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  • Newbie with a couple general questions

    Hey guys, GREAT site you have here. I am looking to start a car puter project with a mac mini.

    My first question is about the screen, I happen to have a digital photo frame lying around and I'm wondering if I could use that as my monitor? It only has usb in so I would have to figure that out I guess, but there is a overlay that I hear good things about that could work with it. Would def. save some cash if I didn't have to buy a new screen.

    I guess that is my first question. I am just waiting to hear from a friend about his PPC mac mini that I would be buying.

    Seems most people are on intel mini's?

  • #2
    You'll have to crack open the photo frame and determine what kind of input it uses, and possibly reverse-engineer an input from the PC.

    You're better off just buying an LCD with VGA input.
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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    • #3
      If you want to save yourself some time just wait until you have the $$ for a real in car 7 - 8 or even 10 inch touch screen (depending on space available).

      That way you'll have more time to plan you install and Operating System Configuration.

      Good luck with you project bro and welcome to the forum!!
      VmtSquad - I sold my soul to Honda!
      Final Install
      CarPC progress: 95%

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      • #4
        VMt
        thanks for the welcome man
        I've realized as I read more that that lcd i have won't work
        I've just found a real cheap 7 inch lcd that will work
        however the not sure it works with mac at the required resolution

        just got an offer on my keg fridge so may have the extra cash I need anyway

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        • #5
          here is the link to the cheaper screen with RGB

          http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.22660

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          • #6
            IMO the screen looks pretty good for the price. Only issue I would have is that ICE3 doesn't support that resolution natively. ICE3 if you haven't checked it out is probably the most popular/active Car FE. It supports 800x480 and stretches to fit 800x600.

            Most of the Xenarc or Lilliput systems support 800x480 or 800x600 natively in the 7" models.
            Sound System () 100%
            Power System () 100%
            MacMini Setup () 100%

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            • #7
              ok so is ICE the most popular FE?
              I was thinking ... is it AMP might be?


              that screen seems to work at 800 by 600 but it looks like its not working with mac mini's at 800 by 480

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              • #8
                You'll get the best screen clarity if you run the LCD at its native resolution. You can run most screens at just about any resolution, but LCD/LED screens have only 1 native resolution.
                Sound System () 100%
                Power System () 100%
                MacMini Setup () 100%

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                • #9
                  good point brown
                  my last laptop was stuck on the wrong resolution forever and it was annoying as hell
                  looks like i wait till the keg fridge sells and i buy a lilliput

                  thanks

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                  • #10
                    Happy New Year, and welcome to MacCar!
                    To address your PPC/Intel mac mini question, your best bet is the intel mini, only because if you intend to use windows as well as OS X on your mini, intel macs natively support both platforms. The PPC mini can run both as well, but it do it slowly. Very slowly.

                    As far the dealextreme tv, can it pick up HD channels?!
                    Because as you know, analog TV is gone.
                    In any case, as long as this unit supports 800x480 or 800x600 resolution, you're good to go.

                    Good luck, and post pics!!
                    All systems are a go...
                    Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                    The Worklog

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                    • #11
                      Project thanks for the welcome ....

                      OK for the mac mini... I'm totally mac here at home, so really don't have much desire to run windows on the thing. I guess the reason people are doing that now is mostly for GPS? I have an iphone it'd be nice if that could be used as the gps ....

                      But hold the phone you think this dealextreme lcd could work?
                      I'm not worried or wanting it for the TV, its just that its about a third of the cost of the lilliput or any other of the lcd's used ...

                      So you think 800 by 600 is good enough resolution? This would totally make this project happen a bit faster if I could save some cashish on the screen.....

                      Another question ... any other Canadians on the board?

                      Wondering about winter conditions was -14C here yesterday ... assuming that will affect the performance of any computer ...

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                      • #12
                        Downs:
                        Supposedly, there are Mac GPS software available; Route Buddy among them. The most popular right now are for windows, iGuidance and Garmin Mobile PC, the latter I can vouch for. You can use your iPhone, but I can only imagine the strain it would be on the phone itself, and then you are looking at a bigger 7" screen, which would be more visible for turn-by-turn instructions...
                        And also remember this: There are no true software updates for PPC macs; I give them ten more months before they become obsolete in Apple's eyes. Something to think about, especially if you want stay up-to-date.

                        As for the screen, 800x600 is the typical resolution for most carputers out there. As long as this screen handles that, you're fine. The reason Lilliputs and Xenarcs and the like are pricier is because they respond better and are much more visible to sunlight. The screen for that price is awesome, if and only if you can see it while you drive. I dunno about sunlight in CN, but for $79, I can only see the unit's sunlight visibility as "adequate."

                        The winter condition: the coldest NY has seen since December is 10F (I think that's .3C), and at that time, it took my carputer 5 minutes to activate. The regulator itself I think must reach a certain temperature before it activates. And by the way, there might be insulators that help speed that up.

                        Bear in mind, if your screen can adapt to the weather all day and all night, and be visible in the sunlight, you got a good screen.

                        With no prior knowledge of this brand, I'm uncertain how it will hold up. All I can say is, they have all you need to get started. If you wish to use it, best of luck!!
                        All systems are a go...
                        Currently in "tweaking" mode.

                        The Worklog

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                        • #13
                          well looks like after almost giving up I am back and this project looks to be moving forward

                          I had decided to put the project off and wait until I could get an Intel mac mini and afford the better screen

                          however since that time I have been offered a trade that will have a mac mini G4 in my hands

                          I realize that this is probably not the best solution to go with however, i have a 500 gig my passport usb drive where all of my content will rest so in fact i dont think an older soon to be obsolete mac will be a problem

                          plus i can swap that out later once the system is up if i find everything else is perfect but i need more muscle in the computer dept

                          so im going to go with a lilliput 7 inch
                          i was going to buy from here the screen and the metal enclosure that goes with it
                          however from another post I saw on here with someone with a mazda 5
                          it looks like the dash kit that needs to go in should allow for attachment to the screen or whatever housing i use

                          I'm thinking AMP for the front end
                          ill have to get a usb dongle for wifi

                          im also thinking about putting a valet switch in
                          this way for really cold days i will default the switch to the off position
                          start the car and warm it up
                          then boot the mac
                          warm days the switch can default to on and let the mac boot up with the ignition

                          does this approach make sense ?
                          i feel like the more im reading the more im understanding on this topic

                          however obviously input from folks like yourself is invaluable

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Downs View Post
                            im also thinking about putting a valet switch in
                            this way for really cold days i will default the switch to the off position
                            start the car and warm it up
                            then boot the mac
                            warm days the switch can default to on and let the mac boot up with the ignition

                            does this approach make sense ?
                            i feel like the more im reading the more im understanding on this topic

                            however obviously input from folks like yourself is invaluable
                            That's exactly what I'm doing. Just inline the switch with the ignition line to your power supply.

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                            • #15
                              cool
                              machinehead thanks for the validation

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