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  • Custom mobile pc box/case

    I've been reading posts for awhile and I think I'm ready to get started with my carputer project. I've got a Jetta that I drive most of the time and an RX-7 that I pull out on the weekends. I'd like to make a portable carputer system that I can take out and put in the trunk of either car.
    I'm thinking that I can setup plugs for items like power, grounds, audio in/out, video out and other stuff I may need in the trunk of both cars and then plug it directly into the computer case.
    Has anyone tried a project like this before?

  • #2
    What about using a laptop with two separate docks? That would make it a ton easier to switch between the two cars...
    2005 Black Chevy Impala
    Current Status: Installed in Vehicle/Testing 75%

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    • #3
      You might run into problems with power if you can't find a connector that has an adequate maximum current rating. A jack that can pass through 10A DC is quite rare!

      Other than that, for the rest you could probably just use a lot of RCA connectors..

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      • #4
        What Model year rx7 do you have? Remmber the alt on the s4 sucks 65amp only! (I belive Arron cake can conferm that) I had to upgrade to a s6 to get my carputer to work all the time killed 2 batt's before then. I have a 87 GXL.


        Mage
        =Cars=-
        2001 Kia Optima, V6 4matic fully loaded SE W00t! soon to have a Car pc.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shelbrain
          What about using a laptop with two separate docks? That would make it a ton easier to switch between the two cars...
          I'm trying to stay away from laptops because of upgrade issues. Laptops are too proprietary. They charge ridiculous amounts of money to upgrade things like hard drives, memory, etc(compared to desktops). Plus I'll have more flexibility in terms of add-ons if I stick with a desktop motherboard.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mage
            What Model year rx7 do you have? Remmber the alt on the s4 sucks 65amp only! (I belive Arron cake can conferm that) I had to upgrade to a s6 to get my carputer to work all the time killed 2 batt's before then. I have a 87 GXL.
            Mage
            Mine's an 88 TII. I didn't know about the alternator prob. Thanks for the info. I need to replace my alternator anyway, so I'll prob look for a 3rd gen alternator. Is that a simple bolt-on?

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            • #7
              sorry for the late reply Work and all, it's ALMOST a direct bolt on. Look at http://www.rx7club.com for the writeup on it. mainly it take is plug,bolt and pully need modified. the plug is just set wrong easy fix I made a converter (stock S6 plug cut off with a end added that plugs into the S4 harness) the bolt I belives nees to be smaller due to the placement and needs a nut (where on the s4 it's smaller and has a theraded end) and the pully needs to be borred out to fit the bigger shaft of the S6.

              Mage
              =Cars=-
              2001 Kia Optima, V6 4matic fully loaded SE W00t! soon to have a Car pc.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by starfox
                You might run into problems with power if you can't find a connector that has an adequate maximum current rating. A jack that can pass through 10A DC is quite rare!

                Other than that, for the rest you could probably just use a lot of RCA connectors..
                How about using 50/68 pin SCSI connectors for the signal lines like VGA, USB, RS232 etc ?

                For power, a 4 pole Cannon connector should be able to handle 5A per contact, so you could pair up 2 contacts each for +12V and Gnd to get 10A DC.

                This would mean having only 2 connectors to disconnect when you need to remove the CarPC for tinkering or whatever.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mage
                  sorry for the late reply Work and all, it's ALMOST a direct bolt on. Look at http://www.rx7club.com for the writeup on it. mainly it take is plug,bolt and pully need modified. the plug is just set wrong easy fix I made a converter (stock S6 plug cut off with a end added that plugs into the S4 harness) the bolt I belives nees to be smaller due to the placement and needs a nut (where on the s4 it's smaller and has a theraded end) and the pully needs to be borred out to fit the bigger shaft of the S6.

                  Mage
                  Thanks, I'll be picking up a 3rd gen alternator as an upgrade to my S4 alt.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by shchua
                    How about using 50/68 pin SCSI connectors for the signal lines like VGA, USB, RS232 etc ?

                    For power, a 4 pole Cannon connector should be able to handle 5A per contact, so you could pair up 2 contacts each for +12V and Gnd to get 10A DC.

                    This would mean having only 2 connectors to disconnect when you need to remove the CarPC for tinkering or whatever.
                    That's a good idea. I was also thinking of scavenging the connectors from the back of my stock radio for speaker and signal wiring.

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                    • #11
                      Maybe you can do a search on XLR connectors and other connectors that are used for DJ equiment. A lot of this stuff must handle huge power loads, have to hook up fast, is sturdy and should lock firmly.
                      Why is it drug addicts and computer afficionados are both called users?

                      Currently : Audi A6 - no install

                      Second install : VW Passat '97 CarPC
                      First install : '87 Audi 80 CarPC

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                      • #12
                        I managed to fit a micro ATX motherboard, 3.5" HDD and Opus 150W PSU into the housing of a broken DVD player (16" W x 12" W x 2.75" H). I am using a quick disconnect system using 2 connectors - a 50 pin Centronics connector that has VGA, 3 x USB and stereo output and a 3 pin Cannon connector for power/ignition. I plan to use USB for most of the peripherals, eg external DVD drive, wireless adaptor, GPS etc. The Centronics connector still has 24 pins unused for future expansion, eg Firewire, +5V/+12V out to power USB hubs etc.

                        The advantage of this housing is that its so much slimmer and lighter compared to my current micro ATX case (5.3" H). Its a lot easier to disconnect and lug into the house for tinkering.

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                        • #13
                          Here's what I'm using, although I'm not setting it up for "quick connect" cables or anything like that. It's only 12"x7"x3" so it's not that big at all and could be easily mobile if ya wanted it to be.

                          That fact that you drive a Jetta and live in Boston gets an A+ from me. I'm also in Boston and I drive a GTI VR6.

                          If you're interested in the box/case I picked it up at "You do it Electronics" in Needham, right off 95 (128).

                          Good luck.

                          oh, here are the pics of the box.
                          I'm still not done with the build of it. In fact, everything you see I did today.




                          99 VW GTI VR6 SC
                          -The GTI-PC-

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nanozic
                            If you're interested in the box/case I picked it up at "You do it Electronics" in Needham, right off 95 (128).
                            I like the box, was it precut for the ATX connector plate or did you have to do that?

                            I am formulating a plan for a totally mobile carputer. By that I mean a system I can sit into any car and take with me when I leave it. I want the system to require no "hard mounting".

                            The base of the system is easy enough, a custom modded case that is segmented to house the computer ( which that box would be great for! ) inverter, extra 12V and AC oulets, phone charger and circulation fans with a cigarette plugin to provide power input, that will be seat belted into the back seat. (I know, I know, it is a lot of draw for a cigarette plug but I have been using a shuttle XPC and a 15in LCD on the inverter so it should work as long as the accessories are kept in check)

                            Stereo interface will be through a tape adapter.

                            My sticking point is a universal non-hard mount for the screen. I am thinking of using a dual suction cup goose neck system for the winshield that would place center of the screen right at the top edge of the dashes. (And no I am not planning on using the 15in LCD. LOL, although, I would like to see that!!!!)

                            Sorry, did not mean to take the thread, just wanted to give you some ideas for ultra-portability.
                            [COLOR=Navy][SIZE=1][FONT=Comic Sans MS]Tektility

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                            • #15
                              No, the box was not pre-cut. I had to cut all the openings and mounts. A Dremel can be your best friend. Measure twice, cut once.
                              99 VW GTI VR6 SC
                              -The GTI-PC-

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