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  • Approx. cost of getting a laptop wired....

    and running in the car? I have a spare that I'm not using that would fit well under the passenger seat, but would like to know what everyone's thoughts are about powering the unit. Can I hardline it into the DC power to the battery? I've searched, and found some useful bits of info, but I'm still unclear................I will be using a Gateway Solo 1150 (my spare), and it currently doesn't have a dvd-rom. I'd like to add one, but I don't know if it has the system resources to do so.......any ideas? It's got a 600mhz processor, 192mb ram, 5 gig HD, and I'm not sure about the video card. Can I add an external DVD drive, or what would be the best way to incorporate this into my system?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Namirrem
    and running in the car? I have a spare that I'm not using that would fit well under the passenger seat, but would like to know what everyone's thoughts are about powering the unit. Can I hardline it into the DC power to the battery? I've searched, and found some useful bits of info, but I'm still unclear................I will be using a Gateway Solo 1150 (my spare), and it currently doesn't have a dvd-rom. I'd like to add one, but I don't know if it has the system resources to do so.......any ideas? It's got a 600mhz processor, 192mb ram, 5 gig HD, and I'm not sure about the video card. Can I add an external DVD drive, or what would be the best way to incorporate this into my system?

    There's a thread on here somewhere about this topic. In short it depends on the power requirements of your laptop. What are the specs of your AC adapter?

    My Compaq M300 AC adapter puts out something like 19 VDC. I gambled and plugged it into the cigarette lighter and it worked great. I've moved on to a dedicated mini-itx, but I think a laptop would be a great platform if it will work!

    What are you going to do about a display? Some sort of external video screen ala Lilliput or Xenarc would feed right into the laptop's external VGA feed just fine.

    I'll let someone else speak to the DVD issue.

    -- divideoverflow
    (wasting time at work)

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    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply.....

      If I can connect it to the computer, I will be getting a vga touchscreen that I'll either fit into an in-dash housing, or just directly into the dash. I'm thinking about either a Lilliput, Xenarc, or the new Starvision that noone knows anything about yet. If I can't connect it to the 'puter, I might just go TFT . I might just go ahead and get the VGA either way, as I will probably sometime in the future want GPS & computer capability. What are your thoughts? I'll try to find the voltage on google, and get back to you......

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      • #4
        600 mhz will run a DVD, but not well. You might be able to view it straight through ok, but switching chapters etc. will probably be choppy at best. You can get a MPEG II hardware decoder card that would smooth things out, but there real expensive for laptops and at that point you would be better off just getting a regular mini-itx computer or other updated PC and doing it right.

        If you power your laptop in your car, you really should NOT hook into the car's DC power directly, it is unregulated and could easily damage your laptop if it even works. You should get something like this for your laptop: http://www.hoct.com/audcporeadfo.html
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        • #5
          Thanks for the input, G_O_C.........the laptop is technically 550mhz, am I risking functionality? I'd like to be able to skip from chapter to chapter, but I'd also like to use the most cost-effective way possible, so that I can make other modifications to the car, and get a quality touchscreen. I found a car adapter for my laptop for 60 bucks, and it's voltage is rated at 19.0 V. Will this work for my application? Will my computer be able to run GPS software, or will I (because of processor speed) end up running in to a problem there as well?

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          • #6
            Try it, I'm going to try using my Gateway Solo 9300, which isn't that much faster. You really don't need much power for MP3s or GPS. I can play DVDs just fine, but I have an internal DVD drive. If you get an external DVD make sure its USB2 or firewire.
            EPoX mATX SocketA w/onboard Geforce4MX / 512MB PC2700 / AthlonXP 1600
            Lilliput / DVDrom / Opus 150W / WD 3.5" 160GB / SB Audigy NX
            XP home / Road Runner / iGuidance 4.0

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            • #7
              Uh-Oh, I might have a problem.........This is only USB 1.0. Is 2.0 required for the applications that I'm trying to run (GPS, keyboard/mouse, etc)? Because of the slow USB, and no firewire port, I might try to find a cheap compatible internal DVD drive - anybody have any idea where I could find one? (other than ebay, 'cause I'm already looking there). How do I find a drive that would be compatible with my laptop? I really appreciate everyone's help here!!!!!! I would be lost otherwise.................

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              • #8
                just get a USB 2.0 / Firewire cardbus PCCard that will solve your problem

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by god_of_cpu
                  600 mhz will run a DVD, but not well. You might be able to view it straight through ok, but switching chapters etc. will probably be choppy at best. You can get a MPEG II hardware decoder card that would smooth things out, but there real expensive for laptops and at that point you would be better off just getting a regular mini-itx computer or other updated PC and doing it right.

                  If you power your laptop in your car, you really should NOT hook into the car's DC power directly, it is unregulated and could easily damage your laptop if it even works. You should get something like this for your laptop: http://www.hoct.com/audcporeadfo.html
                  could i hardwire this directly to my cars dc?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by god_of_cpu
                    600 mhz will run a DVD, but not well.
                    I have a PIII 550mhz 128MD RAM and it runs DVDs just fine.

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                    • #11
                      If you don't have a DVD drive, and all you want it for is movies you may want to consider a stand alone car DVD player, www.tundraelectronics.com sells them. Including models w/ TV tuner

                      That adapter posted above is universal and only costs $19 for almost any laptop.

                      If you want to add a DVD drive to your laptop, as stated above get a USB 2.0 PCMCIA adapter, about $10-$20 on ebay.

                      There is also a cheap USB 2.0 to IDE adapter on ebay which will allow you to use any IDE drive, you could put a desktop HD and DVD in the car ($$CHEAP$$)

                      I am also using a laptop for my system. If you want to wire auto on when the car is started just put a relay accross your power button on the laptop, and connect it to your starter wire. When the engine is started it will turn on the computer ( you don't want to wire it to ACC because this will hold the switch closed until the car is turned off which will probably turn the laptop on and then right off)

                      Wire the power adapter to either a switched source in the car activated by the ignition (ie radio or power windows) or a relay which is turned on by a ignition activated source.

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                      • #12
                        I have a pIII 500 mhz dell laptop with 128mb memory, and I run all applications just fine. Including GPS, TV/FM radio, Webcam, DVD. My video card is like a 8mb ati card or something, nothing specatular.

                        http://www.bankingdom.com/carputer/carputer.html

                        I power it using a air/car adaptor which can be bought on ebay for about $50, maybe even less which regulates the cig lighter unregulated 12 VDC.

                        The biggest issue is how to turn the damn thing on. My power button for my laptop was located underneath the lcd when it was closed. So i removed and sold the screen. Now i just have to bend over to the passenger seat when i want to turn on the laptop. People have found ways to wire the on button but i just don't have the time right now, and my set up works great for me.

                        And i know watching store bought dvds is great, and def possible on a 500mhz system, but you should look into burning your dvds into divx or even vcd, this way you won't even need a dvd player.

                        Good luck!
                        My carputer

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by god_of_cpu
                          600 mhz will run a DVD, but not well. You might be able to view it straight through ok, but switching chapters etc. will probably be choppy at best. You can get a MPEG II hardware decoder card that would smooth things out, but there real expensive for laptops and at that point you would be better off just getting a regular mini-itx computer or other updated PC and doing it right.

                          If you power your laptop in your car, you really should NOT hook into the car's DC power directly, it is unregulated and could easily damage your laptop if it even works. You should get something like this for your laptop: http://www.hoct.com/audcporeadfo.html
                          Originally posted by pete35887
                          could i hardwire this directly to my cars dc?
                          anybody?

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                          • #14
                            Pete, that regulator could definately be hard wired to the car. That is what I am going to do.

                            Here is what I plan to do:
                            1: Buy the regulator for the laptop.
                            2: Cut the Cig plug off.
                            3: Run a fused lead from the battery to a relay with at least 10amp capacity.
                            4: Run a signal wire from the ignition acc to the relay coil (Radio fuse should work)
                            5: To auto on the laptop, a small relay connected to the starter wire. The relay switch accross two wires with a plug wired to the laptop on/off switch. This will close the relay which will "hit the power button" only when the car is initially started.

                            If your laptop has an auto shut down, which I believe all recent Windows operating systems allows you can have it automatically power down after say 5 minutes after loosing external power if no keys are pressed.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MSUC5Vette
                              Pete, that regulator could definately be hard wired to the car. That is what I am going to do.

                              Here is what I plan to do:
                              1: Buy the regulator for the laptop.
                              2: Cut the Cig plug off.
                              3: Run a fused lead from the battery to a relay with at least 10amp capacity.
                              4: Run a signal wire from the ignition acc to the relay coil (Radio fuse should work)
                              5: To auto on the laptop, a small relay connected to the starter wire. The relay switch accross two wires with a plug wired to the laptop on/off switch. This will close the relay which will "hit the power button" only when the car is initially started.

                              If your laptop has an auto shut down, which I believe all recent Windows operating systems allows you can have it automatically power down after say 5 minutes after loosing external power if no keys are pressed.
                              love this idea! however, instead of disassembling the laptop, why don't you just do it to the DC laptop convertor to the laptop? then you can at least resell the laptop at a later time! then you can use the Windows OS power down after 5 min of loosing external power.

                              luckly, I have a docking station that came with my old Dell 750mhz laptop i bought off ebay for $1k two years ago. at least the docking station will prevent connecting all those damn wires into the laptop. :-)
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