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Thread: Help me understand PC in a DIN chassis

  1. #1
    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    Help me understand PC in a DIN chassis

    Ive been seeing a few threads where people always looking for a car PC in a DIN size or double DIN. What I dont understand is WHY. If you have a PC in a DIN chassis, what's the use? the whole thing is probably not gonna fit after youve connected all the cables and connectors. Are you absolutely sure that there's NO other place to hide the mini ITX? I can understand if you're trying to mount a CD drive with char LCD in a DIN or double DIN. That's useful as you need to access the drive and see the status of your MP3 player. What do you need to access on the PC itself that requires you to mount the PC in the dash in the DIN cavity?CD drive, char LCD, floppy drive, ZIP drive, LS120 drive, Jazz drive,ORB drive,MO drive, removeable harddrive, memory card readers can all be mounted away from the motherboard. Even if you manage to squeeze the mobo, PSU, HDD and a CD drive in a single DIN chassis, do you have enough room behind the DIN chassis to plug in the power, monitor, USB, KB, mouse, COM ports, Parallel ports and still mount the whole thing into the dash? I really hope you don't drive an early model Chevy Astro Van cuz that would really suck trying to get a DIN PC into the dash on that.
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  2. #2
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    I have a great reason for wanting to do it. On my car the Double din spot is the only place that has room to put the stuff. On top of that it is a drop in solution which requires less running of cables. For my car a double din setup works. Other people have cars that other installs make sense.

    I think everyone figures out what works best for them before they build there setup.

  3. #3
    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by adamis
    I have a great reason for wanting to do it. On my car the Double din spot is the only place that has room to put the stuff. On top of that it is a drop in solution which requires less running of cables. For my car a double din setup works. Other people have cars that other installs make sense.

    I think everyone figures out what works best for them before they build there setup.
    how do you get audio to the amp? aux in? or no head unit?what do you do for monitor? char LCD? composit? VGA? There's abolutely no room what so ever under the seat? If you mount the comp under the seat, you'll have access to all the cables incase you to unplug and replug, such as USB devices. better air circulation than in dash. If you have double DIN as your 92 Maxima does, 1st DIN can be your monitor, 2nd DIN can be a deck or a CD drive, IR receiver or RF receiver. It would be alot less work to build a case for the comp as you're not limited to a DIN chassis.
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    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    One reason is DIN is a standard. As wel get more hi tech stuff in our cars the makers will notice and start adding more DIN space so newbies can but hi tech stuff off the shelf and we can build more hi tech stuff. My head unit has as many wires or more than my PC, when you count the power, clock/memory power, ground, antenna, power antenna, car phone mute, aux in, fron speakers, rear speakers, line outs for each and a sub out, I think thats all. My car pc has power, power switch and audio so far. Another reason for DIN is to make it as small as possible, I don't want my whole cab filled up by a pc, I want it small and out of the way.

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    Yup, exactly, or even more one of my reasons is if I was selling the car I can show them the system and tell them that everything is pretty much a drop in solution, it's clean and out of the way.

    If the system was put in under the seat or something people might look at it and go well that's cool but kind of hacked in. Not to knock on the guys who do this setup, you have to go with what works for your situation.

    Check out these pictures and you'l better understand.

    http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/adamis/ls....src=ph&.view=

    As for the head unit and car stero I took it all out. I thought I would miss it but after almost a year of static free, commerical free music with MP3's I can't find a reason to go back to radio. I run a cable back to the trunk where I have an amp. I have the D-link radio but never really use it. I would actually prefer some AM radio but oh well, you can't when it all.

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    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by eugenen
    One reason is DIN is a standard.
    Yes DIN is a standard opening but the depth is where the problem lies. From experience, a standard after market DIN radio has the depth of around 6.5" Anything deeper than that like a Jensen CDH1000 with 7" mounting depth will not fit 75% of vehicles.
    As wel get more hi tech stuff in our cars the makers will notice and start adding more DIN space so newbies can but hi tech stuff off the shelf and we can build more hi tech stuff.
    Since when did auto makers start putting more DIN opening new cars? I can only name a few cars with more than 2 DIN openings. 97 Maxima, 92 Tercel, and recent corollas just to name a few. Auto makers are doing away with DIN radios now. look at Taurus, Escort, Caddilacs, Lexus, Toyotas, Altimas, They don't have DIN radios anymore.
    My head unit has as many wires or more than my PC, when you count the power, clock/memory power, ground, antenna, power antenna, car phone mute, aux in, front speakers, rear speakers, line outs for each and a sub out, I think that's all. My car PC has power, power switch and audio so far.
    Yes but the main harness can be squished flat against the radio so that it'll add maybe 1/4" to the overall mounting depth. Main harness wires can be easily tucked away. RCA jacks and changer plug can sometimes add an inch to the overall depth which prevents the stereo from being mounted into the dash. The RCA and changer plug hit the AC vents on most SONY decks.
    Another reason for DIN is to make it as small as possible, I don't want my whole cab filled up by a PC, I want it small and out of the way.
    A DIN sized PC would be great but it wouldn't be practical for actual indash mounting. Current MiniITX board is 6.7X6.7" put that in a case will yield at least 6.8"X6.8" Put that in a DIN chassis will be 7"X6.8" add all the cable necessary will make the depth to at least 8" Unless you drive a 1st gen Eclipse and its clones, It's not going to fit. If you're PC is based on SBC biscuit PC where the mobo is something like 6.7 "W X 4.5 or 5" D then it would be OK.
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  7. #7
    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    Originally posted by adamis
    Yup, exactly, or even more one of my reasons is if I was selling the car I can show them the system and tell them that everything is pretty much a drop in solution, it's clean and out of the way.
    It's gonna be hard to find a buyer who wants a carPC already in it.

    If the system was put in under the seat or something people might look at it and go well that's cool but kind of hacked in. Not to knock on the guys who do this setup, you have to go with what works for your situation.
    Putting a PC in a car is already "hacked in" no matter where you put it. You're right, you're not knocking on anyone who installs their PC else where. I'm not knocking on anyone who installs their PC in a DIN slot. I just don't see the reason to. If you can integrate a slim CD drive into the DIN PC then by all means install it in the dash.

    Check out these pictures and you'l better understand.
    Once you've finished the double DIN setup, put your factory deck next to it THEN you'll better understand.

    As for the head unit and car stero I took it all out. I thought I would miss it but after almost a year of static free, commerical free music with MP3's I can't find a reason to go back to radio. I run a cable back to the trunk where I have an amp. I have the D-link radio but never really use it. I would actually prefer some AM radio but oh well, you can't when it all.
    MP3, WMA, audio out from the CD drive, even uncompressed WAV from a PC doesn't give you the dynamic that a good quality standard CD player will give you. If all you've listened to is your PC system then you won't be able to tell the difference. but if you can A B compare the PC and a car CD player then you tell the obvious difference. Since you took out your deck and the pocket below the radio, you've covered the whole thing with the monitor right? how do you control your setup? RF kb/mouse? touch pad? IR remote? Where did you mount the CD drive?
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  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cproaudio
    Yes DIN is a standard opening but the depth is where the problem lies. From experience, a standard after market DIN radio has the depth of around 6.5" Anything deeper than that like a Jensen CDH1000 with 7" mounting depth will not fit 75% of vehicles.

    I have noticed that the din depth is getting better though, my old truck couldn't even accept a 6.5" depth without having the front stick out, but my new one took my 7" clarion and had plenty of room behind for cables.

    Since when did auto makers start putting more DIN opening new cars? I can only name a few cars with more than 2 DIN openings. 97 Maxima, 92 Tercel, and recent corollas just to name a few. Auto makers are doing away with DIN radios now. look at Taurus, Escort, Caddilacs, Lexus, Toyotas, Altimas, They don't have DIN radios anymore.

    I have heard others sae that their newer cars are doing this. Some of the expensive ones above it makes sense becase the typical buyer of those have the money to afford the expensive factory systems they install in them. But most normal cars affordable by normal people are getting better on din space.

    Yes but the main harness can be squished flat against the radio so that it'll add maybe 1/4" to the overall mounting depth. Main harness wires can be easily tucked away. RCA jacks and changer plug can sometimes add an inch to the overall depth which prevents the stereo from being mounted into the dash. The RCA and changer plug hit the AC vents on most SONY decks.

    I had planty of room for wiring in mine. Giving a Sony example doesn't mean much, Sony usually does odd stuff. With my computer system I designed and build my own interface plugs so there is one bug connector on the back that is low profile.

    A DIN sized PC would be great but it wouldn't be practical for actual indash mounting. Current MiniITX board is 6.7X6.7" put that in a case will yield at least 6.8"X6.8" Put that in a DIN chassis will be 7"X6.8" add all the cable necessary will make the depth to at least 8" Unless you drive a 1st gen Eclipse and its clones, It's not going to fit. If you're PC is based on SBC biscuit PC where the mobo is something like 6.7 "W X 4.5 or 5" D then it would be OK.
    Maybe thats why VIA is coming out with a nana-itx form factor. The mini ITX can fit but like you said it is tight.

  9. #9
    FLAC DodgeCummins's Avatar
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    If I could have found a DIN pc...or Double DIN with pop out display, when I built my machine, I would have been tempted to use it...I have a 'laptop' mobo in the dash and it is about a foot or so long plus connectors...that was fun trying to fit.

    It also has (I am not using) a port replicator that puts all the outputs into one multipin plug...if that plug went to dongles instead of the big plastic port, you would only extend the back by half an inch...the antenna into my head unit extends that much.

    The more maintstream this project becomes (carmp3)...the more stuff that will be available for our projects...the Xenarc VGA touchscreen is one example. The power supplies that run of 12vdc are another. DIN is a way to make it more mainstream.

    Not everyone will use a DIN mp3 player...but then again, some people only have cdplayers (or even a radio) in there car because it would have cost more to not have it.

    Putting a Car Stereo in a car is a hack job...and it has no resale value as far as the bank is concerned.

    Oh yea, I have not heard a car stereo installation that had the acoustics to properly reproduce a CD. (especially at 80mph) So the difference between a 75%VBR mp3 and a CD are imperceptable. And some folks here are using a cassette tape adapter or RF modulator as the audio in to the head unit...just lost all proper CD reproduction there.

    You have listed a lot of reasons why YOU don't want a DIN computer...that doesn't mean they aren't useful.

    Take a peek at Mini-Itx for questions on how you could control a DIN computer.

    BTW I have a screen but pretty much only use it with GPS. For mp3 playback I have resume on winamp, and have buttons for next song previous song and pause...thats all I need.

    If I need to work on the playlist etc, I will fire up TightVNC and administer the truck computer from the comfort of my house.

  10. #10
    FLAC samc's Avatar
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    I dont really understand it either. I suppose its "cool." You can have a standard plug that you can just attach on the back and slide the comp into the dual din slots. I for instance have glove box right next to the din slot that I can build into, only if heat/air flow was not an issue.
    Mine needs to be updated.

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