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  • Lil' tutorial for newbies

    DISCLAIMER: Poin't of this thread is so called "Spoon feeding". If you can't seem to find your way to start car PC project with information from FAQ or other sections, then it might be better you to read this. Basically same stuff can be founded at FAQ section, but i tryed to write little bit about this and little bit about that to one thread. Hopefully some noob's will enjoy "spoon feeded". Cheers

    I've been reading so many threads where newbies say something like: "I'm new at this car PC "hobby" and i'D like to get some advices for my project". Well the next step usually is: "how do i get started?, how can i power my PC?" and stuff like that. Mostly answer to that kind of questions is something like this: "use google noob", "use the freakin' search!" and so on...

    It's pretty hard for total noob to start searching if he/she doesn't really know what to look for don't you think? So, i thought that maybe i could write some kind of guide to car PC basics including all the normal stuff like powering your PC and all the extra electronics that you're going to install, safety issues and so on... But i think that's enough for introduction so let's get started shall we?


    First things first:

    You absolutely got to have some kind of idea that what you want to install in to your car. At this point you might think that this project will be finished just in few days and it should not be so difficult but beware, you might get some nasty surprises that can ruin your day totally. Just remember to stay positive and know this, no one is perfect (except me, NOT)

    First of all, you have to start with some kind of documentation that what are you going to install/modify. Trust me, this will help you massively. You can simply just start with basic list like this:
    • Basic *PC* that will run dvd's, mp3's, audio cd's, navigation (GPS) and some games possibly
    • Playstation/XBox
    • 7" screen with VGA and av-in RCA video inputs
    • Normal cd-player with audio-input
    • Some subwooffers and amp(s)
    • Extra battery paraller to primary because the sound system and other electronics would suck the life out from primary battery when parked (all devices will be running sometimes when the car is parked and turned off)

      NOTICE: Here's one nice notice from NeckPayne (thanks): "Adding an extra battery (tanking) isn't mandatory". So think twice before starting to add those extra batterys . USUALLY IT'S NOT NESSESARY TO ADD THOSE EXTRA BATTERYS.

    * Personally i prefer Laptop installs but it's your choise. Laptops don't require "large" amount's of power like normal desktops do, but mostly laptops performance isn't that good comparing to desktop PC. Here's some pros and cons about Laptop VS Desktop PC.

    After this you should have some kind of vision that what you really are going to install. Now you can start wondering that how in the h*ll are you going to manage trough of this project. Well just keep reading and i'll give you something to start with.


    Safety:

    Always remember, that inproper installations can cause some major damage to you/your friends (Yes, they will be playing that ps2 at your backseat often)/car. So always before installations ask yourself: "Is this really safe?". If you can answer yourself: "Yes, this should be safe" then you can continue installing your 2000W amp, your car PC and all the other stuff to trunk without fuse, NOT!!!

    ALWAYS REMEMBER TO USE PROPER FUSE'S. IF INSTRUCTIONS SAYS SOMETHING LIKE: "FUSE OPTIONAL", PUT IT THERE NO MATTER WHAT!
    I think you don't like to blow up your PC's powersupply or anything else because that simply cost's money (and time). No one likes to spend more money and time because of stupid mistakes right? So what is Fuse used for? Here's a short explanation from wikipedia:

    "In electronics and electrical engineering a fuse, short for 'fusible link', is a type of overcurrent protection device. It has as its critical component a metal wire or strip that will melt when heated by a prescribed (design) current, opening the circuit of which it is a part, thereby protecting the circuit from an overcurrent condition"

    So fuse basically just protects your system if anything bad happens at your car's electrics. It should be placed as near as possible to battery. Fuse is easy to replace, but what about PC's powersupply or your 7" screen in the dash? Fuse's costs almost nothing at all, but that 250$ screen would be nice to blow up because of malfunction at the electrics don't you think

    Other thing you should think is mountings. It wouldn't be so nice if some of multiple screens mounted to roof or someplace else hit's you/friends straight to the face and smashes your/their teeth complitely. So always remember to mount things properly.

    Im going to add some more safety issues as those comes to my mind.


    Installing your system (trunk/any place else):

    Finally we can get to the installing. You can propably start with any component's you like. I suppose best thing to start with would be electrics. First of all you should buy some fuses, proper cable and some connectors. After you got all these, head to engine room. I'll supose you know what battery looks like or otherwise you shouldn't be reading this at all .
    Hook up the cable to battery's positive (+) with connector and find a way to pull that cable's other end to the car's trunk. Pretty easy dont you think? It might take some time to find suitable route for the cable, but i think you can handle it. Look at the attached pic #1 for simplyfied diagram (notice my massive paint skillz) and click here for more advanced diagrams!

    After this you can mount any electronics you need at the trunk. Basic system would require:
    • Power supply for PC or inverter (something like 100W-> will be just fine for basic system)
    • Of course some kind of PC (how suprising)
    • IMPORTANT->Make sure there's proper airconditioning/cooling for the PC. If you don't do any changes to the PC's cooling system there propably will be overheating problems (system crashes and the whole PC might break up) and here's more useful info about cooling your system. <-IMPORTANT

    For sound system you prolly should install some amp's and woofers also. NOTICE: REMEMBER TO CHOOSE VALUE OF THE FUSE CORRECTLY!


    Installing your system (cabinet or what ever you like to call it ):

    Well, i'll be pretty brief with this one. There's no one right way to install accessories to cabin. Find your own way to mount those screens to dash or anyplace else. There's lot's of different types of mountings showed in this forum and for some nice ideas you should propably spec out that show off your project section. Playstations and other stuff like that is pretty nice to install under the seats with proper mounting (my own opinion of course). Of course if your PC is at the trunk, you prolly need some input devices to dash. Some kind of mini keyboard (here's one example) and trackball mouse would be pretty nice if you don't like to buy touchscreen.


    GPS and Front Ends

    This is pretty large topic, but i'll try to be brief. GPS comes from "Global positioning system" and basically it tells to third party software your position (how surprising) and tracks your movement. GPS modules/dongles can be connected to laptop/normal PC/handheld by bluetooth, usb or rs232(serial).

    Many of my friends have asked me when they hit in to my ride: "what the hell is that thing in your laptop?". Answer to this question is Front End (i got media engine running there with Volvo skin). Well i'll suppose they are used to see just a basic windows desktop with winamp and maybe some plugins running in laptop/normal PC. Front End is program which combines mp3-player, dvd-player, radio, possibly tv and normally there's possibility of running basic applications too. List of Front Ends is availbale here (also some other useful applications).


    And finally: Connecting all the stuff together

    This depends lot's of your hardware and accessories, but here's brief list for basic solution (i'll be adding somekind of diagram pretty soon i think):
    • PC would be connected to screen with VGA
    • Playstation or some other console would be connected to screen with av-in RCA
      Notice: of course you can't use these 2 at the same time in same screen. Get another screen if you wan't to play and use PC at the same time
    • PC's audio out would be connected to cd-player's audio input (for mp3 play from PC)
    • cd-player would be connected to speakers and amplifier(s)
    • Those massive subwooffers are of course connected to amp(s)

    Uh, i think that's about it. I'll sure hope this helps someone even a lil' bit .
    I'll be adding some info time to time and also that one diagram for those connections (this might take some time). Check out for any updates weekly.

    PS: I'm sorry for my lousy english, but i'll hope you guys understand it because im from Finland. Let me know if there's some mistakes (no matter if they are huge/little) and i'll fix those.

    Cheers: Jamiks

    edits:
    • Added GPS and Front Ends section
    • Added some links
    Attached Files

  • #2
    The blind leading the blind...

    Comment


    • #3
      Search Noob.
      http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=106

      Michael
      ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'encul้s de ta m่re. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

      Comment


      • #4
        This is basically a rewrite from what is in the FAQ's emporium. But hey good work....
        2002 Mitsubishi Galant
        Progress: 90% [-▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓- ->

        Carputer Specs:
        Via M10K
        512mb Ram
        60GB HDD
        Souund Blaster Audigy2 NX
        OPUS ITX PC Case

        Comment


        • #5
          Nice flaming, but i kind of guessed it before i wrote this . Point of this thread was to get little bit of this and that under same thread, but unfortunately most of you guys don't seem to like it. I've read Faq section and yes, there's lot's of usefull info, but total noob can be pretty confused with those (i can be wrong of course).

          "If you need to be spoon fed, you most likely fall into the category of the people above who cannot help themselves, and should therefore not be installing a computer in their vehicle."

          Well, you gotta start with something and if you don't got ANY knowledge of electronics, it can and usually it will be pretty hard to start. Moderators will remove this thread if they see it nessesary. I just thought that noobs would like to get that "spoon feeding"

          And i also noticed that this got to the faq also. "4. Don't know how to get started? Try this tutorial by Newbie Jamiks."

          Have a nice day

          - Jamiks
          newbie

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jamiks
            Nice flaming, but i kind of guessed it before i wrote this . Point of this thread was to get little bit of this and that under same thread, but unfortunately most of you guys don't seem to like it. I've read Faq section and yes, there's lot's of usefull info, but total noob can be pretty confused with those (i can be wrong of course).

            "If you need to be spoon fed, you most likely fall into the category of the people above who cannot help themselves, and should therefore not be installing a computer in their vehicle."

            Well, you gotta start with something and if you don't got ANY knowledge of electronics, it can and usually it will be pretty hard to start. Moderators will remove this thread if they see it nessesary. I just thought that noobs would like to get that "spoon feeding"

            And i also noticed that this got to the faq also. "4. Don't know how to get started? Try this tutorial by Newbie Jamiks."

            Have a nice day

            - Jamiks
            newbie
            No problem. Noob bashing is a forum sport (like national, but only for us)

            It was well rewritten. Perhaps we can create the Ultra Newb Faq Section, for those that really have no idea what a computer is

            Michael

            Don't take it personal. Welcome to the group.
            ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'encul้s de ta m่re. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Wiredwrx
              No problem. Noob bashing is a forum sport (like national, but only for us)

              It was well rewritten. Perhaps we can create the Ultra Newb Faq Section, for those that really have no idea what a computer is
              Like a Complete Idiot section?
              Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
              How about the Wiki?



              Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

              Comment


              • #8
                I added it to the FAQ because it was a different spin on a lot of the info, pulling it together in a single post. Maybe it will help somebody keep from clicking that "New Thread" button!

                Ignore the n00b bashing. It sort of comes and goes. There's been a huge influx of newbies lately so it shows up a bit more when that happens.
                Originally posted by ghettocruzer
                I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
                Want to:
                -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
                -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think its great to help people out. No noob bashing here. I still am one. But this almost seems too simple and partly misleading as a result. Adding an extra battery (tanking) isn't mandatory, the carputer can be anywhere dashboard, glovebox, under the seat, etc.

                  If we're going to spoon feed, maybe a little more info to get people to would be better, I'm not sure this gets them a whole lot closer. Links to the other faqs or at least the FAQ Emporium would be helpful as well.

                  EDIT: Wanted to make it understood that I am glad you are writing this and only wanted to make suggestions for how to make it better! Keep it up.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey anyone who is actually trying to HELP educate it's users is what any topical forum is all about, and not those few @ssholes who attempt some lame form of wit disguised as a flame.

                    Thanks for the tutorial. I'm not a noob but I'm sure they will appriciate it. We were all noobs once. And if the same ones that do nothing but flame are so knowledgable why are the hanging around here in the first place.

                    If they think they can do a better tutorial either post or shut up.

                    flamer-><-where they should go.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DrumBoy
                      I'm not a noob
                      WIth only 6 posts, how can you figure you are not a NOOB.

                      HAHAHAHAHA

                      My Faq

                      A computer is a device that interperate 0 and 1's. You can do lots of things with a computer.

                      Bugbyte, please add my FAQ to the Emporium. This is very usefull to all those poeple who don't know what a computer is.

                      I am just messin. Ya, I flame, because it has been getting out of hand.

                      Also, if anyone wonders, go ahead and search for my other posts. Not only do I flame, but I actually help out what I have the answer, AND the question hasn't been covered more then twice before. If it has been covered, I give the obligatory and , and flame away.

                      Michael
                      ...I love the French language...especially to curse with...Nom de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperies de connards d'encul้s de ta m่re. You see, it's like wiping your *** with silk, I love it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am a big fan of links. I think all informative posts (as opposed to the congratulatory or question sort) should include links to where the information came from. If you remember a thread or a post that discusses a certain topic, then add it to the discussion. I know how to and , but sometimes I think it would just be easier for you to post a link than to flame.

                        BTW, thanks for the informative essay, Jamiks.
                        2002 Grand Am progress :
                        [••••••••••••••••………] - 80%
                        ...complete setup, but still need to make the install cleaner

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wiredwrx
                          WIth only 6 posts, how can you figure you are not a NOOB.
                          Maybe YOU might have joined this forum a noob. I didn't.

                          And you figure having 736 posts makes you a genius? HEEHEEHEEHEEHEE

                          And how many of your 736 little jewels of wizdom were just "smart"[email protected] comments.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Little bit offtopic but: "WIth only 6 posts, how can you figure you are not a NOOB"

                            Well, maybe forum status says "newbie" but many of us have been messing with car PC's prolly for few moment's before joining this forum. Personally im electronics and telecommunications mechanic and have been doing lot's of different elctronics project's to my friends car's but hey, i'm still NOOB when we look at forum status

                            I'll be adding some info and LINKS for that "tutorial for complete idiots" time to time... Btw. this "essay" was written complitely without any notes or stuff. I just wroted everything that popped in to my mind. I've been viewing this forum for some time before i joined and it's 100% sure thing that i've gained some great info from all the threads, but most of my "knowledge" comes from own expirements and projects.

                            Whoopsie: # The text that you have entered is too long (10058 characters). Please shorten it to 10000 characters long. Well, i think that's about it then. I can't put any more info to that post

                            - Jamiks

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jamiks
                              DISCLAIMER: Poin't of this thread is so called "Spoon feeding"...
                              Take out that disclaimer, or maybe link to the spoon feeding thread.

                              I've been reading so many threads where newbies say something like: "I'm new at this car PC "hobby" and i'D like to get some advices for my project". Well the next step usually is: "how do i get started?, how can i power my PC?" and stuff like that. Mostly answer to that kind of questions is something like this: "use google noob", "use the freakin' search!" and so on...

                              It's pretty hard for total noob to start searching if he/she doesn't really know what to look for don't you think? So, i thought that maybe i could write some kind of guide to car PC basics including all the normal stuff like powering your PC and all the extra electronics that you're going to install, safety issues and so on... But i think that's enough for introduction so let's get started shall we?
                              Shorten to:
                              I've read a lot of threads where newbies say, "I'm new to this car PC 'hobby' and I'd like some advice." Since this stuff can easily be very overwhelming at first, I put together this guide to the basics. It includes:
                              • Powering your PC
                              • Electronics you need
                              • Safety issues
                              • Front ends

                              Extra battery paraller to primary
                              *parallel

                              NOTICE: Here's one nice notice from NeckPayne (thanks): "Adding an extra battery (tanking) isn't mandatory". So think twice before starting to add those extra batterys . USUALLY IT'S NOT NESSESARY TO ADD THOSE EXTRA BATTERYS.
                              Change to:
                              However, if you don't need your devices running all the time, then you can make a startup/shutdown controller or buy an OPUS PSU that sends a signal to your computer to hibernate when the car turns off.

                              * Personally i prefer Laptop installs but it's your choise. Laptops don't require "large" amount's of power like normal desktops do, but mostly laptops performance isn't that good comparing to desktop PC. Here's some pros and cons about Laptop VS Desktop PC.
                              To:
                              Laptops require less power than desktops, but, on the other hand, desktops generally perform better. Laptop vs Desktop - Pro's and Con's.

                              No one likes to spend more money and time because of stupid mistakes right? So what is Fuse used for? Here's a short explanation from wikipedia:

                              "In electronics and electrical engineering a fuse, short for 'fusible link', is a type of overcurrent protection device. It has as its critical component a metal wire or strip that will melt when heated by a prescribed (design) current, opening the circuit of which it is a part, thereby protecting the circuit from an overcurrent condition"

                              So fuse basically just protects your system if anything bad happens at your car's electrics. It should be placed as near as possible to battery. Fuse is easy to replace, but what about PC's powersupply or your 7" screen in the dash? Fuse's costs almost nothing at all, but that 250$ screen would be nice to blow up because of malfunction at the electrics don't you think
                              To:
                              No one likes to spend more money and time because of stupid mistakes right? A fuse basically just protects your system if anything bad happens at your car's electronics. It should be placed as near as possible to battery. Fuses are easy to replace, and much less expensive that $250 screen or $500 computer.


                              Look at the attached pic #1 for simplyfied diagram (notice my massive paint skillz) and click here for more advanced diagrams!
                              To:
                              Look at the attached pic #1 for simplified diagram or see more advanced diagrams here!

                              For sound system you prolly should install some amp's and woofers also.
                              To:
                              For the sound system you will probably need some amps and woofers to get the most out of your carputer.

                              NOTICE: REMEMBER TO CHOOSE VALUE OF THE FUSE CORRECTLY!
                              Move this up to the fuse part of the essay.

                              Installing your system (cabinet or what ever you like to call it ):
                              To:
                              Installing your system (Cabin):

                              and trackball mouse would be pretty nice if you don't like to buy touchscreen.
                              To:
                              and trackball mouse would be pretty nice if you don't have the money for a touchscreen.

                              This is pretty large topic, but i'll try to be brief. GPS comes from "Global positioning system" and basically it tells to third party software your position (how surprising) and tracks your movement. [url=http://www.mp3car.com/store/index.php?cPath=43&osCsid=e241d6345910031f9fc488d1 15cb0801GPS modules/dongles[/url] can be connected to laptop/normal PC/handheld by bluetooth, usb, or rs232(serial).
                              To:
                              This is pretty large topic, but I'll try to be brief. GPS comes from "Global Positioning System" and basically tells third party software your latitude and longitude and tracks your movement. GPS modules/dongles can be connected to your carputer by bluetooth, usb or rs232 (serial).

                              Many of my friends have asked me when they hit in to my ride: "what the hell is that thing in your laptop?". Answer to this question is Front End (i got media engine running there with Volvo skin). Well i'll suppose they are used to see just a basic windows desktop with winamp and maybe some plugins running in laptop/normal PC. Front End is program which combines mp3-player, dvd-player, radio, possibly tv and normally there's possibility of running basic applications too. List of Front Ends is availbale here (also some other useful applications).
                              To:
                              Many of my friends have asked me when they get in my ride: "What the hell is that program on your screen?". The answer to this question is a "front end" (Mine is Media Engine with a Volvo skin). Well, I suppose they are used to seeing a basic Windows desktop with Winamp running in normal PC. A front end is program which combines mp3 player, DVD player, radio, TV, GPS and normally can run basic applications too. List of Front Ends and some other useful apps

                              This depends lot's of your hardware and accessories, but here's brief list for basic solution (i'll be adding somekind of diagram pretty soon i think):
                              To:
                              This depends on your hardware and accessories, but here's a brief list (I'll be adding somekind of diagram pretty soon):

                              Uh, i think that's about it. I'll sure hope this helps someone even a lil' bit .
                              I'll be adding some info time to time and also that one diagram for those connections (this might take some time). Check out for any updates weekly.
                              To:
                              Well, I think that's about it. I sure hope this helps someone, even a lil' bit .
                              I'll be adding more info from time to time and also a diagram for connections (this might take some time). Check back here for weekly updates.

                              PS: I'm sorry for my lousy english, but i'll hope you guys understand it because im from Finland. Let me know if there's some mistakes (no matter if they are huge/little) and i'll fix those.
                              You don't need this, I've got your back.
                              2002 Grand Am progress :
                              [••••••••••••••••………] - 80%
                              ...complete setup, but still need to make the install cleaner

                              Comment

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