with 23 years good behavior.

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On 1/23/2020 at 12:58 AM, AnonAMuse said:

I have a thought experiment ;

 

 

  I live in a recreational vehical  in the lower 48 states , and I was wondering if any one has thought of the computers habits of screws loosing during long travels over roads. I know that in some cases it might be a good thing to put a thread locker compound on some of the screws to stop this, but is that the only thing that could work?

   Another thing not directly related to the screws but with the vibration aspect. Do the computers in general have other problems have a higher chance of overheating / part faluire due to the change in weather patterns as an R.V. travels from temperate locations to more desert like locations in say a 24 hour period?

I use to drag a laptop cross country by plane, taxi, car, motorcycle, subway for years...never had any issues with screws loosening.  Desktop shouldn't have any problem either.

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