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laptop carputer - noobie needs help :)

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  • laptop carputer - noobie needs help :)

    Hi All,

    I found this site after reading the recent article in an Aussie newspaper. I have been thinking of doing this carputer thing for a while now. I actually have a friend who has a screenless carputer in his car.


    I have a P3 700 Dell super thin laptop that I am going to put in my car. I already have a full ICE setup in my car with screen, CD, DVD, TV etc. I want a carputer for Internet access via GPRS and street directory. I have it all sorted except for a couple of things.

    1) the laptop doesnt have tv out, only vga out. how would I get the video to my screen? The screen accepts RCA inputs only. is there anything that converts the vga to rca? or maybe a pcmcia tv out card?

    2) how do you get the laptop to turn on with your car ignition? I have read lots of posts about it but no definite answers. Is this possible?

    thanks in advance for any help!

  • #3
    I have already done a search and saw most of the stuff you have posted. Thanks anyway.

    Anyone got a answer about the laptop power thing?


    • #4
      im wondering the same thing...actually just wrote a post about it...i would like a quick and easy way of powering it up...


      • #5
        Most (not all) laptops have some sort of docking ability.
        If you have a dock for this laptop, the easiest way to go about it, is to plug the docking station in, get yourself a multi-meter or o-scope and a free afternoon.
        Two of the pins on the dock are going to complete the power on circuit when you press the on-dock power button.
        Once you figure out which pins are involved in this process, you can correlate them to the docking port pins on the laptop. In most cases, shorting these two pins together will cause the laptop to turn on.
        Just about any normally open type switch can then be rigged up to allow you to turn on the Laptop.

        Hope this helps,



        • #6
          You can just solder the wire directly to the laptop. Turning it on/off by ignition is tricky, you will need a shutdown controller for this. I have designed one but havent done a full test on it.

          Check if your laptop support wake-on-ring serial port. If this is so then you can use that to turn your PC on. All you have to do is emulate a modem "ringing". I havent done any testing on this one though...but it should work ok.

          Heres the one I done for shutdown thought you might need it, as posted on another forum :

          COM..|..............CIRCUIT...............|..Ignit on Switch

          .............1N4148.....1.2K Resistor
          Pin 1 ------|<|-------/\/\/\/\/------> Connect to + 12V, "Low Battery"

          .............1N4148.....1.2K Resistor
          Pin 8 ------|<|-------/\/\/\/\/------> Connect to +12 V, "PSU failed"

          Pin 5 -----------------------------> Ground

          ***The inputs are configured as negative triggered on the UPS control panel***

          The resistors are there to limit the current to 10mA. The diodes maybe required to remove any stray voltage from other circuit of the car that may trigger the serial port to a HIGH state.

          "Low battery" input = The UPS battery is running low
          "PSU failed" = The PSU has failed and PC is running on battery.

          Its up to you how you want to wire the 2 inputs to the car. You can instruct it so that you have "Failed PSU" when your battery is not being charged by the altenator. Then "LOW battery" when you turn off the ignition.

          NOTE : You must configure the UPS setting on your control panel correctly so that the input requires a negative input.

          Select a GENERIC UPS and customise it :

          Power Fail / On Battery = NEGATIVE
          Low Battery = NEGATIVE
          UPS Shutdown = Un-tick it as you dont have any real UPS to shutdown

          Then configure your UPS :
          Just make sure the next step is SHUTDOWN PC. You can un-tick all the notifications as you dont really need it.

          VGA-to-TV coverter is available all over do a search on google. The picture quality wont be good as you be using a video monitor...and NOT VGA monitor.

          Hope that helps


          • #7
            Around $15 for a VGA to RCA adapter... I'm surprised no one else found this:



            • #8
              My answer for starting it. You don't. One of the things that was important to me was to be able to take the laptop out and use it elsewhere. Meaning no mods to the laptop itself. I just open it up, hit the power and stick it back in the map pocket.
              A digital mind lost in an analog world.

              Learn to ask smart questions!

              My car PC: The Lost Cause!