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Going to get an old laptop to setup in my car. What to look for? Simple questions too

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  • Going to get an old laptop to setup in my car. What to look for? Simple questions too

    Anything that I should need in particular? I wanted something easy to setup and hopefully I can find a used laptop that doesnt have a working screen or something like that.

    Also may seem like a stupid question but any recommendations on an inverter for this?

    Also another question is how does the machine startup and shutdown? I know how it gets power but what is the procedure on how that'll work once its in the car. As far as the video goes, I have a touchscreen that has RCA inputs into it so from the laptop I'd need a t.v. out to RCA cable. As for sound, I have a PAX unit that goes the auxillary port in my Bose headunit so that should be taken care of.

    Hope someone can shed some light on my questions.

  • #2
    Hey, I've got an all in one solution for you, & I've installed a few pc's like this. It depends on the space you have to work with, but basically you could use a panasonic toughbook, screen & all. you can find one with a built in touchscreen, & choose between a 10.4" or an 8" touchscreen version, & you can seperate the screen from the laptop up to a certain point because they use a great ribbon cable design that can be "uncurled" through the hinge. add to this a hard drive & motherboard mounting designed for vibration & abuse, they work great,add to this that they run on 12v & I have had two running like this right off the ign. for a few years, & it will shut itself down when it switches to battery power, you can determine a delay buy setting a power alarm funtion, & the screens have an anti-glair film to boot! but a fast one will cost you. If you want a cheap one like a 300p I have a few of these, I could find one to sell you cheap enough, or you can find them on ebay, look for cf-17 or cf-34 for a 8" or cf-27 for a 10.4". this is a picture of a caddy install I did with one of the cf-27's in the center console, quick, easy & effective......
    Attached Files
    MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

    first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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    • #3
      Yes, I have heard of that and have seen them up for sale. However, I am looking for a very stock look and I'm taken care of with a touchscreen already which I have. It has the VGA hookups so that is fine. I'm just wondering about my simple laptop questions. Any help on those? Thanks

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      • #4
        Are you looking to simply have a mounted laptop or are you planning to intergrate it? I made a mount for mine and am using a 400w inverter powered from the battery. Right now I'm using the factory switches to power everything on however that might change in the near future. My setup is about a cheap and simple as you can get. I've got a mount bolted to the passenger seat bracket and have a small platform in which the laptop is velcord to the mount. If I have to park someplace I put the laptop in the trunk or take it with me.

        If you have any specific questions post them.

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        • #5
          Well this site has been great. I have been searching and reading all afternoon and evening. Here's what I got so far in my head.

          1. I get an old laptop and try and fit it in my glovebox (possibly a Vaio or something small)

          2. I am having this hooked up to a 7" touchscreen (probably a Xenarc) so I'll have to make sure I get a hub to use with the 1 USB port that will probably come with the laptop.

          3. It seems like for me the best option is to just get a car adapter for the laptop and hardwire it to the battery that way. So it always has power. Why even play around with an inverter? Will I have a problem having the computer hardwired directly to the battery with just the car adapter for the lappy? Then my problem would be on how I will turn on the laptop and shut it down.

          I have an '04 sports car so the battery and all is just fine. Now I'm mainly concerned about power management and the ability to turn on/off seemlessly.

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          • #6
            That doesn't sound like a very good longterm solution. I suspect if you do that, You'll end up re-doing because your not happy with it and it might look bad in your badass car.

            Take your time and plan something out that you will be happy with for a while. If your willing to drop the cash on Vio take a closer look at some of the other solutions on here.

            I have doubts if wirring a battery adapater to your laptop is a great idea, it might work but the idea of having a laptop hardwired to my battery just doesn't appeal to me.

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            • #7
              Well the way I think about it is by the time I got an Opus, all the components the price will be comparitive to an old laptop with a bad screen. My company is a technology reseller and we all have laptops at work and once they are a few years old they sell them for real cheap. I figure I can get a decent one for $200 or so. Thats why.

              I've made a bunch of computers in my house including an HTPC running Media Center 05. Just am not too familiar with wiring things in a car and since my car really doesn't have a back seat, I figure having a laptop in the glovebox or underneath the seat would be the most practical for me and would be a great solution. Also is a pain to run wires from the trunk to the front of my car when my trunk is pretty small and I already have a sub and amp back there. Ahh, decisions decisions!

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              • #8
                i have a crappy old siemens 510 that was being junked in work..
                its a PII 266 96k ram.. and has no screen attached..

                I installed a cut down version of win98
                (using this class utility 98lite http://www.litepc.com/)
                Its amazing how fast and stable windows 98 can run on old hardware when you get rid of internet explorer and all the networking components..

                I have it hooked up to a 4x20 character display and some custom buttons..
                it works good and mp3s sound great through the aux input on my head unit.
                As mp3 is all i use it for its a pretty good solution for me..

                At the moment the system is in test, it works fine, just need to install it in the car..
                I have a car laptop power adaptor on order and when it comes im going to:

                -Mount the laptop under the passenger seat using velcro..
                -Run power adaptor direct from switched ignition power to the laptop..
                -Set up power alarm to shutdown laptop 3 mins after ignition is turned off...
                -All wires going to the laptop (screen, power, custom keypad, audio) go down through the central console and past the gear stick to the passenger seat.

                its clean, simple and cheap!

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                • #9
                  Yeah sounds like a nice easy setup you got there. One question is what is this Power Alarm you are talking about which allows you to shut down your laptop 3 minutes after turn off?

                  Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    if you go to settings -> control panel -> power options you can choose what scheme to use...
                    i.e turn off screen, hard disks, go into standby after 5 mins

                    sometimes laptop manufacturers provide utilities you can download to give you extra power options.. with these you can set more detailed alarms.. the laptop i use in work toshiba has alarms and stuff like that on it in toshiba utilities..

                    must check my old laptop this weekend and see what options i can set up for powering off..

                    Just in relation to your earlier posts, I wouldnt use a direct line to your battery. Definatly hook up your laptops power to an ignition switched line..

                    So when the car is turned off, the laptop power supply doesnt get any power so it cant drain your car battery.
                    If you forget to turn off the laptop the worst thing that can happen is your Laptop battery will get drained.
                    As soon as you start up your car the laptop power supply gets power and your laptop will recharge again..

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, you're right. I think the ignition line is probably the right thing to be connected to. Now I need to figure out how to do that in my car Thanks.

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