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New to the Scene, Could Use some assistance with CarPC Setup

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  • New to the Scene, Could Use some assistance with CarPC Setup

    I've only been on this site for an or two and a member for about 5 minutes but I'm loving it so far. I have a Saab and its very difficult to upgrade things in the car due to the fiber optic system. While I would love to set up a CarPC that could work with the fiber optic brain of the Saab I believe that its far fetched. So for now I'm hoping to set up a CarPC that I can custom mount to possibly run an audio system off of (for my mp3s) and allow passengers to watch DVDs in the car.
    Now I have an older laptop that I was thinking of using but its pretty slow. I'm curious what kind of laptops are better for CarPCs. Basically because I wanted to use a Lilliput 7" touchscreen since its cheap. Is it better to build my own setup for what I want? I'd love to utilize GPS and Bluetooth but not sure how to go about that. I'm still doing a lot of reading. I just want to get a thread going for my hundreds of questions to follow. Any guidance thus far?

  • #2
    the faq's are a great place to start:

    otherwise, most of the hardware is personal preferance-there is no single 'perfect setup'- if you feel that the old laptop will work, than it should be fine.
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided


    • #3
      what kinda saab?

      thatll be my next project...


      • #4
        What kind of Saab will you be working on?

        I would say that I'm more concerned about what I would really need in a computer to make it run well as a carpc. My laptop is old and slow and may not be the best choice at the moment. But with all the reading I find that the pc can be pretty bare and work well. So I figured maybe fully restoring the laptop might work.

        Since I'm no computer expert I wanted something prebuilt at first but don't know if my laptop is sufficient or if I should buy a cheap older one on ebay. Just need that small guidance at the moment of which way would be cheap but have enough cability to run dvds, mp3s, cd's, nav, and bluetooth. I'm looking to use a 7" touchscreen (would like something smaller) and I'm going to run the audio into my 5channel amp and redo my speakers. Problem is, there is so much information in the FAQ that I go in circles ha.

        So my real question at this point is which way should I go with the laptop. Will my old one be sufficient to run what I want? Should I look for a specific type of old laptop online? I'm assuming you'd need details on my current laptop for help.


        • #5
          Well I've decided that I'd rather build my own PC then use the laptop I have that may not work. There is another thread on here for the challenger build and he used some of the same parts I was looking at but a few were different. He has had success so I was going to try to copy his build since it all worked together. So the parts consisted of:
          Zotac IONITX-F-E Intel Atom 330 NVIDIA Ion Mini-ITX
          G.Skill 4gb (2x2gb) DDR2 Memory
          W.D. 500GB 2.5" Sata HDD
          M2-ATX PSU for auto on/off capabilities
          But I need to find a few items still. I need a DVD/CD drive and a case for the hardware.

          What are the thoughts on that setup?

          My other questions is this:
          I'd like to utilize the 3DConnexion SpaceNavigator as an Input device. This is where I can use some more assistance. To have this work I know you need to write some code (I've located the thread from the "Many Knob Choices" thread) for having the movement of the knob give control of the computer. So what I really need help on is finding information on how to write programs and all that jazz. Not only for the knob but I see that being able to expand and utilize your setup well is really achieved with knowing how to write codes to make the programs work how you want. I'm new to that so I'd love to start my research asap. While I've been looking at so many threads this past week I can't see anything that really covers where to go for that information for new guys. Any help is appreciated.


          • #6
            02 arc

            not mine yet... but can get for cheap. due to rod bearing failure

            i dont know much about saab so ive been doing bunch of preplanning before i commit to another project

            as far as cd/dvd drive i went with the panasonic uj875a with no complaints i mounted vertical and i shook it one time (outa curiosity ) to see what would happen. it made some mean grinding sounds but never scratched or broke nothing.

            i think that the case has more to do with how u plan on installing everything. i went with the m350 made it shorter and fit board, m2, 2.5 hdd, +1fan and all wires inside of it so i could keep it in a 1 din slot.

            +1 for the 500gb hdd cause videos will eat up platter real-estate fast

            4gb ram on the other hand is over kill for a car pc IMHO and it may slow down hibernate feature. i do know that with the atom dg945gclf2 w/ 2gb crucial ram running XP and centrafuse 2 + a few back round programs, i have never logged more than 400mb of ram being used.


            • #7
              Thanks for the response. I was looking at the Panasonic Slot Load CW-8124 before. Maybe I'll take a look at the one you suggested. I'm still trying to figure out the best choice of MOBO. I was looking at the Zotac before but with the NVIDIA chip it has those issues with the Lilliput screen not being able to run 800x480. So any help with choosing a processor to do what I want would be helpful. I'm looking at these:

              Intel BOXD945GCLF2D Intel Atom processor 330 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

              Intel BOXD945GCLF Intel Atom processor 230 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

              Also the Intel D510MO with Integrated Intel Atom Processor that is sold in the mp3car shop.

              Now the first two Intels are single slot DDR so I would go with either 512mb or 2gb. I don't want to under power so I'm not sure what to choose. The D510 would probably be dual 512mb DDR2. Then thinking either the Panasonic Slot Load CW-8124 DVD/CD or the Panasonic uj875a. PSU would most likely be M2-ATX and then the W.D. 500GB Internal HDD. I just don't which choices will be best fitted together. I've never built a computer before. Thoughts?

              As for the Saab. Good luck. I'd love to see if you can figure out how to control the stock interface inside the carpc. Nobody knows so far ha.

              Also, I've been doing some deep research into C++ the past few hours learning about code. I think that's whats going to help me program an input controller and all.


              • #8
                I went with a VoomPC-2 case in the install that you mentioned above, but it's a toss up as to whether I would have chosen that case if I had to do it all again. I really like that fact that it's compact and I was able to mount it where you can't even see it, but getting everything to fit inside was a bit of a process, even without installing a DVD drive.

                Also, you should give some thought to if you're going to need any PCI cards for anything. You may have no need for this at all, but I wish I had a case with a couple of slots for a PCI echo canceling card as well as a analog video capture card (I have a spare analog camera I could use in the car).


                • #9
                  Yeah I'll probably want at least one pci slot. I think I'd like to have a good sound card and possibly wireless.


                  • #10
                    I wrote up a whole post that didn't come up on here about different setup ideas... now its not coming up. Maybe it went to the admins since I'm still new? Idk. But I have a few different ideas on MOBO's. I'm not sure which one I want to use right now. Basically a few different Intel boards with Atom cpus. I'll post links after. I was trying to look for some that didn't have the NVIDIA so I wouldn't run into problems with the screen. Or should I go with the NIVIDIA and try the custom resolution trick?


                    • #11
                      Ok not sure why some of my posts come up and some don't...

                      Anyways, I was also looking at this board:
                      Intel BOXD945GCLF Intel Atom processor 230 Intel 945GC Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo
                      Number of Memory Slots: 1◊240pin
                      Memory Standard: DDR2 667
                      Maximum Memory Supported: 2GB
                      PATA: 1 x ATA 100 2 Dev. Max
                      SATA: 2 x SATA 3.0Gb/s
                      LAN Speed: 10/100Mbps
                      Max LAN Speed: 10/100Mbps
                      With Cooler: Yes
                      Model #: BOXD945GCLF
                      Item #: N82E16813121342

                      Has a good rating from Newegg. Also looking at the D510 that MP3car store sells. Thoughts on which would be better suited for what I want to do with it?


                      • #12
                        i am using the BOXD945GCLF2 but are pretty much the same except for a dual core atom

                        bad things about this board i have found so far:

                        there seem to be issues with the boards bios, such as failing to complete post because of having a usb card in a port, problematic trying to boot from usb, pata sata pci combination issues causing post error code 5a. i have not found any solid answers to these yet

                        the s-video out is only a mirror of the vga, the audio is only 2 channel out, so usb solutions start to become another question later on down the road when trying to add another video out and more audio channels. and keep in mind a pci card will add post time...

                        the 945gc chipset is not a good partner for the atom, bottle-neck and hot

                        the good:

                        i am really sold on the atom. very low wattage cpu, seems perfect for carpc

                        onboard video and audio will work fine for a basic set-up

                        pretty tough little board as i have shorted things out and droped stuff on it, i have shut it off several times by touching something and it always turned back on ready to go

                        i guess its a good cheap (i got mine + ram <$50) board to start out with but will quickly leave u wanting more...

                        just my 2cents


                        • #13
                          Haha that long post with my different boards finally popped up. Most have gone to the admins. So do you think that Zotac board would be a better way to go and just try to fix the resolution issue? I know its up to me but I need some guidance.


                          • #14
                            maybe it is just me, but i tend to have issues with intel boards, and not just in the car, even at home..
                            i recommend asus, and zotac.
                            My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                            "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

                            next project? subaru brz
                            carpc undecided


                            • #15
                              Yeah that Zotac board looks like the best choice. It's just that resolution issue I worry about. I'm not tech expert so building this pc is a big step for me. I just want to make sure I make a setup I'll be able to trouble shoot as well as run the things I want.

                              btw, sleepyzomby, if you get a chance let me know what kind of research you're looking into for the saab. I have an 04 but I am assuming that the 99-02 models had something similar for code compared to the 04+. I would love to be able to find some info of how Saab codes the head unit and all. There has to be a way to control the information through a car pc. That would be ideal for me at this point. Just wish I could figure out how to go about finding that sort of information. Any ideas?