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Is it worth resurrecting my CarPC

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  • Is it worth resurrecting my CarPC

    I current have an old VIA EPIA-MII12000 LVDS board in a Vroom PC enclosure with a M1-ATX power supply running Road... Sorry RideRunner. It has done me well with 3-4 years of service but unfortunately technology has moved on and I'm not happy with how it currently is performing.

    I have fitted it out with a Trimble Lassen SQ-II GPS module that plugs directly into the serial port header of the board. Unfortunately the antenna broke of a few weeks ago although I didn't use it much as my maps are outdated it was not very useful.

    The question I have is it worth resurrecting my CarPC? I'll start with some of my experiences I have had with my current setup which I'd need to address to keep it...

    I initially used Centrafuse but quickly discovered RideRunner was much more suited to my setup at the time. I have been running it in Windows XP embedded and have had very little trouble even with it hibernating every time I turn off the car.

    One of the things that I miss is a radio in the car. I initially purchased and developed some software for the Avermedia USB FM radio but the software was a bit flaky and the reception was terrible so I abandoned that project as it was not going anywhere.

    I have also investigated options for adding a compatible radio but have found that the cost of this alone makes it unattractive.

    As mentioned above I have been using a GPS. Currently using MapMonkey with maps for Australia. This interface is very clunky and has nothing on my phone which has TomTom 7 running on it. Is there anything nicer out there now for mapping?

    I also have a Lilliput 7" touch screen that is mounted in my car but I find the display very dull and impossible to see in the middle of summer.

    My only other idea is to sell or throw out my equipment, buy a car mount for my phone (for GPS) and then purchase a cheap head unit that has radio/dvd/mp3/line in. Thus abandoning the CarPC completely.

    I have done some brief searching and curious to know if I have missed something. What is out there now? and can you make any recommendations on how I could improve my setup before I decide to get rid of it?


  • #2
    Having a CarPC longterm requires a certain drive, pardon the pun. Either you have it or you don't. If you truly believe that a phone will do everything you need, then you probably don't have that drive.

    That being said, you can get an HD radio (which picks up normal stations) for $50, though the LCD screen issue would be more expensive to fix as a transflective is $600+.

    As for maps, I have no idea what supports Australia.

    Whatever you do, do NOT upgrade your Roadrunner to riderunner. You'll be forced to upgrade every 4(?) someodd months afterward so you can't ever get it set up how you like it without something breaking.
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
    My Shop


    • #3
      Honestly, if you are questioning the value of keeping a PC in your ride, then you probably shouldn't have one.
      As Malcolm stated, a PC in your vehicle isn't as simple as install it and go. It requires maintenance, fiddling, tweaking, upgrading, and so on on a fairly regular basis.

      It takes commitment at this point, as well as a lot of work to keep it up to snuff. If you're not wiling to commit yourself (with or without straight jacket ), then the vehicle PC hobby is simply not for you.

      Lets face reality:
      It is far simpler and many times less expensive to get most (if not all) the functionality of a PC in a high-dollar all-in-one headunit. There is also less maintenance.

      In North America, there are lots of GPS nav software options. In other parts of the world, it's hit or miss. It sucks, but it's a fact.
      Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
      How about the Wiki?

      Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.


      • #4
        I realize this thread is about a month old but just to add....maybe the components are outdated but as far as the PC in general goes.. why not repurpose it for another function. Check out my blog (link in signature). Even if you decide against using it in the vehicle you can maybe repurpose as some type of media player at home or host a webserver, etc..the cool thing about computers is that you can use them to do anything you want.
        "Live Free!!!...It's all about Open Source"
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