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What Is The Advantage To CarPC's Today?

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  • What Is The Advantage To CarPC's Today?

    I have been a member of this board for a long time, and I have had a carputer in my car for years. I started out with a real full sized ATX tower and an inverter, and have migrated to a smaller amp style pc with its own dc-dc power supply.... But this is irrelevant to my question.

    What is the advantage to having an actual Carputer or CarPC over say a high-end aftermarket headunit, or even some of the factory radios today are super nice with all kinds of features including USB inputs.

    The reason I ask: Years ago when I started, I felt my computer had MANY advantages to aftermarket radios. I have a huge touchscreen, the option to change the skin of my front end, virtually unlimited storage to store my music & videos, the ability to use USB drives as CD's, etc.... Now-a-days all of this seems to be almost a standard on all radio's even factory ones.

    Whenever I decide to upgrade my PC (like recently I tried to add HD Radio) it is a major headache. Hours of work to try and work out the PC related issues.

    I ask because I am at the point of being so frustrated with my carpc that I am ready to give up and go with a real head unit with WORKING bluetooth support for cellphones, iPhone/iPod integration that is seemless, and traffic info for navigation over-the-air. I really do not want to give up, but it just seems so much easier with actual radios then it does with carputers. I am sorry for rambling, but I would like to know what are your thoughts?
    Last edited by we87; 12-07-2012, 03:39 AM.
    Carputer Progress
    [||||||||||] 100%
    Finally Installed!!
    Everything is in the car and working.
    I painted the cilpboard mount and it looks good.
    Shutdown/Startup is working excellent!
    View My Progress Here

  • #2
    You've been dabbling in this hobby now for 7 years or so.

    This is a hobby mostly for tinkerers. If you don't have the desire to tinker with the PC in the car, then you already know what alternatives are out there.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      I just jumped in to the car pc game, after wasting lots of money on crippled head units. it's not about the money for me, it's about the features I really want. The last head unit I just pulled was an Android based unit, and it too just did not live up to needs.

      Here are a few of the things i find important...

      1) I have Team Viewer (a VNC Like tool) installed, and can take control of my car pc from my main PC, allowing me to make changes easily, transfer files, sync music folders, etc.

      2) Any format can be played on a PC with the correct codec. Android is somewhat limited, and car stereos are limited even more.

      3) No Storage Limit... Android has problems reading larger media devices and drives, and so do head units.

      4) USB Host Mode for connecting hubs (enumerating USB devices).

      5) Support for USB DAC's for high quality audio output... I do not think Android supports this feature yet, although Samsung has added it to a few of their phones.

      Just those features above is what made me jump in.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by rray View Post
        I just jumped in to the car pc game, after wasting lots of money on crippled head units. it's not about the money for me, it's about the features I really want.
        +1. for me, it's music storage(i also use it for audio processing, but that is perfectly capable outside of the carpc stuff). many decks on the market support adding a ipod to the deck for media storage, but it's normally clunky and laggy to interface with.

        can my carpc completely, unquestionably, outperform any deck on the market? no. but it does what i want it to, how i want it to and that is why i keep it.
        My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
        "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


        next project? subaru brz
        carpc undecided

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        • #5
          For me it's music storage and audio processing plus if you're really creative it can be so much more.

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          • #6
            Almost endless possibilities and can always be cheaply upgraded(software/hardware) and added to. And can easily multitask.

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            • #7
              I haven't seen a head unit capabe of real time reading of my boardcomputer info through the odbII as well as a head unit capable of telling whats wrong when a light turns on in my dash
              View my worklog here

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              • #8
                also, if you are willing to learn basic software, you can write code, to controll EVERYTHING with voice commands or hotkeys from steering wheel. not to mantion what yopu can do if you can do hardware!

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                • #9
                  The reason I switched to a CarPC was easy for me - I have an aftermarket (adjustable) ECU in my car that requires Windows to be installed on the PC/laptop to tune. I got tired of remembering to bring a laptop, ensuring its charged, dealing with the small keyboard, etc, etc and my old headunit finally died (after a good 6.5 years of use)

                  Since getting it though, I've added Pandora to it (with Verizon 4G dongle) and I like the ability to add a variety of apps (on Windows 8) and a growing list of apps

                  I'm getting more interested in adding a second battery with an isolator to keep the pc running 24/7 now after owning it 1.5 years and making the PC do things while the car is off (I'm thinking potentially as an aftermarket alarm with GPS and a camera that can be told to email me GPS coordinates and a picture if it receives a special text string to its 4G number. Oh I'm a programmer by hobby (for now, soon to be profession) and generally just like to tinker with things too

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by we87 View Post
                    I have been a member of this board for a long time, and I have had a carputer in my car for years. I started out with a real full sized ATX tower and an inverter, and have migrated to a smaller amp style pc with its own dc-dc power supply.... But this is irrelevant to my question.

                    What is the advantage to having an actual Carputer or CarPC over say a high-end aftermarket headunit, or even some of the factory radios today are super nice with all kinds of features including USB inputs....
                    I ask because I am at the point of being so frustrated with my carpc that I am ready to give up and go with a real head unit with WORKING bluetooth support for cellphones, iPhone/iPod integration that is seemless, and traffic info for navigation over-the-air. I really do not want to give up, but it just seems so much easier with actual radios then it does with carputers. I am sorry for rambling, but I would like to know what are your thoughts?
                    When I saw oem cars coming out with carpc style headunits I thought about either forum members that work for them that gave them that idea or some of them trolling this forum for ideas. Now that people are doing tablet installs, the car makers are going to tablet mimicking headunits like the one in the Cadillac ATS.

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                    • #11
                      i don't think that we as a forum have done much, if anything to influence oem designs or products. it's all about what the majority of people are used to, first, it was the majority begging for phone support, and then they wanted to do more with their phone. now in the same regard, tablets are quickly gaining popularity, so it only makes sense to start using very similarly-looking interfaces in cars. it's more familiar, so it's more comfortable to more and more people.
                      My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                      "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                      next project? subaru brz
                      carpc undecided

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I definitely believe that OEM folks have trolled these forums and YouTube and where else!

                        Head unit vs carpc
                        Head unit +
                        Easy install
                        It works
                        Sounds good
                        Has handsfree
                        Appradio and friends starting to be decent

                        Lacks what a carpc is good at!


                        Carpc
                        Obd (higher level of access)
                        Storage
                        Can be moded to do what dreams are made of!

                        Lacks what head units are good at and is limited by what automobile manufacturers will let you dig into.


                        Now imagine if we could get our hands on the Sdk that ford and gm offers!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by soundman98 View Post
                          i don't think that we as a forum have done much, if anything to influence oem designs or products. it's all about what the majority of people are used to, first, it was the majority begging for phone support, and then they wanted to do more with their phone. now in the same regard, tablets are quickly gaining popularity, so it only makes sense to start using very similarly-looking interfaces in cars. it's more familiar, so it's more comfortable to more and more people.
                          Well I don't know if "cruising the forums" has played a direct role, but I do believe the carPC market and some of it's participants have had some influence on the automakers and OEM providers. Generally speaking, "big business" avoids innovation like the plague. They would much rather somebody else take the risks and prove that a market exists for a given technology than do it themselves. Their favorite scenario is for a startup to create a market, establish the dominate technology and market share, and then they swoop in and buy the startup. A lot of startups hope for exactly that scenario too.

                          Centrafuse has worked directly with a number of auto manufacturers and OEM providers, including Ford, McLaren, Visteon and others. This type of early-stage work reduces the time and expense it would take to start development from the ground up and allows them to rapidly evaluate a variety of different technologies and features. Where does Centrafuse get the ideas and features....from suggestions and comments in the forums. So yeah, in a way, the forums do have some influence.

                          Cheers!

                          VegasGuy

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