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Some thinking out loud...

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  • Some thinking out loud...

    Hey, I've been reading and thinking and pondering and thought I might like any thoughts/advice that would be handed out.

    I've wanted to put a computer in my car for years - I used to be rather into computer hardware, case modding etc... but have become much less so as the years role on. Anyway, I have a new car that I rather love and it made me more and more interested.

    I have to do the do on the cheap - because I don't have much extra money at all. For that reason I'll likely be going in stages and trying to buy used as much as possible.

    I'll be using a desktop PC, building my own case. I think I have a reasonable handle on the assembly, but the main thing I've been wracking my brain over is the touchscreen, and where to put it.

    I have an 05 WRX (actually, a 92x) and from what I can tell, pretty much everyone uses the drop-in kit which costs $130. Well, that puts a real bite into my budget, and I'm not a big fan of paying someone else to do something that I could possibly do, so I think that's definitely out.

    What I've been considering lately, and what I'm looking for advice on, is mounting the LCD to the top of the dash, using the clock pod. I'm not overly concerned about an OEM look - it has to look good, but non-oem is fine with me. I like this idea because I can keep my current head unit/pocket setup to control volume and for when I don't boot the computer. I also know the chances of the carputer working 100% of the time are about zero, so I like the idea of keeping an HU. My wife would also approve (and it's her car too so waf is important).

    The clock pod sits in the middle of the dash and I have two ideas for it.

    1. Use a mount (made from wire, secured under the clock pod) extending from where the clock was, out through the hole. This would allow me to tilt and swivel and generally move the screen so that if there is glare, or if my wife wants to change a song, or whatever, it can be moved easily.

    - relatively easy to create - basically nothing is being altered, back to stock in 15 min if I wanted
    - screen adjust-ability of the screen seems like it would be a good thing to have
    - cheap (don't even need a replacement pod)

    - may well be to obstructive. A 7" lilliput looks like it's about 8"x5". That's pretty big to have in your line of sight - and the seats in this car are low so...
    - might look just plain bad

    2. My other idea is to buy a replacement pod (cheap used) and alter it to fit a screen. I would set it up so the screen can lie relatively flat or 'pop' up, basically roll on sliders (use kitchen cabinet hardware or something, not sure).

    - can recess the screen so it's less obtrusive. Can lie the screen flat so that when I don't want my site obscured at all (ie night driving in unfamiliar areas or if it bugs my wife when she's driving) i can lie it down and have it out of site. Can just lest music play when like that and adjust with the volume on HU so would be fine to do for stretches of time.
    - if done well could look pretty good - won't look oem but might integrate well
    - cheap (pod is $30 used or so)

    - not even sure it can be done. The pod goes from 8" wide at the front to 11" at the back - well take a lot of fabrication to basically recreate the pod and include hardware to slide the screen. I don't mind a lot of work - got a long cold winter ahead and I like a project, but if it can't actually be done ... well...i won't know until I've put money and time into it
    - TS will sit fairly far from me. I will have to lean forward to change settings. probably not a big deal for me, I'll just be tapping 'next' or changing to obd readout while driving, nothing too involved
    - if done poorly will look like **** maybe

    Anyway, didn't meant to write a novel - I've been searching trying to find pics of other people who have mounted their screen on top of hte dash but have found little (probably there are lots and I'm not hitting the right string). Any thoughts, comments, ideas etc... are very welcome and wanted. I'll keep updating this thread with my progress and future questions about wiring etc...

    Great to have a newbie section for such ramblings without fear of getting barked at

  • #2
    It looks like you are off to a good start. Head over to the fabrication area and try searching for Posts by Nexus (I think that is the name). Instead of just limiting your self to screen fabrication, just browse the fabriction area for custom projects- I have run across a couple that used parts I would never use(boost controllers), but had fab work that got me thinking
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided


    • #3
      Thanks Soundman - yeah, Nexson's stuff is very helpful to look at.

      So yeah, I've decided to mount my monitor to the clock pod on the dash, I'm pretty confident it will work well and look good. I'm hoping to buy the $100 ts for sale here which has no case, and am a little worried I won't figure out to mount it well, but hoping I can figure it out.

      So, maybe I'm not real advanced in my planning and not looking to be spoon fed, but thought I would lay this out a bit as I go.

      For a computer I'm using an old Dell laptop. It's small and underpowered - 500mhz and 128 megs, but I've been using it for years and am fond of it. I've been testing it and it seems to do the job pretty well - video will be iffy but i won't be using video much so whatever. But, I'm sort of planning that I may move to a desktop if the old lappy becomes too outdated.

      My understanding is that I should/can replace the power button on the laptop - extend it to the ashtray and mount it so that I can turn the lappy on and off.

      For power I'm still pretty iffy on what to do. My laptop uses an old school connection (rectangular sort of like old cell phones?) so I'm not sure I'll be able to find a DC-DC for the laptop. I'm considering going with an inverter, it's fairly cheap and my whole setup won't be very high power consumption I don't think.
      I still don't even know if people wire the inverter to the bat or just cig lighter...

      How would i power a screen that just has a bare 12v + ground? Wire it to a cig lighter maybe?

      ...more rambling thoughts to come...


      • #4
        i have a old insipron that has that same connector....

        you could either use a inverter, or you could chop off the connector, and use it with something like a carnetix power supply.

        either way, i would recomend that you come straight off the battery, for all your power needs, instead of just using the cig lighter. mostly because cig lighter have a max of 10 amps, and a inverter, and screen will be nearing that.

        also, sometimes there have been issues with inverters introducing noise into the audio, so, it might end up being cheaper in the long run to go with a carnetix type power supply.
        My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
        "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

        next project? subaru brz
        carpc undecided