Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Pseudo-FAQ: What Do I Need For A Carputer?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Pseudo-FAQ: What Do I Need For A Carputer?

    I knew this has been addressed, I figured I'd go into a bit more detail. Most people that visit this site look at a $300 project and don't see the small things that go into it like extra wiring, not to mention the blood and sweat.

    Tools
    - pliars
    - wire cutters
    - wire stripper / crimper
    - lots of screwdrivers
    - flashlight
    - full socket set
    - hex keys

    Computer - yes you can use desktop parts, but this FAQ is about doing it right.
    - small case
    - mini-ITX motherboard to save space and for low power consumption
    - 80 hard drive for all those music videos
    - 12 volt DC-DC power supply - this will take power straight from the battery as opposed to using an inverter which is the wrong way to go
    - startup / shutdown controller to make it turn on / off with the ignition. Most DC-DC PSU will have these and be labelled as smart or intelligent.
    - upgraded RAM. Windows XP requires about 512 megs.
    - enough USB ports for your devices
    - 4 5/8 inch screws
    - 15 feet of red power wire
    - 15 feet of white switched wire
    - 15 feet of black ground wire

    I bought the prebuilt Ampie computer from the mp3car store here. Basically all I did was upgrade the RAM to 512 and the hard drive to 80 gig. the rest is perfect for what I want, it comes with everything I listed above. If you want, you can add what I didn't and have Wi-Fi with a PCI card using the one PCI slot this board comes with, or even a radio receiver to continue using your radio. Basically just pop the computer together, load the software onto it, wire the red wire to the vehicle wiring harness for constant 12 volt, white wire to the harness for switched 12 volt, and black wire to the harness for ground. Screw it to your car with the screws or insurance won't cover it under theft.

    Screen
    - I went with the Xenarc 700TSV from the mp3car store
    - No, you cannot use a regular flip out screen, it has to be VGA so the touchscreen will interface with the computer
    - single female molex connector
    - USB extension cable
    - VGA extension cable
    - 15 feet white power wire
    - 15 feet black ground wire
    - car specific dash mounting bezel
    - fine tooth saw
    - sandpaper
    - double sided tape

    Take the cigarette lighter adapter for the unit and cut the cigarette adapter end off. Strip back the wire jacket and you'll find a wire wrapped in a white jacket, and outside that will be just a bare wire. The wire in the white jacket is your positive and the bare wire is your negative. Using the 15 feet of black and white wire, extend these and run them to the yellow/black wires on your molex connector. Yellow is positive, black is negative. Plug these into an empty molex connector from your PSU and you're set. Then use the VGA and USB extension cables to plug the rest of your screen into your computer. Take your screen completely apart, tape the circuit board to the back of the screen with the double sided tape, put the screen in through the front of the dash, hack up the factory bezel so it'll lay over the front of it to cover the edges, and then use your vehicle specific double DIN bezel to lay over top of that and cover the edges of your hacked up bezel. Screen's done.

    Speaker Amplifier - you need an amp, your sound card cannot power the speakers alone
    - less than 50 watts per channel if you have stock speakers.
    - 4 channel for all 4 speakers
    - I went with the MTX 4244 4 channel 120 watt and it works fine.
    - 100 feet colour coded speaker wire
    - 3 feet of switched wire
    - stereo harness specific to your vehicle
    - amp wiring kit including at least 8 gauge red power wire with an inline fuse no more than 12 inches from the battery terminal
    - at least 8 gauge ground wire, 12-14 inches in length
    - 4 1 inch screws
    - 2 1/8 to RCA Y adapters
    - 2 ground loop isolators - must be compatible on one end with the Y adapters (male/femaile)
    - nut
    - bolt

    Run the switched wire from the computer harness to the switched port on the amp so it comes on with the computer. Then run 12.5 feet of speaker wire for each speaker +/- making a total of 25 feet of wire for each speaker. Run all 100 feet for 4 speakers up to the front of the vehicle and connect them with their respective wires on the harness and make sure each is labelled/colour coded properly and grounded properly. Mine sounded like crap at first because I had one that wasn't grounded properly on the amp. Then run the power wire from the amp, through the firewall, and connect it with the battery. Then run the ground to bare metal and use the sandpaper to sand the metal prior to connecting the wire. IT HAS TO BE BARE METAL. Use the nut and bolt to connect it. Now that your amp's hooked up, let's get sound to it. Change your sound device to 5.1 output instead of regular 2 channel so that it makes 2 of the ports for separate front and rear output. And since they're both stereo, they give you left and right for a total of 4 channel output, 1 for each speaker. So plug the 1/8 end of each Y cable into the sound card on your computer (I used regular on board) and then each Y adapter goes into a ground loop isolator so your speakers don't make you want to kill yourself. Each ground loop isolator plugs its 2 RCA plugs into the 4 ports of the audio in on the 4 channel amp. Don't kid yourself, all the wiring for this amp was pretty expensive. Then screw it to your car with the screws or insurance won't cover it under theft.

    GPS
    - receiver - I went with the Holux 213 receiver from Ebay. It's cheap and works great.
    - sticky velcro
    - USB extension cable

    Connect the receiver via the USB extension cable and place the receiver under either the front or rear window so it can see satellites. It doesn't matter if there's a layer of plastic between it and the sky so I put mine inside the dash and fixed it with the sticky velcro. The holux 213 is also magnetic so you can place it anywhere under the rear deck lid too I guess.

    Software
    - operating system - buy Windows or learn Linux. Or get a Mac.
    - frontend - Road Runner, Fredo, there's lots on this board
    - GPS - Destinator, iGuidance, there's lots on this board
    - Skin - this overlays your operating system and is basically a GUI for easy media playing and GPS view. Whichever skin you choose, you should never have to leave it to access something.
    - CD ripper - rip all your CD to your computer (why continue using discs?)

    I installed Windows, stripped it using a website showing how to take out all the unnecessary stuff, installed Road Runner, downloaded the Steel Blues skin to run over that, got iGuidance to run in that, and used a ripper to rip about 150 of my CD onto my computer. You can use an external CD ROM if you like but I figured, "Why when I have 2000 songs?"

    I'll continue to add to it as I finish up my system and as I remember where I spent $5 here and $10 there.
    Ampie Case
    2.5" Hard Drive 80GB Samsung 5400RPM
    256 MB DDR2 PC5400
    Xenarc 700TSV - VGA Monitor
    Intel D945GCLF Motherboard
    M2-ATX-HV

    2005 Honda Civic

  • #2
    Skills and Traits
    - Knowledge of general PC assembly and troubleshooting
    - Understanding of basic DC electrical systems
    - Understanding of software installation and troubleshooting
    - Ability to research
    - Ability and willingness to plan
    - Patience
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

    Comment


    • #3
      Please leave the FAQ section to the pros and veterans

      I disagree with many of the things you've said above.

      Last time I checked, you were the one dissatisfied with your carputer.

      People have options other than what you've listed in your post.

      Namely:
      • The hard drive could be of any size (both ways).
        If used in the Ampie case, however, it's got to be a 2.5".
      • All wire lengths and sizes depend on the car and the application.
        For instance, I remember WebDog telling me how he went to the dealership with a tape measure before buying the car.
      • The motherboard sizes could vary. There are the Nano boards, the Flex ATX boards, and even the full desktop boards that work perfectly well depending on the application.
      • You could "do it right" using desktop parts as well.
        All 3 of the CarPCs I've build were based off desktop parts.
      • RAM size, CPU speed, HD speed, etc. is all discussed within the forums and could vary to the user's liking.
      • Dash mounting bezels are not necessary. In fact, more and more people are fabricating the screen into the dash for a stock look.
      • Double sided tape? Really? What if you hit a bump or turn the system up?
      • Running your PSU off the Cigarette Lighter rail is potentially dangerous!
        When overloaded, at best, you're gonna blow a fuse.
      • An aftermarket amp isn't always necessary. People have the option to hack in to their stock stereo, or use the AUX-In of their aftermarket Head-Unit.
      • Many GPS units come with a magnetic base.

      Simply speaking: many of the things you have an opinion on have already been discussed before, many times over.
      For those without a clue, there's the Newbie section, with the stickies on top, and the FAQ to the FAQs that's very well maintained.

      If you want people going your route exclusively (as it seems from reading your post), assemble the system yourself, gather the cables and parts, install the "appropriate" software, write an eBook, and sell it as a bundle on eBay making a marging from the Customer Support you're going to provide to your customers.
      For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
      Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
      Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm going to post a link in my worklog as to what exactly I used and how it was done down to the nuts and bolts and thought this would be satisfactory. Also, the specifics are just suggestions.
        Ampie Case
        2.5" Hard Drive 80GB Samsung 5400RPM
        256 MB DDR2 PC5400
        Xenarc 700TSV - VGA Monitor
        Intel D945GCLF Motherboard
        M2-ATX-HV

        2005 Honda Civic

        Comment


        • #5
          DJiK, I'm in agreeent.
          Moved to General Discussion forum & re-titled appropriately.
          Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
          How about the Wiki?



          Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DJiK
            Last time I checked, you were the one dissatisfied with your carputer.

            Who writes a FAQ and a disatisfied post in the same day?
            freak3dot - Computer Science Degree
            ---------------------------------
            1994 Chevy Cavalier

            Phase 1 parts purchased.

            Comment


            • #7
              I still wanted to help others understand the hidden costs and approaches even if I made a few mistakes.
              Ampie Case
              2.5" Hard Drive 80GB Samsung 5400RPM
              256 MB DDR2 PC5400
              Xenarc 700TSV - VGA Monitor
              Intel D945GCLF Motherboard
              M2-ATX-HV

              2005 Honda Civic

              Comment


              • #8


                Is this like the blind leading the blind?

                Dude, your system doesn't even work and you're already showing people how to "do it right"?
                iGMon - Integration between iGuidance and Road Runner
                CFX - Skin for Road Runner

                Comment


                • #9
                  Everything I wrote up works.
                  The only thing not working with mine is the startup/shutdown controller and I just found a fix for that. Everything else is personal preference.
                  Ampie Case
                  2.5" Hard Drive 80GB Samsung 5400RPM
                  256 MB DDR2 PC5400
                  Xenarc 700TSV - VGA Monitor
                  Intel D945GCLF Motherboard
                  M2-ATX-HV

                  2005 Honda Civic

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    And your personal preferences don't warrant a FAQ, unless the question is "What are Maheriano's personal preferences".
                    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
                    How about the Wiki?



                    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DarquePervert
                      And your personal preferences don't warrant a FAQ, unless the question is "What are Maheriano's personal preferences".
                      Yo DP, I think he got the point.
                      If a person wants to lead other people into following his setup in an exact step-by-step fashion, s/he has every option of writing a precise worklog in the Show Off Your Project area.
                      As a matter of fact, this behavior should be encouraged -- it might minimize outbursts of random newbie questions and requests.
                      For Sale: Carputer (CarPC) & RCA Y-Adapter
                      Newsflash: Take a look at my unsold stuff above, thanks!
                      Up Next: Make an OBD to Serial cable & Redo the "MMI buttons"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Please move/delete as you see fit.
                        Ampie Case
                        2.5" Hard Drive 80GB Samsung 5400RPM
                        256 MB DDR2 PC5400
                        Xenarc 700TSV - VGA Monitor
                        Intel D945GCLF Motherboard
                        M2-ATX-HV

                        2005 Honda Civic

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DarquePervert
                          And your personal preferences don't warrant a FAQ, unless the question is "What are Maheriano's personal preferences".

                          Yeah, but how often has someone asked "What are Maheriano's personal preferences?"?


                          because I bet it sure as hell ain't Frequently.


                          So it still can't be a FAQ

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DJiK
                            Yo DP, I think he got the point.
                            Consider this a well-deserved nelson.

                            If a person wants to lead other people into following his setup in an exact step-by-step fashion, s/he has every option of writing a precise worklog in the Show Off Your Project area.
                            Right you are. This thread, however, is not a worklog. It's one person's recommendadtions. Thre's nothing wrong with that, either.
                            However, it shouldn't be considered a blanket "This is what you need" document, either.

                            The way I see it, the OP made some major mistakes here.
                            - He didn't RTFM (The M1ATX issue makes that patently obvious)
                            - He didn't research enough to ensure his system was going to work properly
                            - He didn't test the system prior to installation.

                            Maheriano came into this hobby very recently full of enthusiasm and excitement about this project. That enthusiasm and excitement led to rushed purchases, a rushed install and ultimately, a system that's not working to expectation. He even asked lost of questions and has been pointed a number of times to the various informational resources. Were they utilized? That's a question I can't answer. Maybe the information wasn't clear or too technical. Maybe someone chose to spoon-feed him before he researched on his own.

                            I don't know where the communication broke down here. I do know that there are countless others that do research their projects, plan them, test them and install them and don't have these problems. So what's the difference. No offense, Maheriano, but it's the user. In tech support we call it a PEBCAK error: Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard.
                            Maheriano, at least, didn't damage any equipment or set his car on fire or curl his hair from an electrical jolt or worse. That's a good thing. The issues he has and the mistakes he made can all be rectified with a little education and effort.
                            Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
                            How about the Wiki?



                            Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DarquePervert
                              Maybe someone chose to spoon-feed him before he researched on his own.
                              I'd venture to bet this is the root of most of the problems.
                              Jan Bennett
                              FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                              Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X