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trying to justify adding a computer to mini cooper ice cream vehicle

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  • trying to justify adding a computer to mini cooper ice cream vehicle

    Well, I've been converting a 2004 mini cooper R50 into an ice cream truck. So far its going pretty good. I have a roof rack with a skim board mounted with a 2' ice cream cone on top. I have signs on hood and driver door, full door sized signage for passenger door, custom signs everywhere. removed the passenger seat for a 63Qt edgestar ac/dc sub zero freezer. back seat cooler for sandwiches. power inverter (empty). I bought the inverter for a roof mounted bubble machine, but the liability issue of blowing soap everywhere was too dangerous. Have an ice cream music player with external speaker mounted to roof skim board. H/K drive & play for ipod (inside music). Getting some AutoXCooper eyes, maybe roof mounted lights. Its looking pretty good.

    I'm considering using my old mac mini PPC as a carcomputer. Its just sitting there, begging to be used for something.

    I would probably either cram it into glovebox, under dash, or in the boot somewhere. I'd connect a cheap small vga LCD to it. the monitor would either mount on the freezer's side or in driver side window corner. would connect my autoenginuity enhanced ODBII tool to the USB to monitor car's power and any thing else (running XP), I'd like to get a PC USB GPS device to keep track of route and maybe a rear view camera to see if any kids are behind the car. Maybe connecting to a LED scrolling sign for rear passenger window to show sales total or messages (these are available with or without PC connections). I have a bluetooth keyboard and gyro mouse, has airport and bluetooth built in. Have sofa control and some other software to make it pretty user freindly.

    considering what I want to do (GPS, Rear view cam); would it really be justifiable to install the whole computer in the car? Would I really need a carconex power adaptor instead of just using the power inverter? All I would really need is a monitor, GPS dongle, web cam. I think I'm just wanting some justification to the wife for the additional gadgetry.

  • #2
    If you could track gps location and sales together you would be able to find the most profitable areas for you and be able to hit them more.
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    • #3
      My thoughts exactly. If you could use sales and location data to improve upon your long term profits it would definitely be a huge value.


      • #4
        A power inverter is fine, but it wont turn the pc on automatically. If you don't mind pushing the power button every time you want it to turn on, go that route. You can always change it latter. This is a hobby of evolution. Once you start, your project is never complete.
        I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet .


        • #5
          pics please?

          A mini cooper ice cream truck sounds awesome.


          • #6
            yes, pictures will be coming soon. lately been consumed with remodeling our garage storage space into a workable office workshop for the ice cream business. Have gone through several transformations of the car to get things "right". It is definitely a constant work in progress.
            I think I'll go ahead and install the mini, the cost of a USB gps device, lilliput 7", and some mounting hardware is still less than a good stand alone GPS. and much cooler.
            I'm sure there are lots of folks here with GPS USB devices, haven't found any that work directly with the mac OS, but I am running windows as well. Does the Garmin Mobile PC USB have track logging and voice command? or is there a better alternative to the Garmin? nice thing about the mac is the ability to speak and be spoken to using voiceover.


            • #7
              What, a mini-cooper what!? o_0 Dude, I'd say that if such a thing exists, do it, if for no other reason than the novelty of it. (no pun intended)


              • #8
                Please post pics!!


                • #9
                  Your justification for doing it should be: "Because you can!"
                  Kids, don't play with too many knives! -Crack Stuntman


                  • #10
                    its coming along. slowly but surely. pictures will come when its cleaner.
                    the freezer was the easiest install with shunting off the airbag and removing the seat. bubble machine spit out too much soap-made it dangerous, wasted a lot of time trying to fabricate something that would keep it from spilling. currently mounting a 2' ice cream cone on surfboard on roof rack, Hella offroad lights on roof. lilliput 629 to airvent, macmini in glovebox with globalsat 353 gps, vinyl stripes everywhere-to make it more noticeable. headlight eyes from autoXgraphic (sponsored) are going on today, magnetic signs, ice cream music box to dash, speaker to roof surfboard. Also had to remodel my workshop to pass a health inspection. Things have slowed down on it since my wife broke her elbow and wrist, but I'm still finding a little time to work things out.

                    on the carputer side, have been trying out all sorts of software to make it easy to operate. the front ends so far haven't been "perfect". Need track logging GPS, calculator, itunes, video, scanguage in an easy to use thing with big buttons. running tiger on PPC mini with virtual PC, Mac GPS Pro, Scanguage, AMP so far. have road runner and car front end, but thought they were too complicated. Thinking about Qcar, route 66, or route buddy are next.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for all of the help from here and NAM.
                      installed the mini under the drivers seat. made a AC air vent bracket with a couple of j-hooks and a peice of ceder for the lilliput 629. total cost so far is about $5.00 of hardware and the lilliput LCD. currently, it works ok with the inverter, but I've found a pretty good deal on a carnetix 2140 with macpac and connector for the lilliput.

                      I see lots of posts here of using the cnx-p1900 with the macpac. anyone have any problems or successes with the CNX p2140 with mac pac on a Classic ppc mac mini?

                      I like the additional benefit of power monitoring, especially since I have so many critical power mods.

                      Yes, the macpac would work:
                      maybe the power monitoring will work in virtual PC on a PPC mac mini, no other reference, any users?:


                      • #12

                        tested at 75 mph. cone stays-doesn't fly off. using ton of big Orings and mounts from hella lights between cone and skimboard.
                        the lilliput monitor really mounts easily and securely to the mini coopers ac vent.

                        newbie questions:
                        I'm thinking I can just get an "M" cable from radio shack to connect the lilliput to the CNX. is that correct? or would I have to buy the $10 extra monitor cable from the mp3store?

                        was thinking about additionally splicing the dc cigarette plug for the freezer as well.
                        specs: DC (5.5A/2.75A) 66 watts
                        of course, would that be of a real benefit anyway? the freezer runs when the car is running, and the car is expected to mostly be running when the freezer is installed. I guess that answers that.

                        I'm still needing to hard wire all these power mods to the fuse block of course.
                        leaving the mini's rear power plug for freezer only-either with the cig plug or inverter.

                        Thanks for all of the help.

                        continued in the worklog:


                        • #13
                          Wow, that is unique to say the least! I think I can say you will probably have the only Mini Cooper Ice Cream Truck..... errr.... vehicle in the world! Nice work!

                          As far as a few posts up about having to turn an inverter on and off, you can actually purchase a control board that can turn the inverter on when the key is turned on, and then it also sends a signal to turn on the PC. When you turn the ignition off, it tells the PC to turn off, and when successfully turned off, then turns off the inverter.
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                          • #14
                            SWEET ride man!

                            Don't power the freezer from the cig lighter -- it's got a pretty low amp rating. Instead splice a wire off the cig lighter to a relay that switches on a direct lead from the car battery. The lead needs its own fuse, the size of which depends on the size of wire you use, but 50 amps usually works with 8+ awg. Look in the car audio section for more info on how to do this.


                            • #15
                              its amazing how easy it is to modify these little cars.
                              its like they expected people to do this kind of stuff.
                              hardwired the roof lights to the headlights last weekend, much better than threading them out the back from the ice cream cone. threaded wires through the roof rack bars and down inside door edging. ground to engine compartment, hardwired to headlights, and switch/fuse to interior by cup holders. invisible from the outside. lots of little cubbies and slots for easy access on this car.
                              since it took most all day to do that, i didn't think i could hook up the cnx and mini in any quicker time, but only took about an hour. placing everything in the glove box was a big timesaver. did the add a circuit off of the stereo 15 amp fuse, wire hide well from the fusebox to glovebox, already has hole in there for the aux adaptor.
                              and voila, mac mini works great.
                              nice and clean for the most part. I only have the touchscreen and gps powered off of the mini.
                              still need to wire the lilliput to the cnx.

                              the freezer is very energy efficient, but true, the cigarette power adaptor and ac power have different ratings. think i'll be better served with the 400w trunk inverter drawing 60w from the freezer at max pull (-08 degrees). still have some real world testing to do on the freezer methinks.