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A "different" application - please advise

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  • A "different" application - please advise

    I recently found this site and am very impressed by some of the examples I've seen. I've been using MP3's at home for a couple of years, and would like to expand on it. This isn't related to cars, but I couldn't find and I'm sure you guys can answer these basic questions. I've been reading through these forums, but can't find all the answers.

    I currently have an older computer in my basement with a 60gb drive and I'm in the process of ripping all my cd's to it. My goal is to have this system drive my whole house audio (short term) and later expand to other automation areas (X-10, etc.). Ideally, I would like to have a flush-mounted touch screen in the wall near my kitchen. This is directly above the area where the actual box resides. I'm guessing the cables would have to run 15 to 25 feet.

    Is this possible (to run such a long distance)? I would appreciate any advice on the display equipment to use. As I understand it, I could buy an "all in one" solution, with the touch control built into the display, or buy a kit to put over the screen. Recommendations?

    I have an old Winbook laptop with a 12.1" TFT display. If there's anyway I can use it and save some $$, I would be thrilled. I've searched through these forums and here's what I've learned (Please correct me where I'm wrong, as I definitely am new to this.):

    My screen is connected to the laptop through some cables that are sending a digital signal. It is possible to take this screen and connect it to my desktop, but I need a controller of some sort (what kind?). Does this limit the distance that the display can be away from the rest of the box? I read something about signal loss.

    Here are some of my general questions:

    What does TFT stand for? (told you I'm new)

    What's the difference between the display from a laptop and the one's that are sold as kits?
    What's the maximum distance you've heard of for extending display/mouse/keyboard cables?

    Arby, what happened to your home automation site? I saw a link, but it was dead.

    Sorry for all the questions, but I could really use the help. I'm excited about the possibilities of the project, but don't want to get in over my head. Oh, too late

  • #2
    Go to and look at thier adapters. There are 2 types. One is a card that plugs into your compouter (via pci or ide) and plugs into the lcd and the other is a controller that your VGA out plugs into and then it plugs into your LCD (basically a converter). You'll have to find the specs on your LCD, but it should work.
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    • #3
      What type of cable are you concernd about running 15-25ft? RCA for audio? If so, 15-18 wouldn't be too bad, I've done this. 25 is pushing it, though it will work. I'm not sure on how much signal loss would occur, probably not even noticable.

      If you're planning on running VGA cable, you may be able to get away with 15'. I have no idea where you're going to find one that long, but you could give it a try. Another solution is find a signal amp. These are just some suggestions.

      Now - TFT is an acronym standing for Thin Film Trasistor. It is also known as "Active Matrix" It's a technology used in most newer laptops and palm devices. The screen contains a transistor for every pixel on the screen, enhancing visibilty and sharpness. I hope this helps you out. Good luck.
      My Install Thread

      MKIV VW Jetta
      How do I get sound to my car?


      • #4
        well wouldnt it be eaiser to use the network the laptop and either just play the mp3s over the network or use a network control plugin for winamp on the server and control it from the laptop

        sorta not a touchscreen but close

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        • #5
          Arby, what happened to your home automation site? I saw a link, but it was dead.

          You must be thinking about something else...


          • #6
            I was browsing through somebody's mp3car site and there was a link to some home automation stuff. i clicked on it, but the link was dead. sorry, i thought it was your site, but I must have confused it with someone else's.

            thanks for the replies. I was referring to the monitor cable (vga i guess). if they make such a thing, or if I could chain a couple of them, I could control the unit from upstairs. true, I could just network a laptop, but i thought an in-the-wall touch screen would look cooler, save space, and be fun to build.

            Can anyone help with touchscreen questions? I'm still a little confused. Bergeron mentioned an adapter, but I didn't see it when I went to the site. I saw controllers, but i don't know what I would need, or if they are even the same thing.

            thanks for your help. If anyone knows of a Displays for Dummies page anywhere, please let me know. I'm sure I could answer a lot of my questions there, or I could at least educate myself to the point that I could ask better questions.



            • #7

              Go there for touchscreen.

              You can try and find a controller card for your laptop LCD at
              My Install Thread

              MKIV VW Jetta
              How do I get sound to my car?