Good alternatives to conventional CarPC's
Just hoping to give a few ideas for setups and some general info.
First off, I always buy cheap. I feel better about my projects when I spend less and get the same quality or better than others who have more disposble funds. I hope to pass on some info, some or all of this you may allready know.
Almost everything I buy is from Ebay, so there will be lots of references. No auctions posted are my own and I have nothing to do with the sellers.
Single Board Computers (SBC):
There are many good models to choose from. The newer ones being the best of course, but a little spendy. It all depends on what YOU need out of your CarPc.
Heres a good example of a good lower end board: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=11175 .
Its only 233mhz, so DVD playback would be out unless you get some sort of hardware decoder. But, for a MP3/GPS/Navigation and just about everything else which isnt very CPU demanding would run perfect. It only requires a +5v, so you would have no expensive power supply to buy. Also has all standard PC ports including USB ect. Where it stands out is the built in touchscreen and LCD controllers. Here is a list of LCD's supported: http://www.arcomcontrols.com/product...ediaGX_LCD.htm .
Lots of good sizes to choose from. I just chose the first one: NEC NL6448AC20-06 6.5". Brought up Ebay and found: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=26206.
Its always good to buy a LCD with the backlight inverter. It saves alot of headaches later on. Always look for .pdf files if you find something interesting. I rarely have trouble finding info on SBC's and LCD's.
Laptop have been brought up many times here. No you cant take out the LCD and rewire it to your VGA output blah blah blah.
Theres 2 ways to use a laptop. Either as a small computer hidden away which is used to drive an external screen (this version usually removable from the vehicle), or as a permenantly mounted Laptop which uses the screen it came with either extended slightly from the base or in a custom enclosure with the screen sticking out. Small quality screens are expensive, I'm sure you know. But not everyone has room for a 10"-14" screen AND room to mount the laptop base. But in older cars and larger newer vehicles, it can be done.
Dont go buy a laptop and think you can just extend the screen a couple feet either. Most use those thin ribbins with tiny little traces. Its possible, but not a good idea. But some also use thin guage wires making it a little easier, but never extend the screen too far or you will have problems with the picture.
A good laptop if you have room to use the screen is a panasonic Toughbook CF-25 or CF-27. Look for a touchscreen model. Lower end units go for around $250-$300 (233-266mhz). They also have a zoom video port so you can use a Margi DVD card.
Im not talking about the little PDA's or other crap (sorry, I never liked those), I mean full size tablets that use standard PC components like the Fujitsu Stylistic 1200/2300/LT as well as newer models. They are cheap and always available on Ebay. They are basicly laptops, only flat which may make it easier to mount in our car without tearing anything up. Depends on how much room you got.
You may come accross some "kiosk" or medical PC's also. They usually look like Tablet PC's, but come in a more rugged case, ie: heavy steel. They go for less sometimes because of how they're listed. Nobody knows what a "Labtroix Data 5x2" (yeah, I made that up). Searching descriptions is how I usually come accross these. I also have some nice units with 10.4" touchscreens for sale in Trade forum for $250 if your interested in these. Look for King Embeded PC in the title.
These things never caught on. With careful planning they can be used in your car. Im talking about the Ergo Audrey, Compaq IA-1 (not the IA-2), and various others. Search for "internet appliance" on Ebay. They all use STN screns and willnot display video well. But are great for MP3's and GPS. Some hacking may be envolved. Just search around google. Also heres a good forum: http://www.linux-hacker.net/cgi-bin/.../UltraBoard.pl.
I wont go over using Epia's or standard ATX PC's with inverters. Thats what the search button is for. Just had some free time while my game server was down, hope I maybe helped at least one person ..