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  • and here we go

    Ok, after lurking for quite a long time, I've decided to take the plunge and get this process started.

    The setup::
    -2003 Toyota Matrix
    -stock audio (yuck)
    -Dell Inspiron 9100 (laptop)

    Now, for what I need to buy::
    -CNX-P1900
    -Some sort of USB >> 5.1/4.1 audio
    -7" Touchscreen LCD

    Now for the noob questions::
    -Let's start easy.. I'm looking at this external sound card. Now, money is always an issue since I'm a broke college student. But sound quality is also an issue because I don't want to downgrade from my current <<stock>> sound system. Hooking everything together will be my primary challenge for I am a true car-audio n00blet. But, would this sound card fit the needs of the carPC?

    -Secondly, with the P1900 it has a ton of features that I know nothing about. Normally, I would just purchase an AC/DC inverter (because if there is one thing I know even less about then audio.. it's electricity). What catches my eye is the auto startup/turnoff. Wiring this thing will be a *****, but I can sucker someone into assisting... but how does the auto startup/turnoff work with a laptop? Generally if the laptop loses it's power source it remains on thru it's battery.. so how does this work? Also, does the laptop just plug straighthru into this like a normal walljack?

    Those are the primary questions.. hope someone can help, I've looked and looked and I think each thing I've come across has made me more confused than I was before.

  • #2
    Be prepared to crack open the case on that laptop, voiding any warranty that's left.

    The carnetiX is designed to power on an ATX motherboard. IT may or may not work with your laptop. If it does, you'll be soldering into the mower button connects.

    There are more issues with laptop installations. Do some reading int he FAQ Emporium.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      for an external sound card, you have 1 pcmcia slot on the 9100. you could always put a sound blaster audigy 2 zs notebook card in that. I dont remember if theres a docking station for this model. if there is from dell you can modify that to power your pc on and off, if not itll be like darque said and youll have to crack the case open. now just so you know the 9100 runs really hot and also draws alot of power. i dont think this would be the best solution in a car, but im not saying it wont work, but im not thinking this model would be the best for the application.

      I say that because I am typing to you from a 9100. its a full blown chipset, not a mobility. mine is a 3.2 ghz with a gig of ram 80 gig hd, radeon 9700, hell the thing even has a subwoofer in the battery. even new the battery on this thing goes dead in 1 hour and 20 minutes if your not plugged into a wall. anyhow, regardless of what you decide to do, good luck and i hope it works out for you.
      MII12000 | 512MB PC3200 | 60GB 2.5" Samsung
      M2-ATX 160W PS | SlotLoad DVD/CDRW | BU353 GPS
      7" Lilliput 619 | WinTV | WIFI | Bluetooth
      Audigy2 ZS | HQCT | Kyocera KR1 Mobile Router(3G)
      Roadrunner | LSXvoid | IGuidance 3


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      • #4
        I'll second the Audigy ZS 2, optical out even.

        good card.

        that laptop sounds a bit overkill for a carPC install though, are you SURE you want to use it?

        Are you planning on making the laptop removable so you can take it with you? If not, seems like it's going to be more trouble than it's worth to try and integrate it.
        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!

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        • #5
          Yeah, those were my concerns basically.. I know the laptop is a piece of garbage and I completely regret buying it. Not a real laptop since it lasts for a good ol hr unplugged. (not to mention it takes the place of a heater in my room.. windows open in the winter I don't need my heating vents open) After I upgraded to a real computer I have no use for this thing anymore, and selling it would be a ***** where I am.

          The only reason I was thinking that this would be the best idea for me was because of $$ flow. Next to no income (go go college). I had this thing collecting dust.. but I also have some old computers downstairs that would probably fit the part a little better.

          Full size case.. could build a custom
          -P4 1.8ghz
          -128mb vid card
          -512mb ram
          -turtle beach santa cruz sd card
          -some gateway motherboard
          -old *** PSU

          would have to buy a HD.

          If I go this route, what would be the simplest way to power this kind of option? I really like the idea of auto startup/turnoff.. but that might be a little bit out of my league unless it comes with some damn good instructions.

          I know I saw a good FAQ regarding converting the 5.1 sound to the car audio, so I don't need to ask that question.

          What kind of harddrive would you recommend?? Would an external inclosed hard drive be good due to portability and such? Or go for a notebook harddrive to protect against bumpage?

          Comment


          • #6
            bumpage has no bearing on the drive

            I've been running nothing but a full size drive for close to 3 years, no issues.

            for that kind of set-up you will need a good bit of power.

            Find a power calculator and start to plugging and chugging to find out your power requirements on each rail. The opus 220 might be an option, but again, the computer you listed is WAYY more than you will ever need in a car.

            leme ask you this, what all do you want to be able to do with this PC in the car?

            simple mp3, GPS, DVD, OBD-II? Are you wanting to game with it?
            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!

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            • #7
              If you are looking to go on the cheap you could use the P4 setup you listed above and then rob the hard drive out of the laptop then all you would need to buy is a psu and a cable for the 2.5" hard drive which can be bought here on mp3car.com.
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              • #8
                find out the power requirements for that set-up and then see if a DC-DC PSU exists that can power it...unless you're stuck in the past and want to use an inverter to power it...lol

                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!

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                • #9
                  the laptop really isnt that bad. lol.. it was marketed as a desktop replacement not a notebook. with a full blown chipset and vid card etc, you can run circles around most desktops with that thing. just so you know the 9100 is an xps. the only difference is the case backing. if you go looking for drivers for the thing they all say 9100/xps. one of the reasons they discontinued the model. people were able to get xps power for half the price, and it was the exact same hardware. if i were you, id use the 9100 as your desktop in your dorm and take the 1.8 your talking about and just buy a HD for the thing.

                  or....

                  know anyone with a bad hd? if you do, ask if you can have it. if its less then 3 to 5 years old. depending on what model of HD it is it might be under warranty. just goto the manufacture website enter in the model and serial and itll tell you. if it is under warranty you can get an rma and for a few dollars shipping have it replaced. almost all HD's come with a 3 or 5 year warranty on them.
                  MII12000 | 512MB PC3200 | 60GB 2.5" Samsung
                  M2-ATX 160W PS | SlotLoad DVD/CDRW | BU353 GPS
                  7" Lilliput 619 | WinTV | WIFI | Bluetooth
                  Audigy2 ZS | HQCT | Kyocera KR1 Mobile Router(3G)
                  Roadrunner | LSXvoid | IGuidance 3


                  My Worklog

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yrean
                    know anyone with a bad hd? if you do, ask if you can have it. if its less then 3 to 5 years old. depending on what model of HD it is it might be under warranty. just goto the manufacture website enter in the model and serial and itll tell you. if it is under warranty you can get an rma and for a few dollars shipping have it replaced. almost all HD's come with a 3 or 5 year warranty on them.

                    good call!
                    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


                    • #11
                      First off, thanks to everyone for their valuable input.. every little bit helps.

                      To clarify a few things, I have a few computers.. a desktop that I'm currently using to game.. a laptop that is sitting in my room doing nothing.. and an old desktop (with specs listed above) that is in the basement.

                      Yea, I was aware that the 9100 is the same as the XPS.. that's why I bought it, cheap(er) alternative. BUT, compared to a desktop of the same price it is definitely lacking in power. Also, the thing heats up like a *****, and that would be my primary concern with using it.

                      I guess I might as well attempt to sell the laptop and fund the rest of the carPC with that.. seems like the most reasonable solution if the laptop isn't gonna be an option.

                      For the question asked.. my primary goal would be mp3 functions/gps/dvd. IF I can play some games on it that would just be a plus... (but that's the reason I thought about using the laptop in the first place) it is a quality gaming computer.. up until FEAR/CS:S came out.

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                      • #12
                        Im doing the laptop issue like you, but I dont have a pcmcia slot, so a straight USB card is the way to go for me. If I were you, and I had tat stuff laying about, Id use the old desktop. But thats just me.
                        Keep in mind youll also need some input devices, Mice, keyboard, display and such like that. Are you going to fabricate things into your dash or are you going to have a completely removable system? These were some things I asked myself before I started. Glad I did.

                        And FEAR, oh yeah, good game. Id recomment NOT playing that in the car as someone WILL die.

                        AND how many Matrix's are there on this site!?!?!? Where are all the Vibe's!?!?!
                        ~Fin~
                        My First Install. Be gentle with my 03 Vibe GT

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                        • #13
                          CPT... believe it or not I'm in the same boat as you.. almost EXACTLY..lol

                          I have an Inspiron 9100 2.8ghz 1GB ram that I got as a company "bonus," with a 3hr battery I got from ebay. I made a rack for it under my passenger's seat (I have a 97 Maxima so there's tons of room under there). It's really just a "shelf" because i put extra rubber stubs on the bottom to keep the laptop in place. The surface of the "shelf" is also that rubber kitchen shelf lining that you can find at almost any K-Mart/Wal-Mart/Target etc.

                          I know little about power supply, so I tried using an inverter and I think I blew it out, so now everytime the 3hr battery runs out, I take the laptop out of the car and charge it overnight.

                          The machine is definately overkill, but you can have a hard time selling my model on eBay for anything over $600 since I have the 2.8

                          I have a USB hub that I plug into the laptop everytime I put it in the car. I'd love to make it permanent in the car, but the charging is what kills me.

                          It's connected to an in-dash Liliput Touch screen i got for 180 shipped on ebay althoug i checked and they're way more than that now. I think the guy made a mistake when he posted it which explains why he waited 3 weeks to send it to me. It may even be refurbished or something. Anyway, it works excellently and I have dark tint so very little glare exists.

                          As far as the specs of my system.. I'm using RoadRunner with the latest version of the Simplistique skin (great looking OEM type skin). I modified some of the buttons to launch my Nissan DataScan Software which connects to Nissan's proprietary CONSULT-II port. I am also running Digimoto with a USB/OBD-II adapter to check my quasi-dyno figures as well as 1/4-mile, and 0-60 tests.

                          Why the 9100 for me and not my ancient 650mhz Pentium III Sony Vaio? I do a lot of sales calls with this vehicle, and I design websites on my spare time. Although the 7" monitor is small, most of my spare-time clients are small business owners who require simple PHP pages. So I have Photoshop, Illustrator, and Flash running on this machine while I'm in between sales calls for my real job. The machine gets hot, but right under it is a duct where the A/C system shoots out cold air for the rear passengers. I used a thin slab of concrete for the top of this shelf to keep it from heating up too much.

                          Here's a profile of the car with some images: http://www.teamshift.net/index/index.php?id=6
                          THis is a vid of the car running the Nissan DataScan: http://www.teamshift.net/index/index.php?id=49
                          Here's a screenshot of my RoadRunner setup: http://www.teamshift.net/index/images/197.jpg

                          I'd love to utilize all 7 USB + 1 Firewire ports that I have available, BUT!!!

                          I need to figure out to wire this thing so that it's connected, charging, and easy to turn on when needed. My current solution is to make it hibernate after 5 minutes of inactivity, and make it wake up by tapping on the touch screen. Eventually it runs out of battery and I need to take it home and recharge it. PITA!!!

                          So, mp3car community.. help us out! Help us power up and auto-turn-on our overkill P4 HT heaters!

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