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New Laptop Project!

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  • New Laptop Project!

    I was driving to work one day trying to find a song on my tiny mp3 player plugged into my car stereo and thought to myself ĎI wonder if I could install a PC in my car?í A Google search later I found MP3Car and a ton of people that have already done it!
    This is an excellent site by the way, Iíve spent many hours reading about the world of carputers!
    Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction on some of the questions I havenít been able to get definite answers for? (I have searched honest!)

    This is what I have and what I plan to get:

    Things I have:
    Laptop (1.6GHz AMD Sempron Mobile 2800+ processor
    1GB PC2700 DDR333
    40GB HDD 5400rpm (will probably increase size and speed or even Solid State Drive)
    DVD / CD-RW Combo Drive (non removable)
    Dlink 802.11b Wireless Card (PCMCIA)
    2 x PCMCIA Ports
    4 x USB2.0 ports
    Mini Firewire port
    10/100 Network Port)

    Bluetooth GPS (currently used for ipaq Tom-tom)

    Things I Need:
    7 / 8 inch touch screen monitor
    Bluetooth Dongle or Bluetooth PCMCIA Card
    Digital TV USB device (for TV and Digital Radio)
    Laptop car charger (?) or power supply

    My plan:
    Attach the laptop to the bottom of the passenger seat, mount touch screen in dash where the stereo would normally go (remove stereo completely). Attach power supply / car charger to laptop via ignition relay switch so that when ignition is off no power will get to the laptop but the laptop battery will take over if I still need the laptop running (just so it wonít flatten my car battery). Mount the power button in the dash for turning the laptop on / off (I know I can rig it to auto turn on and off but in my mind this is the best option for me).
    Software, I currently have Windows Media Centre 2005 but I will be looking at road runner very soon as WMC2005 doesnít do everything the way I want it to.

    1. I have already stripped down the laptop and put it back together again just to see the guts really! I noticed the wiring running from the motherboard to the laptop screen and was thinking if it would be possible to cut the power to the laptop screen and power the touch screen via these connections (internally) this would save me having to externally power the touch screen and it would also turn off when the laptop turned off???

    2. I was thinking of just using a standard laptop car charger as I donít need nothing to fancy with regard to auto power on and off. Iíd remove the cigarette lighter bit and connect direct to the battery with a fuse, is this a good idea or am I missing something?

    Cheers for any help or ideas!

    "I rise, I travel, I fall / I Am That I Am"

  • #2
    1. I dont think you can power an external monitor via the lcd ribbon because it probably doesnt provide enough juice and the right voltage. plus it would be a PiTA to rig a cable to do that that would remain secure enough. chances are ud screw up the mobo in the process.

    2. you may want to consider a power supply such as a carnetix or opus to protect your laptop and especially monitor from power spikes during cranking. otherwise your components will die out faster. if you go that route ull also get the nice power on and off and make sure your components dont drain your car battery if you leave it sitting around for a few days.

    IMO, spend a but more but do it right


    • #3
      Thanks for your reply Hari Bhari,
      Hmmmm, if I canít power the touch screen with the laptop monitor power perhaps I could rig a relay to turn off the touch screen when thereís no power going through to the laptop screen??? Or, I guess I could just use the Shutdown Delay Timer in the CarNetix Iíve just been reading about!
      I think your suggestion about the CarNetix is right, it will power my touch screen, laptop and a USB hub (which I think Iím gonna have to invest in as Iím running out of USB ports!) and will prevent damage from power spikes.
      Thanks for your advice.


      "I rise, I travel, I fall / I Am That I Am"


      • #4
        yep the safest way to do it is to get a regulator and let it output to your laptop, monitor, and usb devices. i used the cnx-p2140 which was a bit expensive around 140, but it was well worth it. everything turns on and off as it should, and you have the option to continue to provide power to your laptop even when the car is off so it stay in standby rather than hibernate/shutdown. it monitors your battery voltage too though, so if your car batt voltage drops too low, it will cut power to everything so you dont kill your batt.