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Making a Car Computer; Need Your Help!

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  • Making a Car Computer; Need Your Help!

    Hey guys, This is my first thread at this board. I’ve been thinking in the past couple days about installing a computer in my car.
    To be honest with you, I thought its going to be a simple thing. But now…. I think its not.

    First, here is what I have on my mind…
    I want to have a computer that can play mp3 files, DVDs, TV and connects to the internet.
    I went shopping this morning and got a Creative sound card, which has front and rear outputs. I also got a VGA card, 80GB HDD and a TV card which would allow me to watch TV on the computer.

    The computer is going to be either Intel Celeron4 2.6Ghz, 512MB DDR ram or AMD 3.2. They’re both at the same price. So I’m not sure which to get. I want something that doesn’t heat much.
    I’ll also install a wireless network card. Since many parts of the city provide wifi hotspots. Which should allow me to connect to the internet while driving. And I’m going to install a Bluetooth card. So I can connect other computers to my car computer to transfer files and stuff.
    I’m thinking about getting a computer external DVD drive. So I can put it in the glove compartment to make it easy for me to put data CDs or play movies while driving.

    I Don’t think I’m going to have any problems building the computer cuz I believe I know what I want exactly and how to do it. But the problem is I know nothing about cars. So far and after taking a look at the forum I realized I’ll need to get an amplifier for my car cuz I don’t have AUX in (I’ve got a 2002 Mercedes C200 SC).

    Things in my head right now…
    1-What kind of touch screen should I get? I saw the 7” one on this site. But its expensive and too small! Any other options?
    2-how is the computer going to take electricity from the car?
    3-what software do I need to make the computer suitable for a car use?
    4-this might sound silly, but where the hell am I supposed to put the computer case? The trunk?
    5-can all those stuff keep up with the heat? It gets REALLY hot during summer.

    Last but not least… please tell me what I should keep on my mind and what issues should I look up to help me accomplish my project.

    Thanks for your time!

  • #2
    1: Well you can always buy 8-9-10" screens but if it will fit in nice...
    2: For your plan you will need a inverter for like 300 watt. You setup isnt excactly lowpower with the cards.
    3: Check out the software section
    4: If you have a normal case then yes, maybe there is some room under the backseats or else on the spot where the spare wheel is? Thats why most people have VIA boards, theyr small! I put mines behind a panel in the back of the car
    5: It doesnt get that hot, you can back clock your pc a bit or install some fans.
    051°55'30"N 04°34'31"E

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    • #3
      1 - 7" is defs not too small for in car use
      2 - you need a special power supply read in the power supplies forum, most people rave about opus ive had problems with the 90w version
      3 - look in the software forum there are several programs avaliable
      4 - wherever you can make it fit
      5 - how hot is really hot? and i have heard intels run cooler than amds but dont take my word for it

      edit: 2 - ahh yes or you could use an invertor if you really wanted to
      Signature: [==||========] 20% complete

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      • #4
        amd tend to use more power and heat a lot more (nem Intel with HT also heat a lot)...but I'd go for a small via project
        Virando costas ao mundo
        Orgulhosamente sós
        Glória antiga, volta a nós!

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        • #5
          I just checked my car dimentions...



          OK, Only the CD player and that black space thing... 9W x 5H, at the bottom 8.5
          Now i'f i'm going to cut some of that alluminume it will be 10.4W x 5.5H and 9.5 at the bottom.

          still small!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;_;

          Comment


          • #6
            So get one of the big 15" fold-down screens
            Leo

            http://www.talkaudio.co.uk

            A million people can't be wrong, right?

            Well... unless they're all from the red states...

            Comment


            • #7
              Take out HU and cubby hole, replace with 7" Xenarc touchscreen from here at MP3Car.com

              Get an Opus 150W also from here.

              Connect all together and enjoy


              Garry
              Co-Developer of A.I.M.E.E
              www.aimee.cc

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Confused
                Take out HU and cubby hole, replace with 7" Xenarc touchscreen from here at MP3Car.com

                Get an Opus 150W also from here.

                Connect all together and enjoy


                Garry
                I'll need a 300W case. and there is no Opus 300W. So what should I do to avoid voltage drop issues?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Fear Effect
                  I'll need a 300W case. and there is no Opus 300W. So what should I do to avoid voltage drop issues?
                  Use less pci cards :P
                  051°55'30"N 04°34'31"E

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                  • #10
                    You'll "need" a 300W home PSU case, which will give you probably about 170W useable power.

                    Or, get the 150W Opus, which will provide about 170W of useable power.


                    People have been powering 3.2GHz P4 systems from a 150W Opus.

                    "Never judge a book by it's cover" = "Never judge a PSU from it's 'output'"


                    Garry
                    Co-Developer of A.I.M.E.E
                    www.aimee.cc

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think that your dash would look really good if you were to make a custom fiberglass touchscreen mount. Recessed into the dash would look awesome, and you have plenty of room. Everything you need is in the fabrication forums. As for the computer, EPIA is pretty cool, because when you use a regular tower (and this issue always comes up) you end up spending quite a bit of money finding a way for a cd drive to be mounted in a easily accessable location. Once you get over so many feet, IDE becomes useless, you can get a IDE to firewire/USB adapter, but then power to the drive becomes an issue. With a EPIA system, you can easily mount everything into the dash, and have a slimeline slot loading drive, which is basically what all head units are.
                      Quick! To the Popemobile!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Confused
                        You'll "need" a 300W home PSU case, which will give you probably about 170W useable power.

                        Or, get the 150W Opus, which will provide about 170W of useable power.


                        People have been powering 3.2GHz P4 systems from a 150W Opus.

                        "Never judge a book by it's cover" = "Never judge a PSU from it's 'output'"


                        Garry
                        This wouldnt be good for you heat production.. If you get a overrated psu then it wont get that hot
                        051°55'30"N 04°34'31"E

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fear Effect
                          I'll need a 300W case. and there is no Opus 300W. So what should I do to avoid voltage drop issues?
                          Notice my signature I am running that off of a 150W Opus/
                          AMD XP 2600+/512MB RAM/120GB hard drive
                          Opus 150W/DVD/GPS/7" Lilliput TS/802.11g/Bluetooth
                          Installed.


                          -GPSSecure- - GPS Tracking
                          -AltTabber2.2.2- - Handy touchscreen utility.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by megamind
                            Use less pci cards :P
                            Well, I need the vga card, I need the wireless lan card, I need the audio card... umm.. what else there is the tv card I might not use. But I do want it. And what about the radio? how can I get radio in my car? I need to get a radio card too right?

                            So far all those things I mentioned are a must! what can I do?!
                            if I get, lets say, a USB sound card will that save power? How? by connecting it to other audio source?

                            to be honest with everyone I'm not a fan of USB stuff. especially when the computer is going to be left in the car.

                            Originally posted by Confused
                            .

                            Or, get the 150W Opus, which will provide about 170W of useable power.
                            ok will everyone please stop trying to sell me that opus?? Let me know what I want first then i'll decide what I need to get.
                            thanks for the help though

                            Originally posted by BiohazrD
                            As for the computer, EPIA is pretty cool, because when you use a regular tower (and this issue always comes up) you end up spending quite a bit of money finding a way for a cd drive to be mounted in a easily accessable location. Once you get over so many feet, IDE becomes useless, you can get a IDE to firewire/USB adapter, but then power to the drive becomes an issue. With a EPIA system, you can easily mount everything into the dash, and have a slimeline slot loading drive, which is basically what all head units are.
                            I just checked their site. well, it looks cool. But I need more than one PCI slots


                            Last but not least, I have a question that I probably did mention it in this post before. How can I listen to the radio? Do I need a PCI radio card?
                            And if I get a motherboard with built in audio and video and wireless network... will that save power??? I didn't want a Mobo with builtin audio cuz I got the SB live soundcard. which has audio output for front speakers and rear. Its much better than those built-in Mobos!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not getting any help anymore cuz I said I dont want to buy the Opus?! ;_;

                              I still want to buy ur touchscreen though... so keep on the posts!

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