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  1. Car Computer Install: Wiring The Car

    by , 11-30-2011 at 04:41 PM

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    Sean Clark, from mp3Car, shows us how the various components in the vehicle are wired. Getting power cables through the firewall is one of the more difficult aspects of any install. In this case, drilling through the firewall of the Altima in the wheel well proves to be the best option. Be sure to use plenty of fire-retardant adhesive on these holes once the wires are fed through. Running the power cables to the trunk can be done along the sill of the driver door. Use care when prying the panel loose. A trim removal tool is recommended to prevent scratching of your OEM parts. The backup camera switching wire and accessory turn on wire are also run along the driver door sill. Wires that aren't associated with powering any device are run along the passenger side sill to prevent interference. These include the front speaker wires, an HDMI video cable, a USB touch cable, a USB iPhone cable, a USB OBD-II cable, a USB cable for an aux input, and a microphone 3.5mm audio cable.
  2. Hardware Review: Xenarc 700TSU USB Powered Touchscreen Monitor

    by , 10-13-2011 at 09:27 AM

    What is it?

    The Xenarc 700TSU is a USB controlled and powered 7-inch touchscreen monitor with optional composite support.

    The Verdict:

    The 700TSU takes a pretty large leap forward into making USB only touchscreen devices available to use as primary monitors. It maintains the rather stellar build quality of other Xenarc devices, while reducing the number of cables needed to operate the display. It's rather bulky when compared to other USB monitors, but with that size comes some pretty nice configuration options the segment has not yet seen.

    See the Xenarc 700TSU on the mp3Car Store here.



    What’s in the box?

    The Xenarc 700TSU comes packed with much more than most USB monitors include. There's the monitor, and a USB & composite (2 sets) cable for starters. Couple those with an optional 5v power brick, a cigarette lighter adapter, VESA mount, a full featured remote control, stylus pen, driver cd, and a host of operation manuals.


    Description:

    If you are a regular reader of the product review section, you may have noticed an abundance of reviews and videos regarding touchscreens recently. This is a great thing for the community, as newer touchscreens seem to come out regularly with better brightness, sunlight readability, cabling and power options. As a whole, we've seen a pretty dramatic evolution of these devices, and the Xenarc 700TSU attempts to keep true to that idea.

    The initial concept we've seen before. The 700TSU is a 7-inch touchscreen monitor which can be powered and controlled solely by USB. This means instead of having to poke around for VGA, or HDMI plugs, one (or occasionally two) USB ports instantly power up and display your PC through this unit. This technology is available by use of a special driver suite called DisplayLink, and the 700TSU uses the latest version of this driver to display a clear and crisp image whether what's displayed is static or in motion.


    This capability with DisplayLink in the 700TSU is the best I have personally seen. First generation devices left pictures dull and grainy, and made videos appear distorted and choppy. The 700TSU looks every bit as good as a VGA quality screen, and the controller for the 700TSU actually allows resolution options, again, a feat unseen in the USB segment before. Even at wide angles the 700TSU does an excellent job of providing a quality image.


    Instead of settling for this enhancement in the device, Xenarc took a larger step forward by incorporating two sets of composite connectors. This allows for an even larger array of devices that can be used with this screen. Instead of requiring one USB, the 700TSU allows you to run one of it's two auxiliary power options to the screen and display the composite device, sound included. Xenarc was gracious enough to remember to include the auto-switch composite signalling, so that people who intend to install a backup camera still have that option available with the 700TSU.


    The only drawback to all of this flexibility is the fact that the Xenarc, when compared to the other USB touchscreens, is quite large. That's not to say that it is ridiculously large. In fact, appearance-wise it looks pretty much identical to the Xenarc 700TSV VGA monitor. Only when compared to competing products from Mimo and Lilliput does the 700TSU's girth stand out. Remember though that with those competing devices all you get is USB.


    The only other problem with the Xenarc 700TSU is an inherent problem with all USB touchscreens at this time. They all require the PC to be loaded with drivers to display. That means you get no BIOS, no windows loading notification, or anything until the DisplayLink drivers are up and running.

    The Positive:

    • High quality screen available with only a single USB connection
    • Composite connectors allow for various installations
    • Several different power options available
    • Auto-switch with composite connection included
    • Only USB touchscreen with a full configuration menu, brightness, contrast etc can all be set
    • Resolution options are available, a first in the segment


    The Negative:

    • Size of display is large compared to competing USB screens
    • That annoying wait for drivers to load before display works


    The Verdict:

    The 700TSU takes a pretty large leap forward into making USB only touchscreen devices available to use as primary monitors. It maintains the rather stellar build quality of other Xenarc devices, while reducing the number of cables needed to operate the display. It's rather bulky when compared to other USB monitors, but with that size comes some pretty nice configuration options the segment has not yet seen.

    For more specifications on the Xenarc 700TSU click here
    For a video comparing the Xenarc 700TSU with the other latest USB Touchscreens click here
    For more pictures of the 700TSU click here

  3. 7 Inch USB Touchscreen Showdown

    by , 10-06-2011 at 10:51 AM
    In this second series comparing the latest 7" touchscreens we have the Xenarc 700TSU, the Mimo 720f 2G, and the Lilliput UM70C/T USB connected monitors. Check out the video below to assist you in deciding if a USB touchscreen is right for you and which one should you currently consider.

  4. Car Computer Install: Head Unit Removal

    by , 09-14-2011 at 11:52 AM

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    Sean, from mp3Car, shows us how he removes the factory dash panel from his Nissan Altima. It's important to do a little research to see exactly how your specific dash panel is removed. Print instructions found online and bring them to your car for reference as you work. In this specific vehicle, the HVAC controls will be integrated into the mp3Car Direct Fit Kit so they will be removed from the factory dash panel and attached to the replacement kit.
  5. 2011 7 Inch Touchscreen Showdown

    by , 09-07-2011 at 03:02 PM
    New to the scene and searching through the latest in touch screen devices? Maybe looking to upgrade an aging display with something more modern and feature rich? Check out this video for a quick glimpse of the most recent 7" touchscreen devices and how they compare with each other.

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