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  • Carputer for an '03 Tahoe

    Hello all -

    My best friend (his name is Bags) just bought a 2003 Tahoe and is excited about the idea of a carputer. My brother builds computers, but has never dealt with carputer parts. Bags and I are the creative ones and are going to do the setup and fabrication in the SUV. Together (with your help), we should be able to make a kick-*** system.

    Here's the deal. Bags wants his computer to do the following:

    MP3
    GPS
    DVD movies
    CD's
    AM/FMRadio
    XBox
    Photos

    Now, we are starting from scratch, so we need to buy everything. Money isn't an issue with either of us (nice change from most of the posts), but there is no need to go overboard since we have other projects planned for his SUV. He only wants a computer that will do what he asks it to do. The only knowledge I have of carputers is what I have read on these boards. We have no preference on anything, but we would like 512MB RAM, a 7 touchscreen monitor, and a 160GB Maxtor HD. We will be running a 4ch amp and a 2ch amp for sound. So we need a card worthy of that. We also plan on using a DC-DC power supply (like an OPUS). Im still unclear as to what needs to be done in order for the comp to hibernate/shut down/etc. when the car is off. Also, he would like to add a 14 overhead monitor as well. I dont know how to make this interface with the computer, but we want the monitors to be able to run the same video source (DVD in-dash / DVD overhead) as well as switch to a different source (DVD in-dash / Xbox overhead) and vice versa. We will use an inverter, but we plan for it to only be used for the XBox. We also plan on making a custom case after we get all of the parts, but have no idea what material yet (suggestions?).

    Im sure there are a million things Im forgetting to say here, but I will be keeping track of your suggestions and comments and trying to answer any questions you may have for us as well. Thanks for your help and wish us luck!

  • #2
    Hello out there... can anyone please help out with some suggestions? Posted this thing awhile ago and still no one has replied. Please help.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well I would go with the 8" lilliput touch screen. It fits in the tahoe better. Takes up more of the space where the stereo and a/c controls used to be. I built a carputer for my silverado which has the same interior as the tahoe. I belive the tahoe has the center console though. I moved the a/c controls and placed the screen in the spot where the radio and a/c controls used to be. You may want to put the screen in the center console below the radio because it will be easier but in my opinion, too low and then youll have a radio with no functionality so youll have to either ignore it or put something there.
      For the 14", make sure you get a monitor with at lest 2 inputs so you can switch from one to the other. Or youll have to buy or make a realy switching device. (a/b switch) But then youll have to mount the switch somewhere, where if you just get it already in the monitor it will look better. Youll need a video card with composite out (s-video or RCA's) If you're gonna have an inverter already get a bigger one and power the computer from it as well. No need for a DC-DC power supply (opus) If money is no object, buy a d31 optima auxillary battery($200) The thing kicks ***. Youll also need a battery isolator. Then you can run the computer all the time without worrying about killing the starter battery. Use any sound card that has at least 6 outputs. Audigy sound blaster will be fine ($100). For a computer check out dell.com Go under small business computers, they have better deals and they dont check your business. Just make up a name. Heres a link for good dell deals. I would go with one of those. Can't beat that price.
      2.4 celeron
      150 watt OPUS
      micro atx
      xp pro
      tv/radio tuner card
      audigy
      Dual monitor Radeon
      802.11G Mimo
      xm pcr
      dvd
      gps
      8" Lilliput touch screen
      IGuidance
      dual optimas
      battery isolator
      15" screen
      My Truck

      Comment


      • #4
        Thank you for the reply. I have a 500W (1000W max) inverter in my 4Runner that runs my PS2 and was thinking about using the same inverter for Bags' Tahoe. You mentioned a D31 Optima inverter... what is the wattage on that one. It's substantially more than mine in my 4Runner? My inverter was $60 and is made from StarVision, the same company as my 8" overhead monitor in my 4Runner. Seems to work fine, but if this D31 Optima is better for running XBox and a carputer, then we would go with the D31. Thanks again for your input. Anyone else?

        Comment


        • #5
          The d31 optima is a battery not an inverter. I was suggesting that you use 2 batteries. One as a starter the other as a deep cycle aux. battery. The inverter I use is a 1500 watt true-power(3000 watt max) I got it for $80 at costco.
          2.4 celeron
          150 watt OPUS
          micro atx
          xp pro
          tv/radio tuner card
          audigy
          Dual monitor Radeon
          802.11G Mimo
          xm pcr
          dvd
          gps
          8" Lilliput touch screen
          IGuidance
          dual optimas
          battery isolator
          15" screen
          My Truck

          Comment


          • #6
            Oh. My bad... thanks for the clarification/correction.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SoccerDad17
              Money isn't an issue with either of us
              Because of this you will WANT to go with the Xenarc 8" touch, stay as far away as possibly from lilliput....do just a quick search and you will find out why I say this.....there are a LOT of problems with the Lilliputs....I have the 8" Xenarc, I swapped it in for my 7" Xenarc...I started a thread about it here:
              http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=37813
              and the screen can be found here:
              http://www.mp3car.com/store/product_...products_id=55

              we would like 512MB RAM
              that's what most will suggest

              a 7 touchscreen monitor
              see above for my response to this

              a 160GB Maxtor HD
              why this brand? Seagates are a better quality according to some reviews and the Barracuda is one of hte quitest on the market....just a thought...I bought my 200gb Seagate Barracuda with an 8meg cash from NewEgg.com for $109 + shipping when they were running a special a while back

              We will be running a 4ch amp and a 2ch amp for sound. So we need a card worthy of that.
              You will want to run an eq or something to boost the voltage as it comes out of the sound card. It's regularly somewhere below 2v, that's pretty low in teh car audio world....get an eq and you can boost that in the range of 6v to 10v. AND you will have a master volume controll as well.

              We also plan on using a DC-DC power supply (like an OPUS). Im still unclear as to what needs to be done in order for the comp to hibernate/shut down/etc. when the car is off.
              Depending on your power consumption needs (which you will figure out once you have the hardware for the computer all sorted out, I would look into the M1-ATX. It has a butt load of functions built in, including an amp turn on so you don't deal with pop, not to mention user selectible timing for start-up and shut-down. You can find it here:
              http://www.mp3car.com/store/product_...products_id=67


              he would like to add a 14 overhead monitor as well. I dont know how to make this interface with the computer, but we want the monitors to be able to run the same video source (DVD in-dash / DVD overhead) as well as switch to a different source (DVD in-dash / Xbox overhead) and vice versa.
              You will need to get a video card that will allow you to do this. Do a bit of searching and asking and you will find what you need.


              We will use an inverter, but we plan for it to only be used for the XBox.
              with a DC-DC PSU you will ONLY need the inverter for things like this, that is of course unless the X-box will run off of 12v....check the wlal plug and see if it says 12v on it, if so you can just wire it into the cars electrical system and get much cleaner sound.

              We also plan on making a custom case after we get all of the parts, but have no idea what material yet (suggestions?).
              you can do Plexi, but if you have never worked with it before it will be a little tricky to learn how to bend it and cut it without it going crazy on you. Some people do MDF, as for me....I did this:

              Being that it's going to be kept behind a pannel and will never been seen I'm not finishing it out, but you could do something like that and have it painted, vinyl it, etc to give it a finished look.

              More questions will come up when you get started, I really suggest reading on here a bit before you dive into it, you will save yourself a lot of time, headache, and cash....chances are no matter what you are doing someone has tried it before and can give you a few pointers. You can check my web page that's in my signiture for ideas and to see what I have done.....I should be getting my screen and center console back from the painters today and will be taking my amp rack to be painted....

              you can also check the install forum for ideas on that particular vehicle, just do a quick search for your vehicle.....

              hope this helps!
              Jan Bennett
              FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

              Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

              Comment


              • #8
                Red - I've gotta complement the very well thought-out response

                Comment


                • #9
                  lol - thanks.....I don't think I have ever had that before....guess there's a first time for everything hu?
                  Jan Bennett
                  FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                  Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Awesome input so far... thanks and keep the ideas coming!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      here is my '03 with a bit of bondo. so far the puters working great. as far as the lilliput. no problems yet.

                      http://home.earthlink.net/~tahoezoo/
                      http://www.threez33.com/Carputer/index.htm
                      2003 Tahoe
                      lilliput 7"
                      Logic C158 mini-ITX
                      90w m1-atx power
                      Epia MII 12000 1.2ghz
                      512MB PC2100
                      2.5" 60gb Samsung 5400rpm
                      Panasonic Slot CD-rw/DVD
                      iguidance navi
                      navivoice
                      mediaengine

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        TahoeZoo - I am looking at adding a puter to my Tahoe as well. Currently the plan is to place the monitor in the lower console like your originally had. But I see that you moved it because it was such a pain to keep looking down. My main reason for not wanting the monitor in the stock radio location is because I would think the passenger in the front seat wouldn't be able to see. So, when sitting in your passenger seat, how is the view?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          <tonkadawg> yea, those touchscreens are pretty hard to see anyways, to put it on an angle would make it even harder for the passenger to see. Again, if you put the screen in the lower console, the angle from hi/low actually sucks too. you should really just put it in the top of the dash. you can always put an angle on the screen to center it more. then just bondo it in. it wouldnt be that hard. I thought about doing it, but then just said screw the passenger. I didnt want to sacrafice my view anymore. good luck.
                          http://www.threez33.com/Carputer/index.htm
                          2003 Tahoe
                          lilliput 7"
                          Logic C158 mini-ITX
                          90w m1-atx power
                          Epia MII 12000 1.2ghz
                          512MB PC2100
                          2.5" 60gb Samsung 5400rpm
                          Panasonic Slot CD-rw/DVD
                          iguidance navi
                          navivoice
                          mediaengine

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            TahoeZoo - thanks for sharing!

                            I think I want to keep the monitor in the lower console - "Screw you baby" just wouldn't go over too well with my girlfriend - especially with all the road trips we take.

                            If you still have it, would you be interested in selling your double pocket insert from the lower console? PM me if you are.

                            <sorry for the thread jack>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              <tonka> you might want to set the screen in there and just see how the quality is from the passenger seat before you do any mods. it will only take a second to do. just power up the puter and plug in the monitor.

                              sorry, i dont have the pocket anymore, i originally cut it apart to use it as themount but later decided to design my own.
                              Love to see some pics when your done!

                              ZoO
                              http://www.threez33.com/Carputer/index.htm
                              2003 Tahoe
                              lilliput 7"
                              Logic C158 mini-ITX
                              90w m1-atx power
                              Epia MII 12000 1.2ghz
                              512MB PC2100
                              2.5" 60gb Samsung 5400rpm
                              Panasonic Slot CD-rw/DVD
                              iguidance navi
                              navivoice
                              mediaengine

                              Comment

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