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Thread: I have a bunch of questions...

  1. #1
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    I have a bunch of questions...

    Alright, I have a 1992 Acura Legend.

    I am good with my hands but I have no experience with...
    • computer building
    • audio/video installations
    • electrical systems


    So I am looking for the easiest, most cost/time effective way to have a carputer.


    Questions
    1. I have seen people on this site purchase laptops with cracked screens and then hook up the laptop to a lilliput 7 inch screen for example. I have also seen people on this site build their own computers with boxes, etc. Are these people doing this b/c built PC's are better or do they just like the challenge of it?

    2. All that I am wanting a carputer for is to be able to use my .mp3's, movies, instant messengers, Office applications, and net browsing. Would it be ok for me to go with a laptop with a broken screen or should I opt for making my own carputer? Is making a computer all that hard? I guess I would be willing to if it will be cheaper, have more advantages than using a laptop, and if I will be given the proper guidance on here. Any good sites for learning how to build computers/carputers?

    3. I have seen these touchscreen LCD monitors, are there Touchscreen editions of Windows XP? If so, is it fully functional? Will my hand/finger(s) basically "be the mouse"?

    4. What program is this picture below? I love how it has the Honda Symbol on it. I would love to have an Acura Symbol on mine. Will I be able to? Does the "apps" button take you to your Programs on your PC? What takes you to the desktop?



    5. I've seen this "USB GPS" a lot. How exactly does this work? Is a GPS Subscriptions required for this?

    6. The dimensions of my cars headunit are 4" x 7" x 6 15/16 (H X W X D) and the DIN is surrounded by wood. I've seen fiberglass/bonda fabricating done but this cannot be done with my wood console. I feel like the screen of a Lilliput will fit my DIN space but I think that the frame of the Lilliput will exceed the 4 height & 7 inch width of my DIN. What are the dimensions of the Lilliput screen? What are the dimensions of the Lilliput screen w/frame?

    7. Is there good voice activated software that you recommend? I would love to be able to talk to type an email or something while traveling.

    8. If I do get a laptop, I have though of mounting it vertically in my arm rest/console. Is there any danger or consequence in mounting it this way and having it be vertical for years to come?

    9. As opposed to the temperature of my carpet floor at my house, I know that the temperature of the interior of my moving/heating up car is greater. Whether I mount the PC in my console, in my trunk, or elsewhere, will somehow keeping the PC cold be necessary? If so, what are some techniques for cooling? Is it only necessary for a "built pc" or would a laptop require cooling as well?

    10. Are these DIN sized PCs good for what I stated I wanted out of my PC above?

    http://www.cartft.com/shop/catalog/gl/3

    What are the limitations of these DIN sized PC's?

    11. I see these 3 different categories of screens... http://www.cartft.com/shop/catalog/gl/1

    What is VGA? What is 2x PAL/NTSC Input?

    I am basically just wanting a touchscreen with good colors that will work well for years to come for me.

    Is it better to have a screen that has a built in speaker?

    12. Can your carputer IP address be traced when you are in your car?

    13. I'm not actually sure yet but I don't think I will have a keyboard/mouse in the car. Is this ok since I'll have a Touchscreen? Or is there a program similar to Pocket PC's that you can type with your finger on the screen with? I really hope that I will depend on Voice Activated software.

    14. What is the best touchscreen out there? Are there fold out touchscreens? If so, what kind?(link?) I see myself going the flush mounted way and not the fold out type. But if I do opt for the fold out LCD monitor, I really don't care to have the fold out monitor also have a DVD/CD player integrated, since the carputer has one.

    15. When I get my carputer, I plan on connecting to the internet using a Bluetooth phone. Is the future of connecting Wireless cell phones to computers Bluetooth? Or is there some new technology that is coming out? I've heard of "EDGE" on howardforums.com. If EDGE or other is/will be the new technology, what kind of feature should I make sure my laptop or built carputer has to get the EDGE? Know what I mean? I know that with bluetooth, I'll have to get some sort of bluetooth internal modem for it to be able to connect with my phone...

    16. What all will be required to hook up my carputer? Say that I bought a broken laptop & a Lilliput screen that will come with the included Lilliput wiring. What else would I need?

    I have seen "power sources", is this necessary? I'm really clueless here.

    Thank you for any help.

    Matt Whelan

  2. #2
    FLAC samc's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Location
    Brooklyn, NY
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    Got a few of them don't you well I'll try to answer them as well as I can.

    First off a blind monkey can make a carputer, the problem is trying to keep it running .

    1. Laptop setups are the easiest way to go because you can get a docking station and be done with it. But laptops have cheap sound quality and no room for expansion. I would not recommend this. Building from scratch is better and it's not really hard to do so we don't do it for the challange. Like I said a blind monkey can do it.

    2. I already answered this. Ok let me see for carputer most things you need are: motherboard, memory, HD, dvd drive, powersupply and screen. Most of the things I mentioned are standard. Meaning people usually by the same things, Epia, slim dvd, ..etc.
    You want to learn more just ask here.

    3. Yes your finger will actually be the mouse. Touchscreens are really like those drawing pads you see some graphics people using. It's a clear glass panel over the actual lcd screen. It's not windows xp specific, it's just a pointing device like your mouse.

    4. The program below is called MediaCar made by a member of this website. And yeah there is an acura version of it. Basically its just an interface for the basic things you'd use in a carputer. You know other then going to start..programs..(program) everyime. You'll worry about this when you build the actual carputer. I think Coyote made MediaCar.

    5. GPS receivers basically lock on to the 12 satellites in orbit and pinpoint your location accordingly. I really don't know much about this but basically you have your receiver it locks onto a good signal and your ready to go with your gps program. It's free, enjoy.

    6. Are you saying you only have 2 din spaces? I don't know what the lilliput dimensions are but do a google search. Most people will just cut out the trim on your dash to make it fit, no problem.

    7. Voice activated software is not possible yet. Atleast not really.

    8. Vertical is fine.

    9. You do have to worry about heat. Generally the trunk is the coolest area. If you put a few good fans to circulate airflow that's usually enough. That's what we do when we build our own custom carputers. I put my setup into my glovebox with enough fans to keep it running stable. Yes laptops require cooling as well.

    10. I'm not even going to get into this din sized pcs. Usually they are unpowered, slow cheepie boxes. But that's just my opinion.

    11. VGA= video graphics array. I have no idea what 2x pal/ntsc is but PAL and NTSC are the video standards. NTSC is international while we use PAL here in the uS or vice versa.

    Basically you WANT a xga (vga+) screen such as the xenarc or lilliput. Don't
    even think about getting some lazy tft-lcd rca/svideo screen.

    12. If you have wireless internet in your car, yes. But I wouldn't worry too much about that. Like that saying, "Relax, your not important enough to kill."

    13. I actually have a usb mouse and keyboard in my trunk and I never take it out. After a little practice you can do everything with a touchscreen and your finger.

    14. Lilliput, xenarc screens come with a touchscreen already installed. Go for the flush mounted dash, it's a very easy way to do it with some fiberglass and bondo.

    15. I don't know anything about bluetooth, edge...etc. But I'm sure someone else can clue you in.

    16 . If you go that route then your done. Besides a few wires and extension cables (usb, vga, serial..etc).

    17. You probably mean power sources such as a dc-dc power supply. That's only necessary if you build your own box. Such as your home computer has a power supply you plug into the wall correct? what that does is convert the 110 volts AC current to 12v DC current that your computer can use properly. In the car your car battery/altnernator puts out anywhere from 10-15 volts typically 13.4 volts. Your carputer will want 12volts so a dc-dc handles this problem. But you seem to be putting a laptop with a broken screen so don't worry about this.
    Mine needs to be updated.

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Wilkes Barre, Pa
    Posts
    233
    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Whelan
    Alright, I have a 1992 Acura Legend.

    I am good with my hands but I have no experience with...
    • computer building
    • audio/video installations
    • electrical systems


    So I am looking for the easiest, most cost/time effective way to have a carputer.


    Questions
    1. I have seen people on this site purchase laptops with cracked screens and then hook up the laptop to a lilliput 7 inch screen for example. I have also seen people on this site build their own computers with boxes, etc. Are these people doing this b/c built PC's are better or do they just like the challenge of it?

    2. All that I am wanting a carputer for is to be able to use my .mp3's, movies, instant messengers, Office applications, and net browsing. Would it be ok for me to go with a laptop with a broken screen or should I opt for making my own carputer? Is making a computer all that hard? I guess I would be willing to if it will be cheaper, have more advantages than using a laptop, and if I will be given the proper guidance on here. Any good sites for learning how to build computers/carputers?

    3. I have seen these touchscreen LCD monitors, are there Touchscreen editions of Windows XP? If so, is it fully functional? Will my hand/finger(s) basically "be the mouse"?

    4. What program is this picture below? I love how it has the Honda Symbol on it. I would love to have an Acura Symbol on mine. Will I be able to? Does the "apps" button take you to your Programs on your PC? What takes you to the desktop?



    5. I've seen this "USB GPS" a lot. How exactly does this work? Is a GPS Subscriptions required for this?

    6. The dimensions of my cars headunit are 4" x 7" x 6 15/16 (H X W X D) and the DIN is surrounded by wood. I've seen fiberglass/bonda fabricating done but this cannot be done with my wood console. I feel like the screen of a Lilliput will fit my DIN space but I think that the frame of the Lilliput will exceed the 4 height & 7 inch width of my DIN. What are the dimensions of the Lilliput screen? What are the dimensions of the Lilliput screen w/frame?

    7. Is there good voice activated software that you recommend? I would love to be able to talk to type an email or something while traveling.

    8. If I do get a laptop, I have though of mounting it vertically in my arm rest/console. Is there any danger or consequence in mounting it this way and having it be vertical for years to come?

    9. As opposed to the temperature of my carpet floor at my house, I know that the temperature of the interior of my moving/heating up car is greater. Whether I mount the PC in my console, in my trunk, or elsewhere, will somehow keeping the PC cold be necessary? If so, what are some techniques for cooling? Is it only necessary for a "built pc" or would a laptop require cooling as well?

    10. Are these DIN sized PCs good for what I stated I wanted out of my PC above?

    http://www.cartft.com/shop/catalog/gl/3

    What are the limitations of these DIN sized PC's?

    11. I see these 3 different categories of screens... http://www.cartft.com/shop/catalog/gl/1

    What is VGA? What is 2x PAL/NTSC Input?

    I am basically just wanting a touchscreen with good colors that will work well for years to come for me.

    Is it better to have a screen that has a built in speaker?

    12. Can your carputer IP address be traced when you are in your car?

    13. I'm not actually sure yet but I don't think I will have a keyboard/mouse in the car. Is this ok since I'll have a Touchscreen? Or is there a program similar to Pocket PC's that you can type with your finger on the screen with? I really hope that I will depend on Voice Activated software.

    14. What is the best touchscreen out there? Are there fold out touchscreens? If so, what kind?(link?) I see myself going the flush mounted way and not the fold out type. But if I do opt for the fold out LCD monitor, I really don't care to have the fold out monitor also have a DVD/CD player integrated, since the carputer has one.

    15. When I get my carputer, I plan on connecting to the internet using a Bluetooth phone. Is the future of connecting Wireless cell phones to computers Bluetooth? Or is there some new technology that is coming out? I've heard of "EDGE" on howardforums.com. If EDGE or other is/will be the new technology, what kind of feature should I make sure my laptop or built carputer has to get the EDGE? Know what I mean? I know that with bluetooth, I'll have to get some sort of bluetooth internal modem for it to be able to connect with my phone...

    16. What all will be required to hook up my carputer? Say that I bought a broken laptop & a Lilliput screen that will come with the included Lilliput wiring. What else would I need?

    I have seen "power sources", is this necessary? I'm really clueless here.

    Thank you for any help.

    Matt Whelan
    1) Laptops work fine and are easier then building a PC to work in the car.. The reasons people "build" instead of use a laptop are too many to list. It just comes down to personal preferance.

    2) Again a laptop (broken screen and all) will work. It's just a matter of how custom you want to get. If you are looking for something you can get up an working in one day then get an old laptop. If you want something to do as a "hoddy" then build it yourself.

    As for a good site. Check out www.amdforums.com there are a ton of people that are more then willing to help understanding building a PC. But I suggest doing a bunch of reading before asking.

    3) Yes TS screens work the same as clicking a mouse.

    4) It's MediaCar Check out this forum for more info. http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/mediacar/ Also MediaCar is skinable so you can add any graphic you want to it.

    5) GPS is free. It's a simple signal send down by a bunch of sats. The GPS unit itself just triangulates itself with the signals.

    6) I'm not sure. You best beat for this is the search button or the web sites. I'm sure they list the specs.

    7) Again I suggest using search feature to find this.. I've seen tons of threads about vioce software.

    8) Check with the laptop manuf. but I doubt it. I know people here have mounthed normal HDs that way for years with no problems.

    9) Yes and no. Good airflow for a PC is ALWAYS a good thing but most will tell you that their laptops work fine with little ventilation. But I suggest putting it under a seat rather then your armrest.

    10) You aren't going to find anything out of the box to work in your car. If size is a problem for you I suggest searching for EPIA boards.. They are 7inchs X 7inches (give or take)..

    11) For a CarPC you want a VGA (basically what you home monitor is). Normal screens are more like your TV.

    12) Not sure what you mean. If you are connected to the internet via a wireless connection all traces will still lead back to your account. Just cause you are moving doesn't mean you aren't using your account.

    13) Well a TS is great for normal clicking but I wouldn't want to write an email using it. If you plan to email and IM people I suggest getting a keyboard and hide it out of the way till you need it. No need for a mouse.

    14) There is no best. Truth be told they all suck but it's the only option we have right now so we life with it. I'm not sure if there is a foldout TS or not. I know one is in the makings but I don't think it's going to be ready till the end of the year.

    15) Yes you can connect you bluetooth cell phone to your CarPC.

    16) With a laptop you only really need a way to power it and the screen. You can either use an inverter or most laptops have a 12v plug that goes into your lighter.

    If you plan to build a PC you will need a lot more. and the big thing is a DC to DC powersupple (OPUS, PW-70a etc).

  4. #4
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by samc
    Got a few of them don't you well I'll try to answer them as well as I can.

    First off a blind monkey can make a carputer, the problem is trying to keep it running .

    1. Laptop setups are the easiest way to go because you can get a docking station and be done with it. But laptops have cheap sound quality and no room for expansion. I would not recommend this. Building from scratch is better and it's not really hard to do so we don't do it for the challange. Like I said a blind monkey can do it.

    2. I already answered this. Ok let me see for carputer most things you need are: motherboard, memory, HD, dvd drive, powersupply and screen. Most of the things I mentioned are standard. Meaning people usually by the same things, Epia, slim dvd, ..etc.
    You want to learn more just ask here.

    3. Yes your finger will actually be the mouse. Touchscreens are really like those drawing pads you see some graphics people using. It's a clear glass panel over the actual lcd screen. It's not windows xp specific, it's just a pointing device like your mouse.

    4. The program below is called MediaCar made by a member of this website. And yeah there is an acura version of it. Basically its just an interface for the basic things you'd use in a carputer. You know other then going to start..programs..(program) everyime. You'll worry about this when you build the actual carputer. I think Coyote made MediaCar.

    5. GPS receivers basically lock on to the 12 satellites in orbit and pinpoint your location accordingly. I really don't know much about this but basically you have your receiver it locks onto a good signal and your ready to go with your gps program. It's free, enjoy.

    6. Are you saying you only have 2 din spaces? I don't know what the lilliput dimensions are but do a google search. Most people will just cut out the trim on your dash to make it fit, no problem.

    7. Voice activated software is not possible yet. Atleast not really.

    8. Vertical is fine.

    9. You do have to worry about heat. Generally the trunk is the coolest area. If you put a few good fans to circulate airflow that's usually enough. That's what we do when we build our own custom carputers. I put my setup into my glovebox with enough fans to keep it running stable. Yes laptops require cooling as well.

    10. I'm not even going to get into this din sized pcs. Usually they are unpowered, slow cheepie boxes. But that's just my opinion.

    11. VGA= video graphics array. I have no idea what 2x pal/ntsc is but PAL and NTSC are the video standards. NTSC is international while we use PAL here in the uS or vice versa.

    Basically you WANT a xga (vga+) screen such as the xenarc or lilliput. Don't
    even think about getting some lazy tft-lcd rca/svideo screen.

    12. If you have wireless internet in your car, yes. But I wouldn't worry too much about that. Like that saying, "Relax, your not important enough to kill."

    13. I actually have a usb mouse and keyboard in my trunk and I never take it out. After a little practice you can do everything with a touchscreen and your finger.

    14. Lilliput, xenarc screens come with a touchscreen already installed. Go for the flush mounted dash, it's a very easy way to do it with some fiberglass and bondo.

    15. I don't know anything about bluetooth, edge...etc. But I'm sure someone else can clue you in.

    16 . If you go that route then your done. Besides a few wires and extension cables (usb, vga, serial..etc).

    17. You probably mean power sources such as a dc-dc power supply. That's only necessary if you build your own box. Such as your home computer has a power supply you plug into the wall correct? what that does is convert the 110 volts AC current to 12v DC current that your computer can use properly. In the car your car battery/altnernator puts out anywhere from 10-15 volts typically 13.4 volts. Your carputer will want 12volts so a dc-dc handles this problem. But you seem to be putting a laptop with a broken screen so don't worry about this.
    2. What is Epia? What is Slim DVD?

    3. Sounds neat. Are their touchscreen keyboard programs similar to a Pocket PC's touchscreen keyboard that I can download?

    4. Cool. This will be neat.

    5. Ok. Will the "USB GPS" thing I buy come with Navigation Software or is there a really good Navigation software that I should opt for?

    I guess since this is done by satellite it is the most up to date version of GPS. Does it update itself automatically?

    6. I think my OEM Acura Headunit takes up two DIN spaces. What I was saying is that I think that I want to remove the OEM Headunit and then mount the LCD where it was. What I am worried about is how to mount the LCD b/c fiberglassing/fabrication cannot be done on my OEM Wood console around the stereo DIN space.

    Do you know if I can relocate the buttons/frame of the lilliput or whatever screen I get? B/c I feel the frame may be too big for my Headunit space...

    7. I know there are some voice activated programs out there, are they just not good?

    13. So tell me how you would type up a word document, email, etc. with your finger.

    Or say I needed to select multiple files(which requires holding down "Ctrl"), how would I do so without a keyboard?

  5. #5
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    22
    Quote Originally Posted by The Durango Kid
    1) Laptops work fine and are easier then building a PC to work in the car.. The reasons people "build" instead of use a laptop are too many to list. It just comes down to personal preferance.

    2) Again a laptop (broken screen and all) will work. It's just a matter of how custom you want to get. If you are looking for something you can get up an working in one day then get an old laptop. If you want something to do as a "hoddy" then build it yourself.

    As for a good site. Check out www.amdforums.com there are a ton of people that are more then willing to help understanding building a PC. But I suggest doing a bunch of reading before asking.

    3) Yes TS screens work the same as clicking a mouse.

    4) It's MediaCar Check out this forum for more info. http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=36 Also MediaCar is skinable so you can add any graphic you want to it.

    5) GPS is free. It's a simple signal send down by a bunch of sats. The GPS unit itself just triangulates itself with the signals.

    6) I'm not sure. You best beat for this is the search button or the web sites. I'm sure they list the specs.

    7) Again I suggest using search feature to find this.. I've seen tons of threads about vioce software.

    8) Check with the laptop manuf. but I doubt it. I know people here have mounthed normal HDs that way for years with no problems.

    9) Yes and no. Good airflow for a PC is ALWAYS a good thing but most will tell you that their laptops work fine with little ventilation. But I suggest putting it under a seat rather then your armrest.

    10) You aren't going to find anything out of the box to work in your car. If size is a problem for you I suggest searching for EPIA boards.. They are 7inchs X 7inches (give or take)..

    11) For a CarPC you want a VGA (basically what you home monitor is). Normal screens are more like your TV.

    12) Not sure what you mean. If you are connected to the internet via a wireless connection all traces will still lead back to your account. Just cause you are moving doesn't mean you aren't using your account.

    13) Well a TS is great for normal clicking but I wouldn't want to write an email using it. If you plan to email and IM people I suggest getting a keyboard and hide it out of the way till you need it. No need for a mouse.

    14) There is no best. Truth be told they all suck but it's the only option we have right now so we life with it. I'm not sure if there is a foldout TS or not. I know one is in the makings but I don't think it's going to be ready till the end of the year.

    15) Yes you can connect you bluetooth cell phone to your CarPC.

    16) With a laptop you only really need a way to power it and the screen. You can either use an inverter or most laptops have a 12v plug that goes into your lighter.

    If you plan to build a PC you will need a lot more. and the big thing is a DC to DC powersupple (OPUS, PW-70a etc).
    16. What is an inverter?

    I think that I want to build my carputer now, if it is cheaper.



    You said that I will need more. Here is what I have that I will need so far(many of which I don't even know what they are, which to buy, etc...).

    Needed parts for building PC
    Motherboard
    Memory
    HD
    DVD drive
    Power supply: DC to DC powersupply (OPUS, PW-70a etc).
    Screen: XGA or VGA+ screen
    Cables: usb, vga, serial
    Cooling: Two or so fans

    What else will I need?

    Can you link me to which parts I should buy for this? I really have no clue or what is good, what is bad, what I should get, etc...

    What do you think the total parts cost for this project will be?

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate no1knows's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Guildford, Surrey, UK
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    293
    Matt, whereabouts in the world are you? I feel you really need to go to some meets, find some people who are willing to show and explain their setups. Its pretty hard to answer so many questions in one go.

    I'd suggest looking at as many pictures and descriptions or completed installs and you'll find many of your answers. If theres anything you dont udnerstand try searching, although some of your questions may be too basic. No offence intended.

    As for yr latest questions, an invertor converts the electricity supply from yr car battery to AC similar to that found in your house so you can connect up AC electrical devices like normal PC power supplies. Your power options are: Invertor + ITPS (search for info) or DC-DC Opus or Sproggy (again search).

    Cost depends on which roads you plan to take. Build your own will generally be cheaper but if you do this i suggest you find a friend to help.

    HTH
    Mods: 18" Boss rims,Twin custom stainless exhaust,cold air induction.
    Sound: Pioneer 7400 HU & 6x9's,12" Vibe Sub,600W Kenwood amp.
    CarPC: MicroATX, Inverter, WinTV, Lilliput 7", USB GPS
    http://www.no1knows.com/galleries/

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