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My Custom Built Car PC

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  • My Custom Built Car PC

    I've just recently finished re-building my Car PC from the ground up. The case was Custom Built by my-self entirely out of transparent Perspex.

    Iím still using Windows to deal with everything at the moment (Music, DVDís, GPS, and Internet etc) as I havenít fully decided on a front end just yet.


    Here is what my Car PC had to before:

    -ECS Nforce 3 Skt939 ATX Motherboard
    -AMD X2 4600+
    -2x 512 Mb PC3200 DDR (1 GB, Dual Channel)
    -8 GB 133x Compact Flash (Windows XP)
    -Creative X-Fi Xterme Music Sound Card
    -PCI to PCMCI Adapter
    -T-Mobile PCMCIA 3G\GPRS Data Card
    -DVD-RW
    -USB GPS
    -Media Centre Remote Control & Keyboard
    -In Dash Motorised LCD Screen
    -350W ATX Power Supply & 600W Inverter
    -AGP NVIDIA Ti4600 128Mb Graphics Card


    Here is my new configuration:

    -Asus AV8-VM SE Skt939 Micro-ATX Motherboard
    -AMD X2 4600+
    -2x 512 Mb PC3200 DDR (1 GB, Dual Channel)
    -Seagate 160Gb SATA Drive (Windows XP)
    -Creative X-Fi Xterme Music Sound Card
    -PCI to PCMCI Adapter
    -T-Mobile PCMCIA 3G\GPRS Data Card
    -DVD-RW
    -USB GPS
    -Media Centre Remote Control & Keyboard
    -In Dash Motorised LCD Screen
    -220W MPEGBOX DSATX PSU
    -PCI-E NVIDIA 6600 128Mb DDR

    It doesn't look like I've changed much from what you can see above, but Windows now flyís it takes literally a couple of seconds and it's already booted up and has music playing. The compact flash drive was simply too slow, so I had to think of how I could install a fully working 3.5" Hard Drive which can take shocks. I designed a spring board which the hard drive would mount on to and I've tried going down some very bumpy roads and the hard drive doesn't miss a beat. Did a chkdsk and there isn't a single bad sector

    The DSATX PSU now controls when the computer turns on and off via the ignition, making things much easier.

    The case is completely transparent and designed to be as small as it can possibly be, still allowing enough cooling for all the components. I could have made it a lot smaller if all the PCI cards were low-profile and could have made it even smaller still if I had used a slim DVD-RW and 2.5" Hard Drive. But I'm very happy with what I've built so far.

    I'm hoping I can use this as a prototype to build more. I will get some pictures as soon, the case looks very nice in the dark with the multi-coloured LEDís from the chassis fan.

    Any questions, please feel free to ask.

  • #2
    Sounds fast. before during after....PICS?
    My 2000 Accord Project

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    • #3
      I've still got the old case, so I can get some before and after pics and I've got some pics to upload which I took while I was building it (during pics) which I'll have to upload to the computer.

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      • #4
        Wow, those are some AWESOME pictures!
        "Life doesn't forgive weakness."
        2001 Mitsubishi Galant ES - 5 Speed Conversion/KYB AGX/Tein S-Tech/Addco Rear Swaybar/Injen CAI/Megan Catback Exhaust

        CarPC [----------] 30% Complete

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        • #5
          OK. We see the project.....

          Where's the showing off?
          Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
          How about the Wiki?



          Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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          • #6
            I hit a bit of a problem with the DSATX power supply, as it supplys 5v Stand-by power to the motherboard when the car is turned off and it's enough to drain the starter battery, espicially during short journeys. But I've overcome this problem by adding a second battery (110AH 12V Deep Cycle) in the boot which is connected through a split charge relay, isolating the computer from the starter battery when the car ignition is off.

            I will be uploading all the pictures of the install when I get home tonight.

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            • #7
              Before Pictures

              The following 3 pictures are of the old black desktop PC I was using with the previous car PC system:





              These next 2 pictures are of the old 12v-240v Power Inverter I was using before to power the car PC system which can drain up to 1500W Peck even though it struggles to supply anything over 350W:


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              • #8
                During Pictures

                This is were I was working out what size the case would need to be and were everything should be mounted inside the case. I made a few change to the layout before I made a final decision.

                As you can see it's 370x240(mm's) (Length\Width) and I later decided on 130mm's in height due to the fact I was using full size PCI cards.




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                • #9
                  After Pictures

                  These first two pictures are of the in dash LCD Screen:




                  Then the rest are of the install it's self in the boot of the car:












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                  • #10
                    Opinions would be much appreciated, everyone I've shown it to so far in person seems to want one of these as a desktop PC in their home, although this particular PC I built only for use in the Car.

                    Keep in my mind the glue you see on the back is going to be scrapped of, I was in a rush to get it finished at the time as I was going out and needed the computer for Navigation.

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                    • #11
                      Do you have a better camera? It looks like you took photos on a camera phone...

                      As far as I can tell from those it looks butt ugly and sloppy (especially the epoxy job on the acrylic case) but I'd like to see some further zoomed out shots and better pics of the interior.
                      "You're just about as useless as JPEGs to Helen Keller" - Wierd Al

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                      • #12
                        Somebody used too much glue!

                        If you ever re-do the case, there is this great acrylic bonder that is thinner than water. It evaporates in air in seconds, and you need a syringe to apply it, but it fuses the plastic together and it is clear. Completely. You can spill as much of it as you want, and it is clear. Just make sure you get clean edges.

                        And what is that big yellow thing that was ontop your case when it was in the boot/trunk? Also zipties are your friends!
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                        • #13
                          I'll see if I can get some better pictures during the day for you. The epoxy isn't what drapped down the side of the case. It was glue from a glue gun so it does scrap of, the epoxy glue I used takes about 10minutes to dry so I used a glue gun to hold everything in place while it was drying. But the pictures don't realy give it much justice, will try to get some better pics.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the info on acrylic glue, I'll keep that in mind for the next time around

                            The orange thing is just the external hard disk, it's USB 2.0 160Gb and shock-proof. I take this in over night with me to copy new music and videos on to.

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                            • #15
                              To be honest I've got more than enough perspex left over to re-build the case so I'm considering using this as a prototype and re-building it minus all the defects (i.e. the glue). It's just so time consuming to cut it all to size and make all the mounting holes.

                              I'll let a month or so go by and then once I'm happy I know what all the design defects are and that the system it's self is working fine, then I'll go ahead and re-build the case. But for the time being I'm going to keep this as my end project, which I don't think is too bad considering it was my first attempt at building my own case and is over half the size and weight of the original car PC I built.

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