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Need veteran enthusiasts suggestions. (Long.... Sorry)

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  • Need veteran enthusiasts suggestions. (Long.... Sorry)

    First of all my name is Stephen. I am not a newbie to computers or mp3's as I've been using computers since the days of the TI-99/4a, Commodore 64's and Apple II's.
    I've also been playing with mp3's since just before Napster debuted.

    I had one of the FIRST portable mp3 players. Can't remember the name. It was a kit, came with a black plastic case similar to a zip drive or external hard drive case, a 2x16 monochrome lcd and membrane buttons on top.
    Cost me a few hundred and was a beast to use but it worked. After that I tried to put a computer in the car to play mp3's. It had a tiny 9" monitor and used WinAMP. It worked but was more hassle than convenient.
    Then I was able to get my hands on an Empeg Mark 1 and absolutely loved it. Cost an arm and a leg but I didn't care. And about a year after came across a Mark 2 just before SonicBlue bought them out.
    Kind of wish I still had them. They were great machines.

    But anyways here's where I am today.
    I have a 96 Lincoln Mark VIII with a factory cassette player and 10 disc changer in the trunk (which doesn't work).
    I want a infotainment system in the car.
    I don't have a lot of $ to work with (who does these days) but these are the things I want to be able to do with it.

    simple interface
    video player (movies and tv)
    music player (mp3's and radio)
    OBDII readout and performance monitoring
    internet connectivity
    streaming music and video from net or collection at home
    web browsing
    phone capabilities
    back up cam
    satellite radio (either through own receiver or through net)
    ability to run lots of apps ( either native or emulated)

    I know there are a few solutions and all have pro's and con's.

    The easiest approach I suppose would be one of those chinese multimedia double din systems.
    The ARE pretty cheap sometimes on eBay but can't do everything I want.

    There is the iPad approach which I do like and though I HATE proprietary systems the iOS is smooth
    and has TONS of apps. I know. I have an iPhone 3g.
    But Apple hardware IS expensive. Especially to mod and install in a car.
    I've tried Android and like that it is open but the software available compared to the iOS is pitiful.

    Then there is the carputer approach.
    I love this idea as I have a laptop that would donate itself to this function.
    The expandability possibilities are boundless but I don't like the startup time.
    And though Centrafuse looks promising there doesn't look to be a lot of apps available for it.
    I want a simple interface like Centrafuse or Apple's iOS and have lots of apps for it which
    shouldn't be too difficult running on a Windows platform.
    Would also like to display the Lincoln logo when it starts as well but that's a side thought.
    Forgot to mention I am a bit of an electronics hacker/experimenter so hacking things together
    for this is another reason to consider this option.

    I also have an 8" touchscreen for this option about 3-4 years ago but is to big for the double-din opening.
    Maybe someone has a use for it that could trade? Maybe for a smaller touchscreen?

    Anyway, what ideas/suggestions do the vets of this community have for me?
    Anything will be helpful.
    Last edited by LunaEros; 05-02-2013, 06:32 PM.

  • #2
    Get a Mac mini and a Carnetix "smart" power supply.


    That way it puts the CPU in standby and you don't go through a re-boot every time you start the car.
    link to my CTS-V project:


    • #3
      I'm a pc guy.
      Could that be adapted to my Toshiba laptop?
      And wouldn't that still drain the battery in the car if it isn't used for a couple of days?


      • #4
        Also. Come to think of it.
        Isn't Apple's operating systems for all of their hardware the past 5-10 years
        based on a Unix/Linux OS?
        Shouldn't it be able to port to an Intel's architecture?


        • #5
          Hey welcome to the forum. The laptop approach is fine and you can find a pretty cheap dc laptop adapter for power. You should be able to mod the opening for that 8" monitor. put your experimentor's hat on and get in there. A simple free frontend for you to try is Driveline, it has most stuff built-in already that your looking for. Streaming over net for music seem's like a waste to me unless you have some sort of unlimited data plan. For xm radio you need to get xmd-1000 unit and make yourself the serial cable (pretty easy). Navigation is a tough one I personally like and use daily CoPilot Live v8 and they have great map update support. For OBD2, Driveline has a pretty good list of stuff it monitors and now has a gauge page that's a work in progress. Setup a worklog page and keep us updated of your progress and good luck! SNO


          • #6
            I'm kind of leaning towards the laptop myself but still concerned about the startup time and apps available.
            I'll have to check out that program and see what it comes with and if it can be added to as well.
            Cellular data isn't too much of a problem. I'll just get a modem with T-Mobile where my phone is.
            I have a monthly 4g plan with unlimited everything.
            I want to stream since I have so much media on my home network plus I can listen to the local radio through 'I "Heart" Radio' or "TuneIn".
            There's Pandora. And Sirius which I can subscribe to on the net without getting a dedicated receiver (not a fan of XM anyway)

            And I can't use the 8" screen. It would require me to cut up my console way too much and would have to modify the dash upwards which would cause about 1"-2" of the monitor to be sticking up in mid air.

            No. I have to get another touchscreen that matches the double-din size more closely, which coincidentally looks like it's about a 16:9 ratio like a wide screen monitor.


            • #7
              hey man, I too have been playing with this stuff since way back when, my first carpc actually ran windows 3.11 and it was a real treat to upgrade it to the then new windows 95... wow, that's pretty old...

              since then and through the years I have had many carpc's, and of the many different configurations I've went through, the one thing that was pretty much universal to most was the amount of frustration and tinkering and playing around to wind up with something that was somewhat usable... maybe even at times really good but it seemed that I spent more time working on the setup than actually using the setup. years ago I switched to using laptops and early tablets for my PC installs and this form factors did seem to make life easier, but still somewhat of a tedious and time consuming hobby rather than a just install and use it kind of deal.

              recently in my last 2 installs I've decided to go with an android tablet and let me tell you that this has really changed how I use my carpc... it winds up making something that is almost just bolt it in an use it... the convenience of being able to remove the whole thing to bring in the house to play with and change configurations is really nice plus, hell most of these tablets are cheap enough that I can have more than one, and just swap between them as easy as just sliding one out and sliding the other in.

              now I do realize that the android tablet can not do everything a pc can, but the trade off is that the things it can do it just does so well, and the truth is that it can pretty much do just about everything I "need" in a carpc, except maybe satellite radio, which I don't miss one bit since I instead now use pandora and also can use a whole host of other online internet radio stations with stuff like Iheart radio and others, the truth is that while it may be a compromise it winds up being a very reasonable compromise and I really don't feel that I'm lacking any of the basic things that I need a carpc for.

              android is a really good way to go if you want as quick and painless as possible, and it is far superior in navigation, which lets face it, is at least 50% of the whole reason to install in the first place. programs like waze have revolutionized navigation so much so that the majority of even late model car owners with factory nav systems in their dash still wind up using their phone for navigation instead of the built in nav. why? because it is simply awesome... live traffic, voice controlled and google search driven, can give you the choice of multiple routes while showing you the traffic and estimated arrival time based on traffic for each route, also warns of obstructions, construction and even police on the road and hidden, all in about as real time as you can get.

              now I will say one thing though, for it to really be awesome you really need a live data connection at all times and it def helps to have an unlimited plan too, streaming music and nav data and even netflix can be very heavy on data use... without a live data connection then android would really not be as competitive because all of the really cool things you can do really rely on live data.

              as far as a carpc, I won't say here that it is not still a very feasible option, it is, just android has really given this carpc a whole different perspective when it comes to ease of use and install. my next install will probably wind up being a windows 8 setup because I do miss the unlimited possibilities VS android and windows 8 seems to be a very touch friendly and car friendly OS, but until then I'm perfectly happy with my android and really if I do a windows 8 install I'm probably going to miss android nav so much that I may still try to integrate it with the windows 8 install., it's really that good

              just some food for thought here, I see you mentioned pc and ipad but haven't even mentioned android, so I figured I'd throw this out here for consideration at least
              MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

              first windows carpc liquid cooled LVDS screen :D


              • #8
                OMG! TurboCAD.
                I think I just met my new online best bud.
                I just checked out your first install.
                The only difference is my blood is Ford Blue whereas you originally had GM Orange blood. Looks like you've changed camps to Infiniti now.
                But like they say, an engine doesn't know what name is stamped on it's valve covers!
                Damn! I see you even like a high performance luxury car like me too.

                Out of curiousity, how old are you bud?


                • #9
                  There's a guy in the classifieds section selling new surplus Voom PC's for $200. They are Atom 2500 based but should do the trick for cheap.

                  Then pickup some used USB devices to finish your project.

                  Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2


                  • #10
                    I also second the Drive line front end as it just plain works well, and is easy to configure.

                    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2


                    • #11
                      hey lunaEros, I'm 46, getting old man I've been through many many years of mainly GM's, then a bit of a love afair with my Infiniti which of course I still have, but now my latest fav is Mercedes, that's the latest high performance luxury cars for me, took a lot of years to finally realize the finer things in cars I guess good luck on your project
                      MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                      first windows carpc liquid cooled LVDS screen :D