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Thread: knobs/buttons vs touchscreen?

  1. #21
    Constant Bitrate toyotatyrant's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Hampton Roads VA
    I have a touchscreen and a IR Remote. I find myself using the remote between 95% to 97% of the time. I use the touchscreen maybe 3% to 5% of the time at the absolute very most. The remote is just more convenient and comfortable to me especially for switching tracks, volume, FF, RW, Pause, ETC. It's to the point where I am considering gutting the touch overlays on the new system I am currently building so I won't be sacrificing brightness and adding glare just to look cool "Playing Iphone" touching on a screen.

    I get pounced on by forum members everytime I say this but......
    I just don't find myself using the touch screen feature enough.
    Personally if they sold VGA displays without touch overlays any cheaper, then I woud just go that route instead.

    All jokes and rags aside, I think it's more of what input devices work for you, than what other people think will be good for you. Build your Car PC around you. Spend a good portion of your time brainstorming on input devices. Remember the point of the car pc is to make time in the car more easier and tolerable, and your pc build should reflect that.

  2. #22
    Maximum Bitrate TimmyM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Federal Way, WA
    i totally agree with toyotatyrant. i use only the TS because it's the only input I have. But I notice it takes a lot of my attention off the road. I'm looking into something else. the iMon Ultrabay and spacenavigator look promising. Also might try the griffin powermate. I'd love to have steering wheel controls but i haven't heard of any aftermarket kits for that.

  3. #23
    Newbie CmbtMdcThor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Southern California
    Quote Originally Posted by ik632 View Post
    I have a touch screen and a SpaceNavigator (using RBC9 driver). I find I use the touch screen only when I'm setting a nav location or adding songs to a play list. I use the SN for volume (rotate left right), play/pause (short press down), media/music menu (pull up), main menu (long press down), next/previous track (slide left/right), menu/list scroll up down (slide forward/back).

    The device also has rock left/right and rock forward/back but I don't use those. I had originally had it set to rock left/right to fast forward/rewind the song but never used it so I disabled it. One of the benefits of this device is that you only need to grab one knob and not worry about finding any other buttons for control.
    Hey ik632...Do you use girder with SN or does it have software that links the button action s to the Front thinking of using SN and RR without a touchscreen, but I have no Idea how to use girder

  4. #24
    FLAC -zip-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I use a touchscreen .0000000001% of the time. Its very unreliable and is prone to weather conditions cold/heat affects accuracy. Dinovo Mini keyboard, Ergonomic Touchpad and a powermate covers everything. Next screen I get will not be a touch screen, not worth the hassle and I think the screen will be brighter, one less USB port, less power consumption and cheaper without it.

    Was a nice thing to have when there are not other devices, but now its pointless.
    2008 350z GT Installed since April 22nd 2011 - Worklog
    2000 Protege Installed Since April 2, 2005 - Intel D201GLY|Fusion Brain|ODBPros ODBII|Engenius|GPS Rikaline|Powermate|Motorized Lilli
    Sound Stage

  5. #25
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by CmbtMdcThor View Post
    Hey ik632...Do you use girder with SN or does it have software that links the button action s to the Front thinking of using SN and RR without a touchscreen, but I have no Idea how to use girder
    The SN comes with it's own driver that you can map basic actions to the functions. There is another driver RBC9 (on the Logitech/SN forums) that allows more advanced mapping.

    There are 2 ways to use the mappings, you can map the keystrokes using RBC9 to some obscure settings that you wouldn't normally use, or map the action to an existing action that is in the front end you are using. I use Centrafuse and map the actions to obscure things then in CF I use the mapping editor to put the action to what I want.

    One of the nice things about the RBC9 utility is it lets you map time, distance distance and direction based. The SN has tilt left/right/front/back, slide forward/back/left/right, twist left/right, and pull in/out. Each direction gets a value from 0-255 with 0 being neutral and 255 being all the way in that direction. The nice thing is you can use a combination of how far you push with how long you are holding it there to do different actions.

    I had an initial mapping of no matter how fast I pressed left or right it would skip songs. If I pressed and held in the same direction between certain values for more than 0.5 sec it would fast forward. This was too difficult to use in the car so I ended up leaving it as just skip forward/back. It's pretty handy and can be programmed even more than I have it.

    The RBC9 will let you program themes so you can actually program the side button to switch themes and then you would have one theme for media and another for dvd and possibly another for basic mouse cursor control. I'm really happy with the device and the driver. You don't need to know any programming to set it up and the interface has a nice gui.
    Nick - 08 GG Element
    Custom 3D-CAD Design, Reverse Engineering and Fabrication

  6. #26
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    St Louis

    I decided long ago that since my right hand laid on the shifter 90% of the time, replacing it with a joystick was a perfect solution for me (as well as being a real eye catcher at car shows.) I currently have a CH F-16 CombatStick in my hot rod and a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro in my luxury car and am working with Saitek on implementing their X-52 (joystick only).

    The touchscreen is primarily for passengers or text input. But even that is limited cause my gal hates to see fingerprints on the screen and with the cheatsheet laying in front of the stick, she uses it, too. I also have a wireless mouse that I used while outside the vehicle until I got Z2 Remote2Pc for my PPC phone so now I could be on the other side of the world and see my screen and control my PC via my phone.
    HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

  7. #27
    Low Bitrate aforget's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Santa Cruz, CA, USA
    My '55 Buick let's you use the existing Sonomatic radio for tactile access.

    A goal of my project was to leave the car with as much a stock appearance as possible. This car was beautiful the day it rolled out of the factory. I wanted to incorporate the original Buick Sonomatic radio controls into the system. The volume knob works. I wanted the push buttons on the radio face to play, pause, and fast forward MP3 music. I wanted the station indicator to have an LCD screen that indicated system status and song and artist information.

    Touch screens are cool, but tactile controls canít be beat. There is nothing like pushing a button! This drove the requirements for the center console. In addition to controlling the computer, the center console contains USB ports, a slot load DVD, the Air Ride controls, multiple 12 volt power ports, and a 120 volt AC outlet. Yeah, it is ALL metal!

    55 Buick Carputer -

  8. #28
    Maximum Bitrate FusionFanatic's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    personally, I think a touchscreen is an absolute necessity for a carPC (for GPS, playlist management, etc), but I don't like using it for everything. I hate controlling volume and equalization via software/touchscreen; for those basic functions I need knobs!

    in my first carPC system I kept a head unit, so I kept full hardware based audio control. then I overhauled my entire setup and went "headunit-less". I ran it like that for a couple weeks but I hated it for several reasons: 1.) I had to look at the screen to simply increase/decrease the volume; 2.) I had to go through multiple screens to change EQ settings, which required taking my eyes off the road longer than I was comfortable with; 3.) with RoadRunner [w/DFX3.0], if you try to play a song that winamp doesn't like, winamp becomes the primary window but RR stays on-top, which results in RR locking up (it won't recognize any touchscreen presses, you can't close it, adjust volume, or anything).

    for those reasons I knew I had to have at least a hardware-based volume control, if not full hardware EQ control as well. I know many members use physical volume knobs (like the griffin or space navigator), but they connect via USB which means they are still software controlled. this was not an option for me, I needed a real volume control, not software-based...

    in my newer setup, I didn't have room for a HU in the dash so I bought a half-DIN graphic equalizer and mounted it below the touchscreen/monitor. this gave me the best of both (or all?) worlds... It gave me full volume, fader, subwoofer, and EQ control with physical knobs that use without the need to look at the screen. and if the computer froze/locked-up, I can still control the volume. I love the 7-band equalizer too because I am never happy with a single EQ setting, each song/style requires a different EQ setting to sound good and now I can adjust it by simply turning a knob (I don't have to go through several menus/screens to get to the software EQ screen. I still use the touchscreen to manually change tracks, playlists, GPS destinations, etc, but my most used fuctions (volume, sub, and EQ settings) are all controlled with physical knobs.

    here is my current setup:

    I would recommend you not choose between a touchscreen OR knobs/buttons, but use both. there is no reason why you have to choose between them when they can work in harmony. good luck with your future carPC setup

  9. #29
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by TimmyM View Post
    I'd love to have steering wheel controls but i haven't heard of any aftermarket kits for that.

    Look at my post a couple up from yours.

    The Pioneer CD-SR100 steering wheel control that I got is working fine. It sends IR signals to my USB-UIRT receiver, and my Girder software converts those signals into keystrokes for StreetDeck.

    It is SO much better now that I have this setup. With just one button press each I can:

    - Switch to radio/music/GPS/phone (not that I have the phone part working anyway...)
    - Switch to next/previous track or radio station
    - Pause/Play
    - Skip back forward in the playback of the current track or radio station (using the volume up/down buttons on the back of the remote for this)
    - Activate voice control for everything else... no more drawing a "/\" on the screen to do voice control.

    All I have left to do is get my USB-UIRT properly mounted... for now it's just draped up on my dashboard. The Pioneer remote has a very strong signal, so it works unless the wheel is turned almost 180 degrees.

    If you want to do this and need help, let me know. I use an old free version of Girder, which could be hard to find but I can send you. And I can send you my Girder config file if you need it.

    The Pioneer remote is a bit of a pain to install though, depending on where on your wheel you attach it. And I had to wedge a bit of folded duct tape under it to make it really tight on the wheel... but it's good once installed.

  10. #30
    Maximum Bitrate
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    FYI, here's a link to download the last free version of Girder (3.2.9b):

    I haven't used that myself, as my installed version is 3.2.7 which is working fine.

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