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Yet another newbie needs help for first time build

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  • Yet another newbie needs help for first time build

    Hey All,

    Sorry for being the billionth newbie with the same usual questions! I've been reading the forums for a long time and decided its time to start putting a build together, so I wanted to get some expert advice before I part with some hard earned cash!

    The idea to put a PC in the car came to me when I was looking for a replacement HU and found the Chineese units on ebay which seem to do everything, although some of UI's are hideous and who knows about the quality. Equally they arent upgradable or future proof, and there something very cool about being able to build your own.


    Replace factory HU with a system capable of Navigation, Bluetooth, DVD playback, dual zone functionality and IPOD integration. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee (2003) and I think the hole in the dash is 2 din, can anyone confirm for me?

    Be able to play music approx 5/6 seconds after engine cranking (I guess resume from hibernation, not cold start)

    Do it for around £400 (or less if possible)

    Integrate with current car speakers and amp and hopefully still use steering wheel controls

    Make it look factory supplied

    Do these objectives sound reasonable for a first time build? As with everyone else, I've spent a long time trawling through the various threads and builds, and just about anything is possible, but there are so many options.

    Parts list
    • Screen - 7" touchscreen (sun light readable if cost allows)
    • Mobo - Mini-itx with onboard sound and dual VGA (can you get this?)?
    • Processor - Is it worth looking at bundles (like those with an included Atom)? Or should I get the most powerful processor available that doesnt require a fan to cool it (and if so what is recommended)?
    • Bluetooth - USB dongle seems to be the most popular option
    • GPS receiver - Bu353/355 is common as being the best choice
    • Front end - Centrafuse as it provides navigation in the UK which I cant seem to find in other products
    • PSU - some sort of device that powers the computer when key is turned on and vice versa and an ability to override for fuel stops etc
    • Wireless - USB device to add this functionality
    • Harddrive - solid state to avoid damage of moving parts - any disadvantages for doing it this way?
    • Double din enclosure to fit it neatly in the dash - can anyone recommend a supplier in the UK?
    • Slot loading DVD/CD drive

    Other Questions!
    • How does the sound work when coming out of a 6/7 channel audio card into the car speakers - do i need a harness adaptor for the current amp/speakers and then add some RCA leads for connection to the soundcard?
    • How can I mount the screen on the front of the enclousre, and move it to allow access to the DVD player - is there a system that I can buy already capable of this?
    • Should I mount the GPS on the dash, or is it better on the roof (trying to avoid drilling the roof if I can help it)?
    • Can a DVD be played through Centrafuse, but directed to a screen in the back for my daughter, and I will still be able to listen to music/watch GPS etc up front? Can anyone advise on the best way to do a dual zone system?
    • I'm quite happy to use secondhand bits and pieces, so if there are any recommendations for where to get bits in the UK, I'd be very grateful.
    • Are there any other components on the list I am missing?!

    I'm sorry for such a long post, and many thanks in advance for the replies. Hopefully this will give me a good start and I can begin putting something together!