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  • Which laptop?

    Hey guys, i'm finally ready to start buying my parts but i need some advice first. What laptop are you guys using, i know everyone is using something different, i know a lot of people go with the IBM laptops, but i was hoping to buy something from stores like BB, CC, Office Max, something like that, does any one know what a good entry level laptop is that has a docking port on it, the websites never seem to say and i want to make sure i get a docking station w/ it.
    Planned ... 95%
    Purchased 25%
    Installed ... 0%

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  • #2
    are you planing to r&i often & use out of the car frequently too? what kind of budget...
    MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

    first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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    • #3
      not sure what you mean by r&i, but no, the main purpose of this laptop will be the carpc. Eventually, years down the line i might have to use it for my proaudio programs when i'm EQing buildings and what not, but for the next 2 years at least it's primary purpose is in car, budget is approx 700
      Planned ... 95%
      Purchased 25%
      Installed ... 0%

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      • #4
        r&i= remove & install, like taking it in & out on a regular basis.

        if that's not the case, a dock is less important. a dock will make connecting to the power switch easier, but only if the dock has a power switch on it, many don't. a dock may also give you a few extra usb ports, but again, there are other solutions for that too.

        there are so many different laptops out there, so saying which is best for this is hard. just about any laptop will work, you should be able to pick up something suitable just about anywhere, I'm not to sure why your really stressing the dock factor, I wouldn't consider that as much of a priority as you seem to be.

        I've had good experiences with dells & gateways as being easy to disassemble & reassemble to make connections to the switch for automatic starting & shutting down, but most dells are not dock-able, earlier IBM's are popular because they did have the power switch on many of there docks & docks are usually available cheap on ebay

        Fujitsu's are great machines & many have docks, but most don't have power switches on there docks... plus they can be a little pricey

        there are so many different laptops, as a general guide I think it is critical that you do make connection to the laptop switch, this would be one of the main criteria I would use in selecting a laptop to begin with. either search around for other successful connections to power switch to see what others are having good results with & you'll also see that some laptops are a nightmare to get at the power switch, again, here dells & gateways are usually very easy... if you see the power button is on the top of the keyboard area in a thin panel there usually easy, if you see a slide switch on the side to power it then that would be one of the very difficult ones

        another thing to mention is with dells, they are good machines for a carpc, they are easy to disassemble but they have a drawback of needing a proprietary power supply to charge the battery, where most other laptops just need a specific voltage to charge... what are you planning on using to power this & start it up & shut it down? if you permanent install it & power it with an atx supply you won't even need the battery at all in a config like that, & the power supply can also handle startup & shutdown...

        I see your looking to buy a new retail laptop for this, have you considered trying to buy a laptop on ebay with a busted screen maybe instead? for the same budget you should be able to get laptop, power supply(s), startup shutdown & still have some left over for other stuff...
        MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

        first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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        • #5
          I appreciate you taking the time to help, but i ended up pick an hp 14.1" that was on clearance at CC yesterday for only 450. Thanks though, now that i have this all I should be opening my worklog soon.
          Planned ... 95%
          Purchased 25%
          Installed ... 0%

          WorkLog

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          • #6
            cool, now you gotta figure out how to connect to the switch (HP's are usually easy too) & how your going to power & control it, what voltage does it run at? do you already have a solution for that, please don't say your going to use an inverter
            MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

            first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

            Comment


            • #7
              Not sure about power, i want to keep the laptop as stock as possible. I've concidered using an AC/DC adapter that hp makes. the power reads 18.5 Vdc 3.5A, to control it i've already set up RR using Digital FX 3.0 which is awesome i must admit.
              Planned ... 95%
              Purchased 25%
              Installed ... 0%

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              • #8
                how are you thinking to turn it on each time though?

                the hp car adaptor will be great to power it, you may also need 12v & 5v supply though for any periferals & usb devices & stuff..
                MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

                Comment


                • #9
                  Not sure about how i'm going to turn it on to be honest with you, that's one of the areas i haven't put a whole lot of thought to, I still need to read up on the forums for ideas on that one. I don't know a whole lot about car electrical wiring so i'm really tempted to get a local car audio store to run an extra 4 awg line w/ ground when i have them put in my subs. Eventually i'm going to have my laptop tie into an Alpine Ida x200.

                  I think at this point the only USB items i will be using is a slim line DVD Player, a GPS unit (probably the BU-353), and the touchscreen.
                  Planned ... 95%
                  Purchased 25%
                  Installed ... 0%

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                  • #10
                    the best way to have a laptop behave like a carpc is to solder wires directly to the power switch. it is very intimidating but it is also pretty easy, & once you do that you'll never want to think about any other option. you can get a cheaper startup shutdown controller or even a cheaper small atx supply that will also give you 12v & 5v & also do the startup automaticly. even if you just wanted a push button on the dash you will need to go to this switch...

                    you may also have to disable a lid switch, some laptops won't even start up when the lid is closed. if you want to put up any pictures I'd try to help guide you. if your really dead set against opening the laptop then I guess search & see what your other options are, but to me most times there are no other good options...
                    MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                    first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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                    • #11
                      i'm not dead set against cracking it open, just dead set against not being able to use it outside of the car seeing i got a laptop so if i need it i can use it outside of the car.
                      Planned ... 95%
                      Purchased 25%
                      Installed ... 0%

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                      • #12
                        it's nice to be able to take it in & configure & play with skins, front ends, whatever... & browse etc... for sure, that's a great reason a laptop is a good carpc to begin with.

                        if you don't think you'll ever use the modem(wifi kills that anyway), that's a perfect spot to use an external remote start connection, just connect the 2 startup switch wires to 2 wires on the modem jack plug, now remote start is as easy as running a phone wire to wherever you need it. just unplug & go. you can also put another connector somewhere on the laptop, you can also just have 2 wires hanging out of the laptop even, but you should wire to the switch really. it sucks to have to go to the laptop each time you want to start it...
                        MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                        first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Okay, so confused about the modem thing, can you explain it a little better, or maybe show pictures of when you've done something like that.
                          Planned ... 95%
                          Purchased 25%
                          Installed ... 0%

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                          • #14
                            ok, the power switch needs 2 wires connected to it. when these 2 wires connect, the power button is pressed. you need a way to do this remotely. you need to be able to connect to the switch when the laptop is installed in the car. you can disconnect the phone jack that was originally for the modem & use 2 of those wires, you can connect 2 wires from the power switch to these wires. now, when you plug a phone wire into the modem jack, the phone wire will become a way to start the laptop. on the other end of the phone wire, when you connect 2 of the wires together momentarily the laptop will start...

                            when you want to remove the laptop unplug the phone cable, the laptop looks & functions normally.

                            if you don't get what I mean I'll try to show you tommorow...
                            MY NEWEST INSTALL:modded infiniti fx with big screen

                            first windows carpc install........my liquid cooled LVDS screen :D

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                            • #15
                              I understand what you mean on the laptop end, but what happens with the other end of the phone cable.
                              Planned ... 95%
                              Purchased 25%
                              Installed ... 0%

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