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99 Bravada car pc project - many questions

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  • 99 Bravada car pc project - many questions

    I hope this is the right section to post this topic as I have various hardware related questions. As the title says I am planning on installing a car pc in a 99 Bravada. This is the second phase of my project. The first phase, which I am currently working on, is putting a vortec 350 engine in. But that is a topic of a totally different forum. I anticipate the first phase of the project will take another month or two but I am starting the planning for phase two right now.

    Here is my plan (subject to change) for my car pc setup. My overall goal is to keep everything as stock looking as possible. First of all for the PC part I will be using a old HP laptop with an AMD dual core processor and 1GB ram (I can't remember all the specs off hand). I will likely be using Centrafuse as the user interface. If I come across more money in the future I may upgrade the computer. Some of the things I want this system to do are GPS (if possible run off my EVO 3d through the pc system, if not I will get a separate adapter), mp3/streaming internet radio via cell tethering, hands free calling via cell bluetooth connection, backup camera/surveillance system and OBD2 diagnostics (I am sure I will think of other things).

    My first issue is regarding the audio system. I currently have two 12'' subwoofers in a big box that take up a lot of space. I want to do a low profile setup that doesn't take up any cargo space. Also I don't want to spend extra money for amplifiers for my door speakers so I can eliminate my head unit. All those things made me come up with an unconventional idea that as far as I can tell hasn't been tried (maybe for a good reason that I am unaware of). My idea is to purchase a 5.1 or 7.1 surround system designed for a pc and install that in place of a normal car stereo install connected to a usb audio adapter of some sort on my laptop. I know that wont win me any car audio competitions but unless I am missing something here if I purchase a decent system it should sound good. And on top of that I wont have to use additional amplifiers and the subwoofer will be small. Keep in mind I mostly listen to hard rock/metal so I don't need window rattling bass.Does anyone see any problems with this plan?

    The next issue is installing the touchscreen. I noticed this website sells a lilliput screen with the proper mounting hardware for my Bravada for about $300 here. I have been able to find the same model screen used in this kit for around $150. Is it possible to get all the mounting hardware needed for under $150? I am trying to save every penny I can here as I already have a few grand in the new engine. Also I read somewhere that if if I use a RDS bezel from an 03 or newer blazer the opening is bigger and will take a full double din screen without having to modify the housing of the screen. Does anyone know anything about this?

    Another thing I thought about doing is having multiple hidden cameras (perhaps hooked up to a usb hub) throughout my vehicle in case of theft or in case some police try to violate my rights (they record us so why not record them). I want to eventually have a camera in the drivers side mirror and passenger side mirror and in various other places (in addition to a backup camera). What I would like to find (if it is even out there) are "multi sided" mirrors where the camera can be placed behind the mirror and see through it. Does anyone know where I could find something like that? Has anyone attempted a surveillance camera system like I have in mind? It would be nice if I could set this up so all I have to do is push a button and all the cameras start recording and when my car alarm is triggered the cameras start recording (I have the stock car alarm that came with the vehicle, I believe it is called delco lock or something like that). What would be even better is if I could stream the video to my home pc in real time via cell tethering in the event my vehicle or any part of my car pc system is confiscated and/or stolen. That way I would have a backup of the recording.This will likely be the last part of the car pc set up I do.

    The last issue I can see (for now) is cooling for my laptop. I don't know if any of you have owned HP/Compaq laptops but they get extremely hot due to improper cooling (I have to have a fan blowing on it at all times or it overheats). Do you guys have any ideas for cooling a laptop in a vehicle? I think I am going to end up mounting it in the back somewhere. I do want to have it set up so I can remove it from the vehicle easily and use it outside the vehicle. I thought about making a custom mount where I can slide the laptop in and all the plugs (usb, vga, power, ect) will plug in when you slide the laptop into the mount (if that made any sense).

    That is all the questions I have for now. Again I apologize if I posted this in the wrong section. I know this sounds like a big project but I plan on doing in in stages starting with the pc, touchscreen and audio system then building it up from there possibly using a better pc in the future when my budget permits.

  • #2
    I just found this so it looks like a pc speaker system is out of the question. Looks like I will be getting a 4 channel amplifier for my door speakers and dealing with a large subwoofer box until I can afford something low profile. What is the best way to run the audio signal from the pc to the amplifiers without using a head unit? Is there a way of powering the door speakers without an additional amplifier? I want to say (I am not 100% sure) the door speakers are 50 or 60 watts.