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Why did you build your carputer?

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  • Why did you build your carputer?

    Maybe this has been asked before. I did a quick search and didn't find anything in the FAQ's i don't think. So i have been interested in putting Navi in my car for some time. I was ready to pull the trigger on an Pioneer AVIC-D3 and in my searching i came across this webpage.

    My question is why did you build a carputer rather than go with a premanufactured head unit? (This is purely curiosity not bashing carputers)

    Was it the fun of creating something custom and the satisfaction of saying i built that?

    Are there features that you needed/wanted that were not available in a Headunit?

    Was it cost motivated?

    Any other reasons?


    Now am really leaning towards building something myself. I am a computer dude, but not very good with the whole electricity thing. My main concern with a carputer is burning my car to the ground. At this point the only feature i can think of that is not included with an aftermarket headunit is WiFi. Are their any others i am missing? I would love to hear peoples reason for building something so cool.

    Thanks!!

    (mods if this is in the wrong area please move)

  • #2
    Originally posted by Balkos View Post
    My question is why did you build a carputer rather than go with a premanufactured head unit? (This is purely curiosity not bashing carputers)
    Lots of reasons, but the major one is that a computer can have functionality that a headunit can NEVER have.
    Was it the fun of creating something custom and the satisfaction of saying i built that?
    Yes.
    Are there features that you needed/wanted that were not available in a Headunit?
    I wouldn't say that, but the computer can have all the functionality I could ever need or want.
    Was it cost motivated?
    No.
    Any other reasons?
    Because I'm just that sort of geek.
    My main concern with a carputer is burning my car to the ground.
    A legitimate concern!
    Really, though. As long as you approach a vehicle install with the same logical troubleshooting steps, you should have minimal problems.
    At this point the only feature i can think of that is not included with an aftermarket headunit is WiFi. Are their any others i am missing? I would love to hear peoples reason for building something so cool.
    Show me a headunit on the market that can control actuators or a full-on air suspension.
    Can a headunit get internet access through your cellphone or sync up with your PDA?
    Is there a make/model of headunit that will allow you to view those fresh photos of that event you're at? Better yet, will it allow you email those fresh photos to everyone who attended the event?
    I know there's not a headunit that can play Half-Life....

    There are more reasons to go wiith a carPC, to be cvertain. Let your imagination run wild. Anything your desktop PC can do, your vehicle PC can do.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Balkos View Post
      My question is why did you build a carputer rather than go with a premanufactured head unit? (This is purely curiosity not bashing carputers)
      When I built my first system there was no such thing as an ipod, no music kegs, no easy way of getting that much music into the car. I didn't feel like switching CDs in a multichanger.

      There were also no mini-itx, no lilliputs, no xenarcs, no Opus psus, no m1/2 atx. Premanufactured units were not available for the feature set I required.
      Old Systems retired due to new car
      New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.

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      • #4
        I can tell you from being a newbie myself. Having a carputer is way better then a headunit. I agree there is a lot involved and it can be overwhelming. This was my first carputer and we still have some fine tuning to do, but its awesome to have. I was in the same boat as you, i have computer knowledge but not so much electrical. I dove in to this hobby head first and to say the least, didnt burn the car down and everything still seems to run. Granted its still early, but so far so good. People on this site are soooo helpful and i owe a lot of the success i had to these guys. If your willing to put out money, you can find a lot of enjoyment doing this.
        My purpose in life... to do everything the wifey says too... or atleast thats what she tells me :P

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        • #5
          To add to the list:

          Show me a headunit that can play NES, SNES, N64, Atari, and every gaming console out there.

          Show me a headunit that can burn movies.

          Show me a headunit that can hold Terrabytes of data let alone 360Gb that I have.

          Show me a headunit that can let you browse the web.

          Show me a headunit where you can get navigation maps based on either rendered maps or satellite imagery.

          How about a headunit where you can change the entire appearance of it... I know some you can change the colours, and one or two where you can add a custom background image, but none that I know of where if you wanted to swap the location of the radio and navigation buttons would let you. Anything like that.

          And I built it because I was looking at the eBay cheapo nav systems for like $400 and thought well for just a bit more I could put a computer in. And then I found this site. Little research and I was hooked.
          Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
          1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
          30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
          15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
          Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

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          • #6
            Amen!
            My purpose in life... to do everything the wifey says too... or atleast thats what she tells me :P

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
              Show me a headunit that can play NES, SNES, N64, Atari, and every gaming console out there.

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              • #8
                Show ma headunit that when you think up a new function such as GPS-based weather, traffic cams, or gas price finder that you will have a world-wide community immediately jump in and program it for you and release it within a month and support it forever! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

                I'm not implying that I thought these things up but I do contribute, testing if nothing else
                HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

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