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Thread: What should the newbie get?

  1. #1
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    Question What should the newbie get?

    Hello,

    Well I'm finally breaking down and trying to install a computer into my truck and I have some questions. Heres the situation:

    My truck is a 1994 GMC Sierra Extended Cab 4x4. I have bucket seats with a fair sized console compartment in between. Under the rear seat all my space is currently taken up by a dual subwoofer/amp combination. My plan is to gut a 166 or 250 mhz computer and custom install it in the console. I plan to mount the power inverter underneath one of the seats. I plan on installing the keypad on the outside of the console at a easy to reach angle. I would LIKE to get a fold up LCD screen to mount on the dash to play winamp graphics plugins, but for financial reasons I'm considering a simple 4x40 LCD Display or something similar. Now come the questions :-)

    How do I connect the LCD to the computer? Are they made to connect to the monitor port? I have noticed LCD Vid cards, do they come with a special port? and do I need a lcd video card to run the 4x40 display? or just the actual screen?

    *Breaths* :-) Is there anyway to hardwire the power inverter into my truck? all I've been able to find is inverters that plug into my cigarette lighter, which I want to avoid to keep clutter to the minimum, I suppose I could install another 12v power outlet under the seat, but is there a easier way? Also do most power inverters turn on and off with the ignition? My trucks a diesel and the dual batteries are expensive as all hell :-)

    Also, I have a Sony CDX-C6850 that has CD/MD changer controls, is there a way to run the sound in through there? Do I need a adapter of some sort?

    Okay, last paragraph :-) Thats it for now on the technical stuff, I was just wondering if you guys could suggest some good products that are within a college students budget, and where I can order them (I'm having a hell of a time finding places to order LCD Character Displays) Thanks A lot!

    ~Cory
    --
    "We'll do this the old navy way, the first one to die, looses."

    Looking For A Second Gen 4Runner, CarPuter To Follow! :-)

  2. #2
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    Clarion 200watt head unit w/ Aux in.
    Kicker 800watt 4 channel amp
    In a 96 Grand Prix SE.

  3. #3
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    Oh, and contact www.Datainternational.com about a sample 4x40 LCD, tell them you are a student, and are using it for a class. They will be happy to send you one.
    But I didn't tell you that.
    Clarion 200watt head unit w/ Aux in.
    Kicker 800watt 4 channel amp
    In a 96 Grand Prix SE.

  4. #4
    Raw Wave wizardPC's Avatar
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    hey, new guy: thanks for listing just about all of the questions newbies ask--in one post. Now I know where to start on the FAQ
    Debt as of 1/1/05: $34,354.48
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  5. #5
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    just remember.....we were all newbies... some still are....
    04 Acura TL w/ core2duo 2ghz laptop w/ 1gb RAM on a docking station.

    Fast car, fast PC. ;)

    http://www.arcdesigns.net/carpc/

    My TL CarPC ver2

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  6. #6
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    Cory, first off-do some research on charachter lcds. Just search for something like "HD44780 FAQ" on google and read whatever comes your way..second off...the inverter question...I would strongly consider looking into a DC-DC power supply instead of an inverter. If your computer is only going to be between 166-250 mhz then you could probably stick with an AT DC-DC and spend about $80. It makes a huge difference in the long run and the nice thing about them is that you have to hardwire them to your battery. If you're insistant upon sticking with the inverter, i believe it is possible to just chop off the cig lighter connector and connect the positive and ground cables to their respective sources.

    here are some places for products..

    DC-DC Power Supply: http://www.arisecomputer.com/ps/ace800.asp

    Take lstrunk's advice on contacting data international and getting a free charachter lcd. make sure to specify LED backlighting.

    Ebay is probably one of the best places to find your computer if you dont already have it.

    Not sure about running the sound through your CD player although I do know that lots of people have used CD-Changer connectors as Aux Inputs for their system.

    Other than these places you can find all of the small stuff (wires, cables, connectors) that you need at the local radio shack. Plan to be taking many many trips there I can probably recall about 15 times that i've been there since i've started this thing.

    Good luck. Any other questions feel free to ask.
    Athlon 500, 128 MB, ATI Xpert 4MB AGP TV-Out, Sound Blaster Live! Value, 8.4 GB, 2x20 Backlit LCD, Keypower 250 Watt ATX DC-DC, DSchmitd Startup/Shutdown Controller, IRMan + Backlit IR Remote, Custom Keypad, 5.6" NTSC LCD, In-Dash Slot Loading DVD, all installed in an '87 Honda Accord LX-i

  7. #7
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    to use the cd/md control for aux in for sony you need an xa-101 aux in adaptor. they retail for $200.00 i just switched to a system without a head unit so i have an xa101 if you want it for like $100.00
    "if everything is under control, you're not going fast enough!"

  8. #8
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    okay, I like the idea of the DC-DC power supply, but is something with that low of wattage really enough to power a 166 comp and accesories? Also, my orginal plan to install more music on the system was to simply unbolt my console and plug it into my dorm rooms ethernet jack, if I run it on DC power how do I add songs if I only have a character display (I'm sorry, I'm just really not sure of what a character display can do) I am looking up information on installing a Screen, but all the information to get one up and running is somewhat confusing :-) (I currently can't afford a assembled screen (preferably roof mount) and I'm not so sure my mediocre wiring abilities could assemble one :-) )

    Also, Do you have any pics of the aux adapter? I may take you up on the offer as soon as some more money comes in :-) My whole intent from the get go was to play it through my growing sound system :-) Thanks

    ~Cory
    --
    "We'll do this the old navy way, the first one to die, looses."

    Looking For A Second Gen 4Runner, CarPuter To Follow! :-)

  9. #9
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    I know that many people have had success with the arise dc-dc. i dont think you really need more than whatever it outputs. Granted you're only going to have a motherboard, hard drive, lcd, fan...it should work just fine. as for updating songs...you have many options there...for you it seems like it would make the most sense to just have a 200 watt at power supply laying around so you could bring your computer inside and update it when you want...thats the cheapest anyway...as for wiring up the screens...it can be a pain in the *** if you do it from scratch..getting potentiometeres and everything...i was at the same place you are six months ago, but i was determined and stuck with it. if you're willing to do the same i'm sure you'll overcome your problems. if you're not willing to learn A LOT then a custom setup might not be for you.
    Athlon 500, 128 MB, ATI Xpert 4MB AGP TV-Out, Sound Blaster Live! Value, 8.4 GB, 2x20 Backlit LCD, Keypower 250 Watt ATX DC-DC, DSchmitd Startup/Shutdown Controller, IRMan + Backlit IR Remote, Custom Keypad, 5.6" NTSC LCD, In-Dash Slot Loading DVD, all installed in an '87 Honda Accord LX-i

  10. #10
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    You should be fine with the 65W DC-DC from Arise. As for how to power it when you're inside, check this post.
    If you want to be able to plug the carputer into an ehternet jack for updates without needing to hook a monitor, keyboard, etc. to it, check out VNC. This free software. Instal the VNC server software on the carputer then install hte client software on your desktop PC. Once you plug the carputer into the LAN, you can use the VNC software to control it from your desktop PC.
    As for what you can do with a character LCD, you can use a WinAmp plugin such as this one to display info from WinAmp onto the LCD. If you're only going to be using the carputer for MP3, then a character LCD is really all you need. If you are willing to do some wiring, get a HD44780 display (you can get a 4X40 from EIO for $20), then use a wiring diagram such as this one to connect it to the parallel port of your PC. If you don't want to wire one yourself and you don't mind spending a bit more, you can go for a prewired serial LCD which connects to the serial port (all you need is a standard serial cable). You can get serial LCDs from Matrix Orbital, CrystalFontz and Scott Edwards Electronics. They're all roughly the same price. I have a Matrix Orbital display, and I've been very happy with it.
    Best of luck!
    Mike.

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