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Thread: Setup Questions *Long*

  1. #1
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    Dec 2000
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    Post Setup Questions *Long*

    I'm once again trying to install a mp3 system for my car, and I would like some advice.

    I'm wanting to do a system that is capable of playing MP3s, DVDs, DivX, TV Tuner, GPS, and maybe even possible inputs to throw a playstation in there for road trips. I have a few questions about all of this:


    1) As far as display goes, I've heard that GPS/Movies look pretty poor on a lot of LCD screens. I want somthing that I can read the GPS on easily, and can also enjoy a movie on. What is a good size? Does it need a VGA/SVGA connection? Any reccomendations on where to get one at a good price?

    2) What is a good video card to output to this LCD?

    3) What is a good speed computer to be able to handle all this without any problems? I'll be using Cobra 4.

    4) Where can I find a good GPS Unit for cheap? I've heard stories of GPS units that have trouble locking on a lot, and I don't want one of these. Also, what is good software to use with it that uses voice recognition? I'm assuming I then need to install a microphone too?

    5) What is everyone's reccomendation on how to control this system? I was thinking IRMAN + remote + mini wireless keyboard. Sound good?

    6) My input to my sound system will be through an AUX IN in my head unit, will there be any problem with spliiting the stereo signal using this route?

    7) If I have a DVD-ROM Drive for playing DVDs installed in the computer, is it going to skip during driving?

    8) How do I get a TV tuner for my LCD display, and how good will the reception be?

    9) I'm still having the big debate on what to use to power the thing. I'm leaning towards inverter, just because I had so much trouble trying to get the DC-DC power supply isntalled on my first attempt at a system (that is basically why I scrapped the project). I'm tempted to get the inverter because of its simplicity and easy portability, but I've heard a lot of stories about sound quality problems with it. I'm tempted to get the DC-DC power supply because its easier on the car, and because of the MP3 shutdown controller I've seen advertised. I'm not big on how it "looks" hooked up to my car, so please no comments on that. Any objective opinions? Do you think I could find a car shop that would install the DC-DC Power Supply in my car for a small fee?

    That's it for now, thanks!

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate
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    NYC
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    Post

    You put is perfectly sound of silence, but now the hard part is getting someone to answer those questions. I have the same questions and would love to know the answers. What kind of car do you have? I'm sure you would need a screen bigger than 8" in order for everything to look good. I'm leaning toward a 10.4" touchscreen, but i don't know where i'm going to put it.

  3. #3
    I've got no answer! Question's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
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    Austin, TX
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    Many of the answers to your questions are already on this board...use the search function in the top right corner to find them.
    1999 Plymouth Voyager (That's right, big-pimpin' in a minivan.)
    PC built into console
    worklog with pics: http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/worklogs/46359-1999-plymouth-voyager-computer-in-console-between-seats.html

    Some of my music: http://www.myspace.com/markquestion

  4. #4
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    Toronto, Canada
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    Post

    1) As far as display goes, I've heard that GPS/Movies look pretty poor on a lot of LCD screens. I want somthing that I can read the GPS on easily, and can also enjoy a movie on. What is a good size? Does it need a VGA/SVGA connection? Any reccomendations on where to get one at a good price?
    You need to start by setting a budget, especially when it comes to the LCD. This will help to decide if you should go with an NTSC or a VGA screen. NTSC is cheaper, but the quality will not be as good. This is not as much of an issue for DVD playback as many video cards or DVD decoders can output DVD video in NTSC format. The GPS is another story. Maps will be much more legible on a VGA screen. I use a 5" NTSC screen, and maps are a little tough to read, but you can overcome this by using a large font.

    2) What is a good video card to output to this LCD?
    If you go with an NTSC screen then any decent video card with TV out will do (lots of people use the All in Wonder). If you go with a VGA screen, then you will need a controller.

    3) What is a good speed computer to be able to handle all this without any problems? I'll be using Cobra 4.
    Again, depends on budget. I'm running Cobra3 on a P200MMX with 128MB RAM, and it works fine for me (I don't use DVD though). Since you are looking to do DVD, you'll want more horepower. P3s are comming down in price, and that would give you enough performance for everything you are looking to do.
    ) Where can I find a good GPS Unit for cheap? I've heard stories of GPS units that have trouble locking on a lot, and I don't want one of these. Also, what is good software to use with it that uses voice recognition? I'm assuming I then need to install a microphone too?
    For the GPS unit, I'm using a Delorme Tripmate and I've been happy with it so far. I does take awhile to initally get a lock (approx. 2 mins) but after that it works well. You can buy a refurbished Tripmate direct from Delorme for $50 (link). This does not include software, but this unit can easily be hacked to work with any GPS software (instructions on this page). For software I'm using MS Streets & Trips because it's the only one with street level Canadian maps. If you're looking for voice functions, look at Co-Pilot.
    8) How do I get a TV tuner for my LCD display, and how good will the reception be?
    The All in Wonder video card includes a TV tuner, plus there's lots of add-on TV tuners out there.
    9) I'm still having the big debate on what to use to power the thing.
    DC-DC is the way to go. I was initially using an inverter, and there was interferance in the sound. A noise filter and ground loop isolator helped, but no matter what there was still noise. I have since switched to a DC-DC supply and the noise is gone. This is one place you don't want to skimp! If you're using an AT motherboard, there's lots of low cost DC-DC supplies (I use the BPS-7004 plus there's also the Arise units. If you're using ATX, then look at the Keypower (but it's more expensive).

    Good luck!

    Mike.

  5. #5
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    Dec 2000
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    banking:

    I've got a 4-door '94 chevy blazer... So I've got room... But I'd rather not have a large screen in my car. Just something that is good enough.

    ----------

    fcc:

    I've been around the board for almost a year now... I've done my fair share of searching. A lot of questions are answered, but stuff like this you need specific answers to specific questions.


    ----------

    mtmsol:

    I'm looking to probably go with a VGA display, as the GPS is actually one of the more important aspects of this setup. Any reccomendations on a good 6" + VGA screen? Also, where can I find a "controller" for the screen, and how much do they generally run?

    The problem with the DC-DC is that I will be using a newer computer, and thus it will be an ATX... And the keypower power supply is just way too over priced. I've heard of other DC-DC power supplies, but haven't heard any prices... Any one else got some info on this?

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate
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    Check out EarthLCD, that will give you an idea of the cost of VGA LCDs and controllers. Be warned - they're not cheap!
    As for the PSU, check out this post - some people are organizing a group buy of the keypower supplies. They're still $164, but that's not too much more than a good AC power supply + inverter, and the benefits outweigh the cost.

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