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After Years of thinking about it, finally building a carpc

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  • After Years of thinking about it, finally building a carpc

    So I've done my share of reading up on carpcs/carputers and I've decided to actually get one.

    I was originally going to build a Atom Ion from scratch with the following.
    Kingston 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400)
    ASUS AT5NM10-I Intel Atom D510 BGA559 Intel NM10 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
    VoomPC-2 Enclosure for Car PC Applications
    picoPSU-150-XT + 102W Adapter Power Kit
    DELL Laptop / Notebook 175-Watt Power Inverter Car Adapter
    PCI Rear Slot Cover for all circular power connectors
    Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT 160GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5"

    However, that came out to being just a tad under with a 160GB HD.

    So I think I'm going that route unless for some reason I shouldn't. Also, I would like to eliminate my head unit all together and add a FM tuner. I've read good feedback and a review here on the Mp3Car BoomzBox HD Radio USB Controlled AM/FM Tuner and I'm probably going with that route as well. The only question I have is what front ends actually allow control of the tuning?

    Then this brings me to the PC to speakers issue. I'll probably go with a Alpine MRP-F300 amp. Its a nice cheap 4 channel amp with a 100db SNR.

    Lastly, I'll need a touch screen that doesn't break the bank. Here is what I'm looking at now or should I go with the ? I thought I read somewhere that there was USB or driver issues with the 619 though.. or maybe even the EBY-701.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!

  • #2
    i am a huge supporter of do-it-yourself, so i would recommend going with building your own unit, this way, you know exactly what everything does, where it goes, and how to fix it when it blows up

    one of the things that i am curious about though is your reason for going with the pico psu, and the dell inverter(though you are correct that you need more than just the pico psu in the car environment). why not just go with a m2/m3 mpower supply?

    i think i have the amp that you are looking at, and it works fine for me(i can never remember the model number, but it is a 300wattx4channel amp). though i did need some preamps to get a decent audio level into the amp(though, i am also using a external sound card, so it could be that too)

    for the screens, i have a 619, and havn't have any issues that others are having, and have also read about others with the 701, it seems that there might have been some issues with a couple, but overall, they are decent screens.
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided


    • #3
      Well I've built my computers for the last 12 years but for some reason I think the linked carputer makes more sense and is a tad cheaper.

      If I were to build one, you're right the m3 psu would make more sense. You can wire those directly to 12V DC, correct?

      Also, this is going into a lifted/very stiff suspension Jeep. Should I just get the solid state drive or will the laptop HD hold its own? I'd probably land up going with a 80GB Intel X25-M Mainstream.

      I also forgot to mention, that I'm leaning towards the BU-353 for GPS.

      Is there a list anywhere that shows what fronts can be used with the Mp3Car BoomzBox HD Radio USB Controlled AM/FM Tuner? I would assume that Centrafuse works with it and I'm planning on running the Centrafuse Auto Navigation Edition. Just not a big fan of paying the $$ for a front end.


      • #4
        answered my own question.


        • #5
          yup, the m1/m2/m3/m4 can all be wired directly to the automotive 12 volt stuff, and will withstand the voltage fluctuations(the problem with the picopsu is that it doesn't have any of this regulation...).

          for the hdd, if you have the budget for a ssd, it will definatly be better for vibration, but is not required. as long as the hdd is securly mounted in the car, you shouldn't have any issues. (vibration reducing mounts can increase secondary vibrations that would ruin drives.) there are some threads on this in the environmental section where some members have posted about using standard 3.5" hdd's that survived multiple car-totalling wrecks. i doubt that your jeep can exert much more force than that

          i am also using that gps puck, and it works fine for me-i really haven't seen too many issues with it...

          for the radio, i don't use one at all, so i really can't help you at all with that--i think that it might be too new yet to be supported by any FE right now--last i looked, i thought they were still figuring out how to control it...
          My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
          "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

          next project? subaru brz
          carpc undecided


          • #6
            The BoomzBox does work with CF. If you use CF2 or CF3, there is an hdradio module update to make it work. It will be native to CF3.1.


            • #7
              Regarding CF Auto Nav...I'd recommend going with standard and getting 3rd party nav software (Garmin MobilePC, Iguidance, IGo, Navmii, etc). Destinator maps are ridiculously old (although there is a workaround to get current maps). Even with new maps, Destinator routing is the worst I've seen. I've tried Destinator, GMPC, and Iguidance 4.0...I prefer GMPC. There is a CF plugin (AppLoader) that can run Iguidance within CF. The plugin for GMPC is underdevelopment for CF3, but will be outstanding.


              • #8
                Thank you both for the info so far.

                Ok, so if I hold off until mid march, which is when they are saying CF 3.1 is coming out, BoomzBox HD should work with CF "out of the box" then? I like Garmin MobilePC and if I follow this correctly.. the CF plugin will run the GMPC sofware from the CF front end so it will look seamless, as the NAV is running within CF?


                • #9
                  Yup...BoomzBox will work with CF out of the box whenever they release 3.1. But you don't have to wait if you don't want to. The updated files for CF3 are available:

                  The GMPC plugin will make it look seamless...including muting audio when directions are being spoken. You can follow the development here:
                  The first release of the CF3 GMPC Plugin was pretty good. Unfortunately, somehow it was broken. I'm sure it'll get straightened out soon.


                  • #10
                    awesome, thanks.


                    • #11
                      Ok, I was just thinking about something else. So the PC will have 1 output for audio (which is 5.1 or 7.1) and I understand you take that to RCA -> AMP -> car speakers. How do you go about having the front, rear and left and right? If you split the output to RCA from the PC with this doesn't that just make it left and right and the front to rear non-existent?

                      Actually the system I'm looking at has RCA outputs already

                      Am I going to have to do it through a crossover/equalizer or even my amp to control the fader settings?

                      Or even this


                      • #12
                        VM7000 7"Desktop TFT LCDMonitor


                        i have three of these (1 broke, 1 disassembled, and 1 untouched)

                        i got them for about 100$ via fleebay each

                        hitachi lcd display and ccfl tube around all side, not just 2 lil tubes on top n bottom

                        lcd controller board looks exactly the same as the more expensive liliput except for where the vga/power connectors are soldered but i dont have part numbers or liliput board on hand, just goolge pics so its not fo-sho.

                        the usb touch screen is the same cheap ones off ebay as well, 7" resistive touch overlay going to a small board thats stuck to the lcd controller.

                        taking one of these bad boys apart is a PITA! they use a LOT of glue to hold the screen to the front half. and i dont think its regular hot glue ether.

                        the conectors for the display are proprietary connector that resemble s-video cables. i have cut one up and they are not copper wires but look solderable (i dont think thats a word really) but i havent got that far yet.

                        !!! disassembly is not reversible !!!

                        display is sharp, it is a real vga display, its not one of those ones that convert vga to rca and distorts the picture, but it does have two rca inputs

                        its NOT direct sunlight readable although its fine in the daytime

                        restive touch is what it is... ok

                        the software for it is good. bunch of calibration settings, bunch of driver settings for things like Xtime hold=right click, and more

                        END: good budget display and parts do come up here and there for those opps! moments

                        i think thats it... kinda long winded but a display is a large portion of the carpc cost so its good to know what your gettin


                        • #13
                          Well I already have the EBY-701 and currently working on the bezel fitment. I'm just a little confused about the audio setup in my last post.


                          • #14
                            So I've been doing some more reading and I've been looking at the Creative Labs USB Sound Blaster Audigy2 External Sound Card

                            The PC I'm looking at has optical out and this external card has an optical in. Argh, just trying to find an easy way to have the fader and balancer options


                            • #15
                              I will be watching your thread closely because I'm in the exact same boat as you. I've been thinking about this for years but never had the guts to do it.