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  • MS Surface Pro 2

    EDIT: One year on from this 1st post and I have installed the SP2 in my Vehicle - Build details further on in this thread.


    Been playing with a Surface Pro 2 and along the way was wondering how easy it would be to incorporate one in a quick release vehicle installation.

    Before I go on, can we NOT have insipid posts about other OS's or tablet designs in this thread.

    Some of us have a SPECIFIC need for a system running Windows and we are NOT going to dump years of programming code and hardware interface designs because someone doesn't like Win or MS products/systems or feel they are inferior for whatever reason.

    Start you own thread! Or there must be at least a dozen threads on other tablets and OS's and why MS and Windows are no good, post in one of those

    So back to the SP2.

    The main thing I don't like is the reflective effect of the glass screen, however that would not be a problem 95% of the time in my vehicle. Only one audio input (microphone) but quality USB sound interfaces are low cost these days. In reality I really only need one input anyway as DAB and my integrated phone module can be fed straight to the AMP via SW controlled switching.

    Stopwatch timed resume from sleep in one second, resume from hibernate or a cold boot is around 5.4 seconds, even after installing a lot of SW, that's close enough to instant on for me.

    DC supply voltage is 12 volts, depending on system load that would allow for very simple wiring and most likely a very low noise interface. I've had 8 devices connected via a 10 port hub having 7 x USB2 and 3 x USB3 ports and everything including the FE, micro hardware interfaces, 2 GPS puck's + Garmin PC and a web cam connected and it ran perfectly.

    UPDATED: There is a vehicle charging/power adaptor available, all that's needed in the vehicle. Rating quoted: input 10-15vdc 8A. output: 45w (12v @ 3.6A) prices vary from $15 to $29.

    With interface ports at the top and bottom (when mounted in portrait mode) it would be easy to incorporate into what would look like a custom integrated installation but with quick release to allow removal when leaving or entering the vehicle.

    Anyone using one? how do you find it?
    Last edited by Mickz; 01-02-2015, 04:35 AM.
    Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

  • #2
    On the high gloss screen..I have a old dell capacative touch screen in 10.1 ips.its super glossy and a amazing fingerprint magnet...but I wouldnt swap it for anything now. The veiwing angles and colours are just what i wanted.I would imagine the surface screen is better and with the ambient light sensor..(which I havnt setup yet) it would be a dream... i dont find the reflection that much of a problem either.think i had more problems with my old lcd and resistive touch..if I hadn't invested so much money in my carpc I would be looking very hard at a surface....

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    • #3
      I believe vegasguy is running a little asus tab in his ride as of now.pretty sure he is happy...if it was me I like the dash install option but removable for maintenance and showing off purposes....there was a guy here that did a tab install but wireless....does the surface have pogo pins or somthing alike for charging?

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      • #4
        Hi, some users don't like the ambient sensor control but you can turn it off if needed. I find it pretty good, very similar to the expensive 8" Car-PC screen I currently have with light sensor.

        The brightness I can get out of the SP2 is really great and viewing angle is only affected by the reflected light from the screen, the colour and contrast does not change even from almost side on viewing.
        Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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        • #5
          Interface for the power is a tiny magnetic connector plug with 5 pins, just seats itself into the socket. Making this thing look totally integrated into the vehicle but still removable would be a simple task.
          Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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          • #6
            Pics and video please and thank you It's nice to hear about some real world use than just the commercials. Following with anticipation SNO
            Last edited by SNOtwistR; 11-09-2013, 11:45 PM.

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            • #7
              Hi SNO, there are so many videos and pictures on the net of this thing that I haven't bothered with any but, I'll see what I can do when I get a chance, perhaps a close up of the power and display port connections. If you want something specific please let me know and I'll try and capture/record and post it for you.

              BTW There is a vehicle charging/power adaptor available, all that's needed in the vehicle. Rating quoted: input 10-15vdc 8A. output: 45w - 12v @ 3.6A, prices vary from $15 to $29.
              Last edited by Mickz; 11-13-2013, 12:26 AM.
              Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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              • #8
                Pics,and vids!!! love to see it running a frontend.....ambient sensor means one less thing I need to think about adjusting.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I wrote my own front end so that's not going to give any real indication but, it's a 4th gen i5-4200U running from 1.6 to 2.3 GHz with 4GB R and 128GB SSD.

                  I tested internal SSD (MSATA) speed and it's around 530MBs read and 288 MBs write, big improvement from the old SP from what I have seen.

                  Tested USB 3 read/write to an external SSD and it's the same speed as when SSD was installed in my main PC (it's not the fastest SSD - few years old - and tops out at around 258 MBs R/W.) The SP2 runs as fast as my late model Gigabyte with i5-3570K @ 3.40 GHz and 8MB R running Win8.1 on the tasks and apps that I have tried. I'll post a video when I get some time.

                  EDIT: for my Desktop PS specs (I first wrote the Car-PC specs)
                  Last edited by Mickz; 11-10-2013, 12:51 AM.
                  Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Well since I saw my name mentioned, I guess I'll chime in. My partner at work has a Surface pro, and man, is that one nice screen. No doubt about it, the Surface is the halo product in the Microsoft tablet ecosystem. I've been running an Asus Vivo SmartTab for a couple of months now. I periodically trade it out for a Nexus 7 2013. My observations are as follows:

                    The best things about running a tablet are great screens, nice touch performance and no wires. I know some are looking for permanent installations, but I didn't want to lose the whole reason for even having a tablet...big-screen mobility. So I got a nice little Kenwood head unit that supports Bluetooth Handsfree, Bluetooth audio and all the other usual goodies and that's that. With the tablet out, I have a fully functional stereo with BT hands-free calling as good as any I've ever had. With the tablet in, I add big-screen navigation, streaming media apps, OBDII and lots of other goodies. And that's pretty much true on either the Nexus or the Asus. Since the Asus has a GPS/GNSS sensor, I can run Centrafuse (natch) and the nav apps of my choice. I see that as the biggest drawback of the Surface...the need for an external GPS. Likewise, Sygic on Android for the Nexus is awesome...one of the best nav apps I've seen.

                    So like Mickz said, the big plus for the Windows tablets is a mature development ecosystem. One aspect that maybe most people don't think about is that the Windows guys don't have to support phones. Practically speaking, a Windows pro tablet is just another desktop. The Android guys always have to take the smartphone environment into consideration, lest they risk alienating an enormous customer segment. The result is that a lot of Android apps really don't look all that good (or work all that good) on tablets. Not a huge problem with the 7" Nexus, but very obvious on 10" screens. Yes, Android has an infinitely larger app catalog the Windows ever will. 99.999% of which will never see your screen in a moving car, they're simply unusable. Once you narrow it down to stuff you would actually use in a vehicle, the gap closes dramatically. Add the ability to jump easily to desktop apps (like RR or CF), and the Windows tablet starts making more and more sense.

                    The biggest drawbacks? Mounting, obviously. I saw a GREAT solution at SEMA (see picture below), but I don't know if it's real, and I can't find it advertised anywhere.

                    Click image for larger version

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                    Otherwise, you can fabricate one yourself (my route) or use something off-the-shelf. The other issue is peripherals. I use a BT OBDII dongle and it works great. But other than that, I don't have anything else attached. I tether to my smartphone for internet, and that's about it. I don't bother with startup controllers or power because I'm already on and all paired up before I get in the car. I don't drive more than an hour or two around town, so battery life isn't an issue and I don't feel the need to wire anything up (although I have plenty of 5v Cig adapters, A 10000 milliamp dual port external battery pack) and a 120v AC outlet in the truck, so power is there if I needed it.

                    But here's the kicker for me, personally: I have everything I ever really used in a car PC, better hands-free BT calling than I've ever had, AM/FM/HD/CD/MP3 that's there all the time, at significantly lower cost. $150 for the head unit and just under $400 for the win tablet, $235 for the Nexus. That's less than $800 for BOTH systems. Take a decent Lilliput, M2ATX, Atom-based carPC, stereo amp and all the rest of the stuff and your going to be WELL north of that figure. Hell, I spent more than $400 on the last touchscreen I bought for my traditional carPC setup.

                    So there you go....I'm hooked.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the info VegasGuy. With the vehicle I have and the construction of the dash it will be very easy to make a dock that is completely concealed, making the unit look like it's a permanent part of the vehicle, but only a second or so needed to remove the tablet. The picture you showed looks not unlike the soon to be released dock (if it's not already available in some places).

                      Totally agree with the touch screen and visual quality, especially compared to the higher quality? over priced currently available car PC touch screens.

                      As I had to make a custom hardware and SW interface (windows) for this vehicle to use the HVAC system once the OEM head-unit was removed I need quite a few USB connections. Tested this and it works fine.

                      Compared to the current car PC I have installed, I won't need any external battery or controlled start - shutdown at all, just makes for a very simple install and in the long run costs less that the current car PC, screen and associated hardware.

                      Just for a laugh I plugged in a small USB GPS stick I had laying around and went for a walk with Garmin PC - try not to laugh to loudly.
                      Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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                      • #12
                        Uh, that's exactly how I test Localizer when its late and I don't feel like jumping in the car. I'm serious when I say I love the fact that I don't NEED the truck to test the tablet, and I don't need the tablet to enjoy the truck. Cue the Van Halen...Best of Both Worlds!

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                        • #13
                          This is a great idea, I looked into the surface RT , it's actually cheap here compared to the load of stuff I have in my car now.

                          How are you doing the usb stuff since there is only 1 usb port , I got at least 5 items I got to connect , unless I start to expand the pc with extra stuff (DAB+ came available last month here in the Netherlands)

                          as for windows 8, I got 8.1 on my home machine and I am loving it , so the transition should'nt be too hard , only thing I don't know if you can go to desktop mode in windows RT , I can on my home machine.


                          Would love to hear/see more on this

                          Maybe a surface pro is a good idea , there is a dock available for that one
                          View my worklog here

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                          • #14
                            I am looking at getting a Surface Pro 2 at the start of the year and would love to hear any feedback on this unit. I have the same mini-itx motherboard you have Mickz that I plan to use but I am looking at the SP2 for my college computer. Being a programming student I originally bought an Asus ROG laptop but lugging around that huge laptop with 17.3" screen is a pain. (10+lbs)

                            Did you get it with a keyboard as well? Just curious how well the keyboard works.

                            Otherwise getting a good quality dock for your tablet and integrating it into your vehicle would likely be the best solution. Especially if the dock has all of the ports broken out for you already like some do for laptops.

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                            • #15
                              eugenweij

                              The Surface RT is - apart from the look - a completely different unit and will not run x86 Windows Desktop applications.

                              On my first post I indicated I was using a 10 port HUB with 3 USB-3 and 7 USB-2 ports. The docking station discussed has not been released yet, at least not over here in AU)


                              redheadedrod

                              I have the Type 2 keyboard (not the touch version) - normally I hate laptop keyboards, even ones on large screen laptops but I love this keyboard, nice feel to the keys and adjustable back lighting on both Type 2 models.

                              The dock is a bit pricy for what it is. However if I go for a vehicle install I'll be rolling my own, very simple with this tablet design.
                              Last edited by Mickz; 11-10-2013, 09:37 PM.
                              Palm sized ainol MiniPC, 8" Transreflective PRO, Win10, Reverse camera, Dual 10HZ GPS RX's for Speed Display & Sat Nav, FM-DAB & Phone Modules, iDrive interface. T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, microcode and FE.

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