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  • a warning to all prospective carputer installers!

    This guy is such a newb haha.... U used a laptop and *****ed.. That is really a have arss way to go. Enjoy your sony xplod and thank you for giving us more bandwidth on mp3car.com
    2005 Ford Mustang GT <- - - UPDATED PICTURES

    2003 KAWASAKI Z1000 - CUSTOM MODZ

    MBK (AIM = IllMBKllI)

  • #2
    a warning to all prospective carputer installers!

    Hi guys, I haven’t posted on here for about a year now, I thought after my carputer installation that I would share with you my overall experience...

    In a nutshell, it was a total waste of time, and I would really push anyone away from doing it, here's why!

    im quite technical myself, and did manage a successful install which I thought worked great, I didn’t have any major issues that I wasn’t able to resolve pretty quickly (apart from getting the laptop to auto power on with the ignition, that was a nightmare solved by using wake on LAN in the end)

    my friend installed his first, and I was so impressed at the mere thought of having a computer in the car that I went out and spent £1000 on a laptop, a lilliput motorized screen with built in TV tuner etc, as well as software for gps. And of course all the cables and bits I would need to go with it.

    installing it and getting it all working correctly; by which I mean using a relay so the head unit would not totally drain the battery when the ignition was turned off, hardwiring the power from the cig lighter for the laptop etc took a good couple of weeks, and for a time it was great...but then I stepped back

    firstly, the screen was crap, when it was sunny you couldn’t see it, a lot of the time it wouldn’t register the touch press’s (that could have been road runner's fault though) the gps used (destinator 3) is totally abysmal and was about 2 years out of date (although map monkey was very nice) the software would crash which would mean having to park up, get out of the car and walk to the boot to power cycle and then sit there for another 2 minutes while it all rebooted again, only to find that sometimes the gps signal would be lost and it wouldn’t register again

    ive just finished ripping it all out today, and have replaced it with a nice sony all in one unit that supports Bluetooth A2DP(stream music from phone to unit), Bluetooth calls, as well as standard CD playing abilities (including mp3 etc) for my GPS I use my nokia 6110 which has built in GPS or my N73 with external gps for longer journeys, everything just works nicely! I would strongly recommend if you are close to buying all the bits you need to build your own, DONT, I know my words will fall on deaf ears because if you want to do it your going to do it no matter who says what, I know that I certainly wouldn’t have listened to someone like me saying this when I was considering building mine...

    Does anyone else feel this way? Or have things changed a lot in the last year? I suspect not but you never know!!!!

    Comment


    • #3


      Sorry but that is pathetic.

      If you are the sort of guy that is put off by a few teething issues then this hobby is not for you.

      And yes it is a hobby, it is not a 'buy a package slot it in and sit back and let it do it's job'.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sounds like the install was something short of optimal to me...
        It's been a while...

        Comment


        • #5


          Sounds like a craptastic install.

          A few things right away.

          a) Cig lighter + powering computer = not a good idea even for a rabid monkey
          b) HU draining your battery immediately sends up red flags on the above craptastic install. Nobody has these issues when installed correctly.
          c) motorized screens are crap to begin with, and to me sends up more red flags that you took the "easy" way out and wanted no modification to the dash. Any reading at all on these forums or DC will be all you need to steer clear of them.
          d) £1000 on a laptop is absolutely stupid. Not even going to butter that up. Stupid. Rediculous. Idiotic. Moronic. Can I say stupid again? People can run an entire carPC system off of a Celeron 400a. You dont need a quad core in the car. A $150USD laptop with a broken screen and a pentium 4M is more than enough. And again, a laptop has obvious benefits and cons. Your WOL is a con of the laptop unless you open it to solder, but again the easy way out comes to mind.

          I can continue, but it is pointless. If you are happy with your non-upgradeable, non-featurefilled, over expensive, new HU, then woohoo, good for you. This is still a niche market, but with the recent M$ sync in ford cars (why the f did they choose ford?!) it is gaining popularity even if people dont know it. Just like your HU runs Windows CE.

          Things have changed in the past year too. Also on the screen issue, you could have taken £300 from that laptop and spent it on a translfective screen for instance. It is only ever getting better.

          oh well, your loss.
          Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
          1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
          30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
          15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
          Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post


            Sounds like a craptastic install.

            A few things right away.

            a) Cig lighter + powering computer = not a good idea even for a rabid monkey
            b) HU draining your battery immediately sends up red flags on the above craptastic install. Nobody has these issues when installed correctly.
            c) motorized screens are crap to begin with, and to me sends up more red flags that you took the "easy" way out and wanted no modification to the dash. Any reading at all on these forums or DC will be all you need to steer clear of them.
            d) £1000 on a laptop is absolutely stupid. Not even going to butter that up. Stupid. Rediculous. Idiotic. Moronic. Can I say stupid again? People can run an entire carPC system off of a Celeron 400a. You dont need a quad core in the car. A $150USD laptop with a broken screen and a pentium 4M is more than enough. And again, a laptop has obvious benefits and cons. Your WOL is a con of the laptop unless you open it to solder, but again the easy way out comes to mind.

            I can continue, but it is pointless. If you are happy with your non-upgradeable, non-featurefilled, over expensive, new HU, then woohoo, good for you. This is still a niche market, but with the recent M$ sync in ford cars (why the f did they choose ford?!) it is gaining popularity even if people dont know it. Just like your HU runs Windows CE.

            Things have changed in the past year too. Also on the screen issue, you could have taken £300 from that laptop and spent it on a translfective screen for instance. It is only ever getting better.

            oh well, your loss.
            a: i figured this was the best solution for powering a low voltage laptop
            b: this was a problem with the headunit, not the way it was wired, the unit in standby mode was still `on` even though it was actually off, the manual even stated this...bad design
            c: having a pull out screen is worse still, doesnt exactly look stylish does it, fabricating it into the dash is of course the best option but the amount of time required to acheive this i believe is unreasonable, definately hard core this one
            d: if you care to read my post, i specify that the 1000 pounds was for all the pieces, not just the laptop, although in your haste to respond im sure you only just skim read

            as for your last point, the gps software is of course fully upgradable, the only thing that isnt is the headunit, but wait a second, mp3's / bluetooth and usb connections arent going to disappear all of a sudden are they? and when something significantly better comes out you can just buy a new one and it will work great!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Enforcer View Post


              Sorry but that is pathetic.

              If you are the sort of guy that is put off by a few teething issues then this hobby is not for you.

              And yes it is a hobby, it is not a 'buy a package slot it in and sit back and let it do it's job'.
              the teething issues did not put me off, i mentioned i got it running fine, what was the final nail in the coffin was when i went down a pot hole and the gears inside the thing broke and it wouldnt retract... ;-)

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry it didn't work out for you but I've had a pc in my car since 98 (many upgrades since the first) and I am happy to report that everything works. I think where you fell short was in your research before you went out and bought some crap and tried to get it all to work in your car. I agree with you though that if you are the type of person who needs a complete package with an on button, i.e. a head unit, then a pc is not for you. However if you like a challenge and are capable a carpc is the way to go as many of us on here would agree.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Aaron3262 View Post
                  Sorry it didn't work out for you but I've had a pc in my car since 98 (many upgrades since the first) and I am happy to report that everything works. I think where you fell short was in your research before you went out and bought some crap and tried to get it all to work in your car. I agree with you though that if you are the type of person who needs a complete package with an on button, i.e. a head unit, then a pc is not for you. However if you like a challenge and are capable a carpc is the way to go as many of us on here woulg agree.
                  it did work fine, but there are always little issues, i think you are all deluding yourselves if you have convinced yourselves that you never have any problems. i spent a great deal of time researching what to do and the best way to do it, i didnt want to spend 3000 pounds and 6 months on the whole thing, may as well get a better car at that stage

                  im sure not everyone on here has the time and money to completly rebuild there dash, just my 2 cents!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dazza666 View Post
                    a: i figured this was the best solution for powering a low voltage laptop
                    b: this was a problem with the headunit, not the way it was wired, the unit in standby mode was still `on` even though it was actually off, the manual even stated this...bad design
                    c: having a pull out screen is worse still, doesnt exactly look stylish does it, fabricating it into the dash is of course the best option but the amount of time required to acheive this i believe is unreasonable, definately hard core this one
                    d: if you care to read my post, i specify that the 1000 pounds was for all the pieces, not just the laptop, although in your haste to respond im sure you only just skim read
                    a) no. and if you had read the FAQ it is very clear and very precise about this.

                    b) yes standby is still on. Like all electronics. Why do VCRs keep the time when "off"? Because they arent off. Unplug it physically from the wall then plug it back in, and voila 12:00 flashes because it actually had no power. Same with why TVs turn on with the press of a wireless remote when they are "off". All electronics are like this. The amount of draw however is very small. If it is draining your battery, then it is either wired wrong, or you have a cheap lead acid battery.

                    c) I took my screen up to a fellow member GoHybrid, and we were able to go from it in a case, to it in the dash piece sanded, primed, painted and go out to a restaurant for dinner in all under 6 hours. He is a master though.

                    d) the way it is worded it sounds like 1000GBP was for the laptop alone. Still I did my entire system for about $600USD (parts and wire) to $800USD (including the labour and money I gave to people who helped out). Works flawlessly.

                    and the whole non-retracting thing is actually the major reason for not going the motorized route and again is found everywhere. Usually fails in a year. And your broke right on time.
                    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dazza666 View Post
                      it did work fine, but there are always little issues, i think you are all deluding yourselves if you have convinced yourselves that you never have any problems. i spent a great deal of time researching what to do and the best way to do it, i didnt want to spend 3000 pounds and 6 months on the whole thing, may as well get a better car at that stage

                      im sure not everyone on here has the time and money to completly rebuild there dash, just my 2 cents!
                      I've had more problems with both the stock HU, and the replacement pre-PC HU, then the non-HU CarPC... And the problems with the PC, I can fix. The problems with the HU, I couldn't fix. The day the replacement HU started to cut out random speakers it was an easy decision to replace it with a PC where "random" things are easy to track down and fix.
                      Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                      1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                      30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                      15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                      Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dazza666 View Post
                        it did work fine, but there are always little issues, i think you are all deluding yourselves if you have convinced yourselves that you never have any problems.
                        SNIP
                        Fine does not = little issues


                        I am not delusional I have experienced some learning opportunities, they where related to my install skills not the parts I chose or software set up (including OS)

                        Sad that you are unhappy with your results.... I am very happy with mine.

                        Cheers
                        TruckinMP3
                        D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

                        Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

                        Read the FAQ!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dazza666 View Post
                          the teething issues did not put me off, i mentioned i got it running fine, what was the final nail in the coffin was when i went down a pot hole and the gears inside the thing broke and it wouldnt retract... ;-)

                          Didn't mention that in your first post, but then that is a reason why I wouldn't buy a flip out. (motorised or non motorised)

                          Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post

                          d) the way it is worded it sounds like 1000GBP was for the laptop alone.
                          That's the way it came across to me as well.


                          I have had my PC in since 2002/3 and yes there are always little issues with it. But sdeing as it's always in a continous flux state that is not surprising.

                          But I can put up with those things for all the extra benefits it has given me. Including probably saving my Driving licence on many occasions.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dazza666 View Post
                            getting the laptop to auto power on with the ignition, that was a nightmare solved by using wake on LAN in the end)
                            Easy fix there, nothing I would consider a "nightmare",
                            I went out and spent £1000 on a laptop, a lilliput motorized screen with built in TV tuner etc, as well as software for gps. And of course all the cables and bits I would need to go with it.
                            *You could get by with a lot less than a £1000 laptop to use as a car PC.
                            *A motorized screen in a moving vehicle is just asking for trouble. Even the nice Alpine units break a lot.
                            installing it and getting it all working correctly; by which I mean using a relay so the head unit would not totally drain the battery when the ignition was turned off, hardwiring the power from the cig lighter for the laptop etc took a good couple of weeks, and for a time it was great...but then I stepped back
                            If you used standby, that may have drained the battery. If the radio was draining the battery, then that sounds like another problem not related to the computer.
                            software would crash which would mean having to park up, get out of the car and walk to the boot to power cycle and then sit there for another 2 minutes while it all rebooted again, only to find that sometimes the gps signal would be lost and it wouldn’t register again.
                            Real men extend the wires for the power and reset buttons up to the front.
                            replaced it with a nice sony all in one unit that supports Bluetooth A2DP(stream music from phone to unit), Bluetooth calls, as well as standard CD playing abilities (including mp3 etc) for my GPS I use my nokia 6110 which has built in GPS or my N73 with external gps for longer journeys, everything just works nicely!
                            Glad to hear you found something that works for you.
                            I know my words will fall on deaf ears because if you want to do it your going to do it no matter who says what, I know that I certainly wouldn’t have listened to someone like me saying this when I was considering building mine...

                            Does anyone else feel this way? Or have things changed a lot in the last year? I suspect not but you never know!!!!
                            As someone stated above, this is a hobby. Anyone who thinks you can just go out and buy everything and swap out the factory radio and instantly have a bad *** car PC has a lot to learn.

                            There are of course units available such like the ones that MP3car sells that make things a little easier, but its still not as easy as swapping out your radio.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Sorry, but I have to disagree, at least somewhat.

                              I've got about 2000 Cdn into my setup (which is somewhere just short of 1000 pounds). Been installed in three seperate cars now, no issues whatsoever besides having to wait 60 seconds for it to start on a cold boot.

                              MP3- Never had and issue
                              CD playback- have to know how to set it up, but no issues
                              DVD- no issues other than working out multiple monitors
                              Nav- With IG4, better than any navigatiop solution out there and can be upgraded for 100 bucks whenever a new program comes out. It never looses my "cheap-o" gps mouse signal and even plots me on the right side of the raod. With factory nav, you're stuck with it. I know, I had the mega-buck unit in my car and tossed it at first opportunity, absolute crap. And I had to pay 200 bucks for upgrade nav discs, if they even offered them that year.
                              Phone intergration- Meh, can be buggy if you don't get it right. But most aftermarket solutions don't offer near the amount of integration of even the free programs like freephone do.
                              Internet- Good luck finding that in an aftermarket HU.
                              Upgradeable- Once your HU is in, that's it. Want new features, buy new hardware. At least I can buy new hardware as it becomes available and upgrade. Not to mention, new software (which is where the real functionality lays)

                              Sure, I agree it's not for everyone. It takes a bit of knowledge, research and a good deal of trial and error to get it right. I don't recommend a Carputer install to anyone who's not willing to "do it right", but the same goes for someone who wants to install a bunch of expensive audio equipment in thier car.

                              Do it right or go home. And you my friend, took the short cuts (ie: the wrong way) that lead to a dissatisfying experience. If you want to slap something in in a weekend and never touch it again then a HU is for you and I'm glad you found something that satisfies your wants.

                              I went laptop and motorized screen once upon a time. BIG mistake and a waste of money. If you want it to feel and behave like a factory unit, you've got to do a dedicated "built in" solution. That includes a dedicated (and proper) screen, a permanently mounted 'puter with the appropriate power solutions, carefully chosen software and peripheral hardware, and a good investment in time and effort. And, on top of all that, you need to have a vast array of fabrication skills or deep enough pockets to pay someone who does.

                              Anything else is just going to turn out, well.....................
                              to use a quote;
                              "craptastic".
                              For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
                              Leonardo Da Vinci

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