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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Used laptops are a dime a dozen... why couldn't one be used as a carputer, in conjunction with a USB touchscreen?

You could buy a USB navigation package for it, for about 200 bucks.
Generally you have built in DVD and CD capability.
You could use 95% of the hard drive space to store MP3's
You could use the other 5% to run Car Media Software, and NAVI software.

A laptop is fairly durable, could be modified to run off 12DC, and could be stashed in the trunk.

Am I way out to lunch here, or is this too easy?

Jimmy :)
 

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Here are some things to think about:

-What kinda laptop would you need to buy if you want to run a Navi software?
-Sure, the laptop would have a built-in DVD/CD, but do you want to pull the car over every time you want to change ac dvd/cd?
-How would you run audio? Do you plan on keeping your head unit?
-How would you deal with the boot up/shut down of the laptop?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I can get a dozen used P3 laptops (750 meg) with 256K RAM for $150.00/each.

A vertical mount USB external DVD / CD ROM goes for $48.00 (mount it in the center armrest area)

Use 'audio output' from the laptop into my car amp. Control volume through the touchscreen (Car Media Software).

The laptop could easily be turned on and off through a timed relay circuit, which is wired into the cars ignition circuit.


Jimmy :)
 

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JimmyDee said:
The laptop could easily be turned on and off through a timed relay circuit, which is wired into the cars ignition circuit.
I wouldn't do that, because sometimes I have a short drive, and the time that it would take the computer to shut down/boot up would take almost the entire drive.

Instead, what if you go to power settings and have the computer hybernate when the power is off? That way it barely uses any power and when you come back all you need to do is touch the screen and you're good to go again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
PhatRabbitzz said:
JimmyDee said:
The laptop could easily be turned on and off through a timed relay circuit, which is wired into the cars ignition circuit.
I wouldn't do that, because sometimes I have a short drive, and the time that it would take the computer to shut down/boot up would take almost the entire drive.

Instead, what if you go to power settings and have the computer hybernate when the power is off? That way it barely uses any power and when you come back all you need to do is touch the screen and you're good to go again.

P.s: If you don't mind me asking, what kind of laptop can you get for $150/each?
'

I had thought of theHibernate idea. It is probably the best way to go about doing it. Ideally, I'd like to have it so that it could detect if there was no signal coming in (IE. when the car is turned off), and would automatically put it into Hibernate right away. They you could just touch the screen as soon as you get in the car to reactivate it.

I've seen a number of companies (including the one I work for) who buy new laptops for their employess every 3 years. They often sell the old ones for dirt cheap (or sometimes just give them away to charities or schools). Our company just sold a dozen P3 laptops for 150 bucks each. Basically, once you upgrade, the old ones are of no use to the company.

Feel free to chime in with any new or better ideas... I know Paul (Quality Sound) is looking at Carputer ideas too. I'd like to hear what he has in mind. I just thought the laptop might be a good option, as it is self-contained, portable, and fairly durable.

Jimmy :)
 

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I think if you go to control pannel and power settings you can set it up that when the computer isn't getting any power it can go into hybernate mode "After 1 min", "After 2 mins."...etc.

Also, if you'd want to power up all 4 speakers you'd need to get a 4 channel amp, or keep the head unit.

-Where would you mount the laptop?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
PhatRabbitzz said:
I think if you go to control pannel and power settings you can set it up that when the computer isn't getting any power it can go into hybernate mode "After 1 min", "After 2 mins."...etc.

Also, if you'd want to power up all 4 speakers you'd need to get a 4 channel amp, or keep the head unit.

-Where would you mount the laptop?
Well, I already have a Rockford Fosgate 4-channel amp in my car.
The laptop I currently have, has 5.1 Dolby Surround audio built into it... although I'm sure my company would be pissed if I started modifying my current laptop to use as a carputer... I'm looking out for more cheap deals on used ones. Will post when I find something.

I'm thinking the laptop would go in the trunk...

Jimmy :)
 

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well to get those power options and other fetures you mentioned(media pc) you need an underlying windows XP install which IMO is gonna run like crap on a $150 laptop and be slow, etc, also the SQ coming out of the 1/4" jack on a lappy is weaksauce, so a seperate sound solution(pcmcia most likely) would be in order, I would also suggest needing to run it to the inputs to your HU for sound switching duties, also you will need to find a navi software package that doesnt require you to have the cd/dvd in the drive to use(some progs like clonecd/fakecd? will allow total HD install). also I fail to see how you would run the touch screen being it usually accepts rca signals which most lappy's(old ones like what you are suggesting) dont have tv out anyway, so that is another issue, all in all seems like more trouble than it is worth to me, I also kicked this idea around abit, honestly I think a older "shoe box" pc could be assembled for around $200, run off an inverter in trunk and has tv out built in, and would probably fit into the driver side rear compartment if you cut out one of the shelves in there, my suggestion would be the shuttle SV25, I have one and it is really small like litterally a shoe box, and it is indeed smaller than the regular SFF box's out there. If nothing else you can dissasemble it and just use mobo and PSU out of it, the mobo is the smallest out of the SFF's I have seen and runs off a intel 810 chipset, sdram, and socket 370 interface, I have mine equiped with a 1.2ghz celly and 256sdram as a HTPC in my LR , works great on divx files no skipping/lag, but it did falter with the included 1.3gigapro via processor it came with which isnt as beefy, well under resource hog windows at least :oops:

~les
 

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nugglife4me said:
well to get those power options and other fetures you mentioned(media pc) you need an underlying windows XP install
Wrong.

nugglife4me said:
you will need to find a navi software package that doesnt require you to have the cd/dvd in the drive to use(some progs like clonecd/fakecd? will allow total HD install).
IGuidance 2.0

nugglife4me said:
I fail to see how you would run the touch screen being it usually accepts rca signals
Wrong, touch screen connects to computer via USB.

nugglife4me said:
my suggestion would be the shuttle SV25
Not a bad suggestion.
 

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What would be nice is utilizing the LCD screen of the laptop as the display. I have an old Hitachi traveller with a 10"screen (i think) that I want to mount in the center. question is how can i wire this to a carputer?
 

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veedubyo,

Do you mean that you want to mount the laptop up front?

If that's what you want then it should only a case of wiring your laptop audio out to the aux input of your head unit and providing a power supply.

I had a sony viao subnotebook with a 10.4" display, (srx51 in europe, I think that was the srx88 in the US) in my last ride but I found it to be a bit bulky with the kbd and all the rest in the way and ended up replacing it with a touch screen and mini-itx unit.
 

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No, I mean is to rape the notebook and utilize the lcd itself. I was wondering if its possible to make up a cable adapter to power up and connect the LCD screen to a carputer in the trunk.

My ideal setup would be to have the HDD and motherboard componenets in the armrest location (B5.5). A slot dvd drive in the blank portion of the Double din console (Ex-B5 cupholder). and the 10" screen in place of the HU. touchscreen would be nice but a mini tracball mouse can go a long way.

another way I've been thinking is to make a makeshift docking port under the glove box.
 

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If you really want to do that you could, just open it up to find out the model of the panel then google for specs, that will probably throw up the spec. sheet with the PIN outs for the PCB and then it is just a case of soldering on vga and power cables. If you plan to use the rest of the laptop as your 'puter then you can reconnect these to you laptop and use it to power the panel. Sort of like a standard laptop except with a long range display.
 

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PhatRabbitzz said:
nugglife4me said:
well to get those power options and other fetures you mentioned(media pc) you need an underlying windows XP install
Wrong.

nugglife4me said:
you will need to find a navi software package that doesnt require you to have the cd/dvd in the drive to use(some progs like clonecd/fakecd? will allow total HD install).
IGuidance 2.0

nugglife4me said:
I fail to see how you would run the touch screen being it usually accepts rca signals
Wrong, touch screen connects to computer via USB.

nugglife4me said:
my suggestion would be the shuttle SV25
Not a bad suggestion.
think he meant the video signal and not the touch screen signal.

The video signal can be converted from VGA to composite using a $40.00 scan coverter .

Anyways , the monitors that comes with touch screen , like liliput usualyy accept VGA signals

I run Media software on my carputer over windows 2000 it works like a charm...
 

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FYI

If anybody is looking for good info about a Carputer just go over to www.mp3car.com it's an enitre site dedicated to computer in cars. I will have the laptop setup in my car Dell Inspiron 4150, so plenty of juice for use with Routis 2004 (navigation software), DVD's, and pretty much anything esle I could want. I also like the fact that this laptop has a dock which I've soldered some wires to, to work as the power button and I don't have to mess with wires. Also for those that want to keep there stock head unit and cd changer the only way to get an input into the head unit is the Pie-x3. I would also recommend the Lilliput Touch Screen LCD it works great with a mounting bracket from www.proclipusa.com. That's just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Re: FYI

channo21 said:
If anybody is looking for good info about a Carputer just go over to www.mp3car.com it's an enitre site dedicated to computer in cars. I will have the laptop setup in my car Dell Inspiron 4150, so plenty of juice for use with Routis 2004 (navigation software), DVD's, and pretty much anything esle I could want. I also like the fact that this laptop has a dock which I've soldered some wires to, to work as the power button and I don't have to mess with wires. Also for those that want to keep there stock head unit and cd changer the only way to get an input into the head unit is the Pie-x3. I would also recommend the Lilliput Touch Screen LCD it works great with a mounting bracket from www.proclipusa.com. That's just my 2 cents.
2 cents appreciated... let us know how it works out.

Jimmy :)
 
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