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  • Just bought a Mac Mini

    I just ordered a refurb MacMini from Apple. I plan to initially run Boot Camp with XP until a comprehensive frontend is available for Mac.

    My needs for a carPC are:

    1) GPS (will probably use MS Streets & Trips 2007 since I already have a copy)
    2) Music (I have a great stereo so I will feeding all audio via RCA input to HU)
    3) DVD watching for passengers
    4) Onboard diagnosis
    5) Internet browsing for passengers (want to use my Sprint phone as modem with pdaNet)

    I think everything should be straight forward with XP as the OS and RR as the frontend. Are there things I should be aware of or anything that looks like it will be a problem? I have buil many PCs and did all the audio install in my truck, but I am still new to the carPC world.

    I am really looking forward to a good FE for Mac so I can realize the full benefits of the Mac Mini. BTW, I got it for $429 from Apple.

  • #2
    Just a little FYI, better douoble check your state and local laws about dvd in you vehicle...most states that the screen has to be behind the drivers field of view, or require the vehicle to be in park with the emergency brake applied...tickets are best to be avoided....
    Status of Mini Install: Ordering parts and working on docking station.

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    • #3
      meaning you'll have to turn your monitor off, or have a dual screen setup...

      2006 Mazda 3
      Behringer DCX-2496
      JL300/4 Focal 6W4311B Focal TN52
      JL500/1 JL10w6v2

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      • #4
        Not a problem. I already have two DVD players in the back seat of my truck. The carPC screen would rarely be used for movie watching, and then only by the front passenger. Maybe I will make a mount that swivels.

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        • #5
          Technically, that would still be illegal. Any moving screen has to be behind the front seats. There is only one video out on a mini, so you'd have to share the same display on 2 panels & shut off the one at front whilst passengers are web surfing.

          Somewhere on this forum someone described an external box that could split a single VGA signal across 2 monitors. Set the display resolution to 2 screens wide and you can have whatever is on the left of the display on the front screen and so on.

          edit: It was called dualhead2go: http://voice.firefallpro.com/2006/02...ors-using.html
          EPoX mATX SocketA w/onboard Geforce4MX / 512MB PC2700 / AthlonXP 1600
          Lilliput / DVDrom / Opus 150W / WD 3.5" 160GB / SB Audigy NX
          XP home / Road Runner / iGuidance 4.0

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          • #6
            If you are worried about it, make sure to check your state law and see exactly what it says. Most of the laws I've seen discussed don't make the screen itself illegal. It is the display of moving images in the view of the driver on them. In all cases I've seen, there is usually an exception for navigation display.
            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

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bugbyte View Post
              If you are worried about it, make sure to check your state law and see exactly what it says. Most of the laws I've seen discussed don't make the screen itself illegal. It is the display of moving images in the view of the driver on them. In all cases I've seen, there is usually an exception for navigation display.
              Thanks for chiming in Bugbyte, your comments are always helpful.

              OK, let's put movie watching and web surfing aside since these features will not be used very often and I consider safety very important.

              As far as the other features (music, nav, OBD, and anything else cool), are there any specific things I should be aware of?

              Comment


              • #8
                Audio Connector Alert

                I too have a refurbished Intel Mini, and based on my experience with this system, as well as recent Macintoshes in general, one thing I'd be wary of is the audio output connector. I belive it was likely a problem with that connector that prompted the return of my Mini in the first place-- And Apple never completely corrected the issue (audio cutting out if the connector/cord is jiggled).

                I too secured an excellent price for this machine, and based thereon I never opted to return it to Apple, choosing to just live with the problem. But that said, I haven't yet installed the system in my car, and I've intention for it to be removed each time I leave (by way of a dock I'll custom build)-- Much like the older car stereos that you used to completely pull out of the car and take with you (prior to the faceplate-only idea).

                Because of the fact that I'll be removing the Mini and reinserting it frequently, it's a certain bet that the audio connector is going to outright fail; and quickly. Because of this I bought a Griffen iMic-- A USB sound "card" (http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/imic/). With this I'll be able to run my audio through USB, never having to use the poor quality onboard audio connector. It also facilitates, as the name implies, the connection of a microphone which I've intention to use in issuing voice commands to the Mac, just for fun.

                Anyway, beware of the audio connector on these machines!

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the heads up! I wasn't aware of the audio port issue. I might have to go with the Griffen iMic too....
                  Status of Mini Install: Ordering parts and working on docking station.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have nothing further to add as you're not going to be running osx. I use osx, frontrow and have parallels to run iGuidance.

                    If you used osx I'd have advice on:
                    Parallels vs VMWare fusion for running windows programs
                    DISPLAYCONFIGX to build customized screen resolutions
                    CSCREEN to choose the screen resolution by script or startup daemon
                    LINGON to create items to run at startup & log-in to set screen resolution.
                    EPoX mATX SocketA w/onboard Geforce4MX / 512MB PC2700 / AthlonXP 1600
                    Lilliput / DVDrom / Opus 150W / WD 3.5" 160GB / SB Audigy NX
                    XP home / Road Runner / iGuidance 4.0

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by explorecaves View Post
                      Thanks for the heads up! I wasn't aware of the audio port issue. I might have to go with the Griffen iMic too....
                      I bought th iMic to use with my DJ setup and I quickly realized that it only was good enough to use as a cue out, not as a main audio out.

                      I just bought the Miglia HarmonyAudio, but I havent had a real chance to listen to it yet.

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                      • #12
                        Quality Might Warrant Consideration!

                        I suppose that indeed might be an issue of consideration: Audio quality.

                        I did perform a personal comparison, on-board audio vs. the iMic's output. What I did was simply plug in a pair of good quality headphones I have and listened to the same audio clip, comparing the output of each. To that, I'd have to say the on-board audio sounded a bit better (when it isn't cutting out, that is).

                        I'm not sure there'd be much perceptible difference with music played in a car, though (although, as noted, I haven't yet had the chance to actually listen to iMic output in my car). The iMic's output is indeed in stereo, in case anyone wondered...

                        One other issue of consideration is my particular iMic is a first generation model (got it brand new on eBay for substantial savings)-- It could be the second generation model currently being sold by Griffin is better (or so I'd hope!).

                        Anyway, that's a good point: If at all possible, if you're to go USB for audio on your Mac Mini, it might be in order testing which option sounds best for your needs. But I'd still expect an iMic to work fine in car application, where you always have engine/road/wind/etc. noise getting in the way. To be sure, it's not like audio in our cars is the same as listening to music with headphones, or in an otherwise silent room.

                        In any event, some form of USB audio is probably the only way to go if you'll be plugging/unplugging your Mac's connectors frequently. I'm sure the built-in audio jack wouldn't hold up well to such use...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I use the audio out jack on a PPC Mini on a dock and haven't experienced and issues with the jack. This is the first I've heard of a problem with it.
                          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


                          • #14
                            Dang, I totally missed out on the refurb Mini deal Apple just had! I was hesitant and now I'm regretting it, because I really think a mini would work great. I'm going to keep looking for a deal. I do have a question though. I plan on running aftermarket 2 or 3 way speakers in front(with their own external crossover) and possibly a sub at some point, so I will need some sort of soundcard to output to an amp. Do the creative audigies and such work with a Mini running OSX? I guess I haven't really decided what OS I'll be running. I may run OSX with XP for NAV only. Any light you could shed on that would be great. In writing this, I am coming up with a lot more questions that I am going to need to research and probably start a thread of my own...Good luck with your mini, I'm jealous! :P

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by turbotuli View Post
                              Dang, I totally missed out on the refurb Mini deal Apple just had! I was hesitant and now I'm regretting it, because I really think a mini would work great. I'm going to keep looking for a deal. I do have a question though. I plan on running aftermarket 2 or 3 way speakers in front(with their own external crossover) and possibly a sub at some point, so I will need some sort of soundcard to output to an amp. Do the creative audigies and such work with a Mini running OSX? I guess I haven't really decided what OS I'll be running. I may run OSX with XP for NAV only. Any light you could shed on that would be great. In writing this, I am coming up with a lot more questions that I am going to need to research and probably start a thread of my own...Good luck with your mini, I'm jealous! :P
                              Keep checking the Apple Refurb store. The Mini comes in and out stock frequently. As far as sound, I would just try a 3.5mm to RCA cable first. If the sound is not to your liking then try other options.

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