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Thread: Pocket PC-based carputer idea.

  1. #1
    Maximum Bitrate Yuriy's Avatar
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    Exclamation Pocket PC-based carputer idea.

    To cut the long story short, I have a Toshiba e740 Pocket PC (can be bought for $115 on eBay). It's a full-featured little computer with a 400MHz processor, 64 MB of RAM, wi-fi, microphone, touchscreen, CF and SD slots. Sounds nice, but isn't it a little too small?
    Well, here's where the expansion pack comes in. I just found this today:


    /\ this plugs into your Toshiba Pocket PC (this is compatible with quite a few models). The device lets you connect a VGA monitor to your PDA. It also enables your PDA to accept various USB devices with the proper driver. You can use a USB hub to connect things like external hard drives, CD-R/RW drives, DVD drives, keyboards, mice, etc, etc. Most of those things have Windows CE drivers written for them. Anyways, I had this crazy idea of using the Pocket PC for a carputer, or to be precise - as a second computer in my car to be used fot GPS navigation and various miscelaneous things. There are programs out there that will make your Pocket PC work in resolutions up to 1024x768 so this sounds like a good deal to me.

    Anyone else out there thinks that this could be done?
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  2. #2
    Newbie thedude_five's Avatar
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    that's pretty sweet. Do you know if iPaq's have those?

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate
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    Do you have a link to the expansion packs?

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    Constant Bitrate
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    I had an e740 an it was a great, buggy little pocket pc... Why would you want to run your PPC at 1024x768? Are you talking about the VGA output from the expansion pack? For a while I used my PocketPC as an MP3 player in my car and it was horrible...bad audio quality to my amps, hard to see, and I had wires running everywhere.
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    Jesus Freak antimatter's Avatar
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    I think he is talking about a more integrated scenerio. Like use the expansion pack connected to a lilliput or something.

    I think that this is the road less traveled becasue the lack of software that is out there for CE

    Good luck anyhow and post lots of pictures
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    Constant Bitrate snmnetwork's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good idea to me. Everything adds up! I wonder if you can get a lilli touchscreen working with it. Thats a cool little project.
    I used to play music, and watch videos from my IpaQ 3670[ARM Processor} all the time in the car. Never had any sound issues. Sounded great actually. Wonder how that toshiba sounds.?
    I'll be watching this thread!
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    Maximum Bitrate jzgt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antimatter
    I think he is talking about a more integrated scenerio. Like use the expansion pack connected to a lilliput or something.

    I think that this is the road less traveled becasue the lack of software that is out there for CE

    Good luck anyhow and post lots of pictures
    I think you shouldn't have problems finding software for just about anything you may need to do. If you can program, even just a little, you can overcome any issues related to software. That expansion pack is pretty cool! Nice find. I use my Pocket PC with a FM mod. and it works great in the company vehicle (read - no mods allowed )! The sound is what I expected through a modulator (pretty good). I wonder what (if any) USB audio devices have drivers for CE... hmmm They're nice little devices which could make for a easily removable and simple to integrate MP3 player in your car.

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  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate Yuriy's Avatar
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    Yes, I am thinking about using an external VGA screen for it (hence the 1024x786 resolution). The screen would connect via the expansion pack. The sound coming out of that little device is as good as from any other MP3 player, although you do have to use some tweaking before you can get it to where you want it. There are MP3 softwares for Pocket PC's that have equalizers. My favorite is WinamPAQ, a real nice copy of PC WinAmp, even supports the same skins.


    Now concerning the Lilliput touchscreen, you might have some trouble finding the drivers for a USB touchscreen that would work under Windows CE, unless there are already drivers in the device's ROM. Can anyone tell me if lilliputs are plug&play when it comes to touchscreen? I wouldn't think so since there should be some special software for calibration anyway.
    Here's the link to the expansion pack:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW

    There have to be similar devices for other famous brands, including iPAQ. I used to have an iPAQ and it was nice. Even if you are unable to find a VGA pack for your iPAQ you can always use the PCMCIA video card, which is a standalone video card. I don't know if Pocket PCs support two video cards at once though.
    The pros of using a Pocket PC for carputer is that they consume almost no power, they are very flexible (GPS, MP3, DVD, SMS and Internet, cell phone capability) and they take up little space so you can take it with you when you exit your car. I also happen to be a Pocket PC software developer, I can make some really cool animated interfaces for your Pocket PC. If you can imagine it - I can build it. Of course there are certain limitations to the use of PPCs graphical resources.
    Oh, and there are some very good (PSOne quality) games on the Pocket PCs too, so this could also be used as your gaming platform for your kids or even yourself

    My very first Pocket PC was an iPAQ 3635, and I used to connect a 4GB laptop hard drive to it via the CF>PCMCIA>IDE conversion. It worked really well. Now imagine you could connect a USB 2.0 drive (actually you can connect several drives!) to it, wouldn't that be cool?

    And one more thing - the boot time of a Pocket PC is ridiculously short
    00 Saturn SL2, boosted @ 8 psi - CarDomain
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  9. #9
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    the lilliput is not plug and play. it comes with a drivers cd.

    I thought about this idea about 4-5 yrs ago when i had the casio casiopeia. I now have a toshiba e330that I love except that it uses sd (not sdio) and no cf or wifi, so it wouldn't be upgradable.

    What's going to be interesting is all of the VGA PDAs coming out this upcoming year.
    Check out pocketpcthoughts.com for more info.

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate Don 944 LA's Avatar
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    I thought about something like that before with my IPAQ 3970, but I didn't have allot of memory in it, but now, I will have 1.5 GB of memory..

    DVD to PPC for DVD movies ( 128mb ea. )
    Divx
    MP3
    plus games etc...

    definately doable...
    I even use my PPC as an interface to music and movies on PC's on my home LAN.. works great over 802.11b... would work better 802.11g

    So, I think it's a great ( and cheaper ) route...
    Keep us informed, as I am interested in your progress

    Don

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