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  • Newbie needs help.

    Hello everyone, and thank you in advance for any info you can give me.

    I am no newbie to forums, but this one i just stumbled upon.
    I am a member of several other forums and ALWAYS find them to be the richest source of help on the net.

    I simply need some general direction and advise.

    I am a jeeper, i have an old jeep that i drive daily as well as take off road as often as i can. As you can probably guess, a 1982 jeep doesnt exactly have a cadillac ride quality. and you really get beat up on the trails. all of this makes any form of CD technology useless in an old jeep. unless you like to listen to your music in small burps between skips.
    I currently have a minidisk player, which helps but still is limiting.

    I decided the best way to go is to install a computer into my jeep.
    I could then play MP3 from the drive, i could run my GPS software on the PC, and use it as a dvd player or what not. (i am sure you guys all know that though)

    I am a computer tech by profession, so i can do most everything myself.

    I was originally going to just rig up a mount for my good laptop for the jeep, but that is big and in the way, and easy target for theft.

    i was wondering if there is a good way to get a smaller cheaper system that can be run in the car that would allow me to do all i need without taking up lots of passenger space or comfort.
    I have heard of guys buying old laptops and taking the lcd out and mounting it remotely and then shoving the cpu portion out of the way.
    but then what do you do about keyboard and mouse?

    I am sure someone in here, or many of you, have done or at least looked into this.

    i dont want to spend a ton. (this vehicle sees alot of abuse, so to install a $2000 electronic setup in it would be insane)
    I just want a good cheap computer i can rig up in my car for MP3 GPS and Movies.

    i was thinking maybe like a small form factor cheap old home PC mounted somewhere in the car powered with an inverter, and somehow rig up a touchpad screen and keyboard in the cab.

    what kind of processing power would i need to play mp3 dvd and gps smoothly? I have an old pentium pro 200mhz desktop at home that seems to play mp3 avi and such just dandy (almost as well as my dual athlon MP graphics workstation). do i need any more than this? (i have a REAL old pentium 100 laptop i could use too if it would cut the mustard)

    give me your words of wisdom oh gurus of digital cars.

  • #2
    i'm not sure about the space issues.. but a ppro would not do DVD.
    '98 Explorer Sport (down atm)
    AMD 800mhz 192megs RAM 60gig hard drive 9 inch widescreen VGA
    80% done


    • #3
      A nice 7in VGA screen is fairly expensive.

      You'll probably want a RF Wireless Keyboard (with a mouse/trackball even better). Tuck it away under the seat when not in use.

      You may be able to cut corners on the PC. A 200mhz pentium pro is a little too slow. Scrounge ebay for something that fits your needs. A broken laptop may work. Tuck it under the other seat.
      Smart Playlists Plugin for RoadRunner
      CarPC - 05 Acura TL Navi (pics soon)
      Retired CarPC - 03 Infiniti Qx4


      • #4
        shuttle FV25 motherboard $110 -
        celeron 1.3 - $50
        epia m10000 motherboard - for about $150, that has a processor on it
        Ram- depends on which board you want but 256mb is plenty
        harddrive- $10-$200 depends on the size and speed, at least 40gig
        Keyboard, mouse- you can get a good all in one wireless for about $60
        DVD player - get a slot load about $70
        And a head Unit...if you want radio, but somepeople will just scrap that and put in an amp.
        Of course Software- OS, xp is pretty fast and does the job well when you have fast hardware.
        recommended power supply opus solutions 150 watt DC-DC- about $200
        gps with software copilot $350 - recommended, but you can work around this if you are resourcefull

        and screens can run anywhere between $50 and about $600, depends on if you want a touch screen or not, what size, and brightness.

        after you start doing it, you'll just want to add more and

        so what's your max $ limit?

        the laptop would probably only work for mp3 playing....

        Ebay is a great place for just about everything....!!!!!!!!


        • #5
          hmmm build a pc for my car??

          very interesting.
          As i pointed out i am a computer tech.
          i spent several years as a computer systems consultant and system builder, so i know all about custom built PC's
          I just never realized that there was such a market for in car PC's.

          I can easily shop around and buy all the basic computer parts to build a system, but my issues were with input and display mostly.

          I was not aware they made power supplies for a pc in a car. that is cool.
          is this better or cheaper than running a cheap old atx off of a power inverter? (i am planning on putting an inverter in for other things as well. so spending $200 on a 150w ps seems a bit much if an 800w power inverter ($80) and free atx 300w supply will do the job fine.)

          I actually have a nice gigabyte mobo and duron 800 sitting on my shelf from my last upgrade. that would probably be nice in my car.

          but it takes me back to the point of wanting to keep it cheap so i am not at a huge loss if it gets busted.

          you have to understand the crap this jeep goes thru. this is by far not your nice low rider honda civic that thinks a pothole is alot of action. this jeep has been used to cross rivers, and drive thru mud over 2' deep. much of the time the top is off, and yes much of the time it rains on me when the top is at home. so for this ride i dont want to invest alot. i pretty much want the cheapest setup that will do the jobs asked of it.

          i have never worried about "what is just enuf" as i am more of the "need all the power i can get" type. so that is why i ask what is the minimum requirements.

          i would like to use as many old used or free parts as i can. I have a box of old hard drives at home from 500mb up to 30gb. i have cpus and mobos dating back to the 386. i have 2 milk crates of old at and atx power supplies. the list goes on. (at work we are about to throw away a bunch of fully working Mac 7100's, perhaps i could use one of them for now, any idea how they handle mp3 and gps? i am not a mac guy, i just know they are slow like 100mhz)

          Now knowing how easy it is to just use a home computer and adapt it to the car that part i can handle. i can build the actual computer without problem.
          i need you guys to help me pick out the best / cheapest means of interfacing with it.

          i wont be like typing papers or anything like that on it, but i would like keyboard capability for things such as searching for a MP3, or typing in the name of a place on the GPS. so i need keyboard input but nothing to fancy. what i will need is a easy way to do simple things like changing songs, or recenter or zooming a map etc. so i imagine some type of mouse device would work well. touchscreen would be cool as hell, but again i would rather not have a $700 screen fry on me after a lil mud gets splashed on it. again, i want to keep it cheap, replacable and if need be disposable.

          so what is the best cheap way to do this. normally i would try to have the coolest setup with all the bells and whistles, but this time i am going for bare functionality and cost effectivness. what is a good cheap display that can take a bit of abuse but still look good and be read in bright sunlight. what is a good keyboard mouse choice?
          and what would you suggest as far as good and cheap cpu and such?
          could i get away with like a 300mhz and 128mb ram? or will i just wish i had more. I am not going to be gaming or doing photoshop in my car, but i do want it to work decently for what it will be doing.

          the key here is keep it cheap, but functional.

          i need your advice.


          • #6

            that's my thread on my jeep

            for more info check it out @

            it sounds like a little more advanced than you desire
            if you are going to build your own you *might* be able to fit an epia m in the glove box, that's a big *might* though, hence y i went with the tuffy underseat route

            1997 Jeep Wrangler Rugged Waves

            Ebay Stuff For Sale


            • #7
              Re: Newbie needs help.

              For display I would recommend one of the 7" in-dash touchscreens from ($360). Kinda pricey, but it's actually cheap in comparison to some screens out there and it's the perfect solution for an MP3Car.

              For the computer, the previous suggestion is a good one. Just search the internet for ITX form factor computers. They are nice and small. You should be able to find a case, motherboard, processor package for less than $300. Then just add memory, maybe a video card, and the hard drive (along with your in-dash screen). You should be able to put together a really nice system, screen and all, for under $1000. When searching for ITX computers look for package deals that include the memory and hard drive. You could probably find a package with everything except video (unless it's built into the motherboard) for around $500.

              Don't forget, whatever video card you get (whether it is onboard the motherboard or an AGP card) needs to have a TV-OUT for your screen. You can get VGA screens, but it is a $200-$300 price jump and I don't think you would need one for what your trying to do.

              By the way, I love this line :

              Originally posted by KenTheJeepGuy

              give me your words of wisdom oh gurus of digital cars.