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Thread: Dell Axim X30 pocket PC as display & remote

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004

    Dell Axim X30 pocket PC as display & remote

    I have been lurking around and spent a ton of time planning my first carputer build. I have considered about 5-10 different ideas, but I have decided to take the KISS approach. Turns out, I pretty much have the makings of a good carputer already, I just need to intergrate everything.

    The computer itself is a fairly new Shuttle XPC which is running my home music collection. The specs are fairly run of the mill - nothing too exciting. I'm going with the Opus 150w Shuttle PSU.

    After brainstorming display and control options, I had the thought to use my Dell Axim X30 pocket PC. This thing is more powerful than my first 2 or 3 computers I owned growing up! Its got an Intel 312MHz, 64MB ROM, 64MB SDRAM, 802.11b, and Bluetooth. I have read some posts on the board about people using PDAs/pocket PCs as part of their system, but some of the threads are nearly a year old. I'd love to hear from people that are either using a PPC, tried and quick using a PPC, or are thinking about using a PPC and have some insights to share.

    I don't have my Shuttle or my Axim with me so I can't play around with them, but as I understand it, the current best options for this type of system are:

    1) Windows XP Remote Desktop (never used, plus this will require me to buy a new copy of XP, of course)
    2) Promixis Net Remote (never used)
    3) RemoteAmp (I use this currently on my home system and I am pleased with it, but it struggles with huge collections and won't give me the total control of the carputer that I want)
    4) VNC (seems like this would be inferior to #1)

    Again, I've done the research and know what some of my options are. But I would really like to hear from some folks that have spent some time exploring this route or actually using a PPC on the road.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    I tried my palm as a remote, I didn't really like it.
    My setup was like this:

    Palm Tungsten T with bluetooh would connect to the pc via a usb bluetooth dongle.
    I couldn't find any good aps to control the pc from the palm, so I used a web interface program for Winamp. WAWI was the winamp plugin I used.

    On the palm i had a web browser that would connect to the winamp page. I could load playlists, browse directories and adjust the volume somewhat.

    I thought it was great, but it turned out to be unusable when driving. The Screen is way to small, sometimes the connection to bluetooth would timeout, sometimes the web server was unresponsive. All in all it sucked while driving, I thought I could touch the screen while driving but it is way to hard to hold it, and then tap the correct area on a 3x4 screen, trust me.

    So now I got rid of the palm, still stuck with the bluetooth dongle (wasted $50).

    With the pocket PC you do have more choices for software, i came across some that looked real good, and I did wish I had a pocket pc when I was trying this out.

    I now use my Pioneer Head Unit IR remote to control the PC, works much nicer, I wish I hadn't wasted my time or money with the palm control idea. I'd say take the Pocket PC with you in the car and try to listen to and control 30Gigs of mp3 music on your headphones, you'll see how hard it is to do while driving!

    Just My 2cents, but go another route for a real car pc. I'm saving cash for a xenarc.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Tauranga, New Zealand

    Red face I use my iPAQ

    I'm currently developing a pair of applications, that use my iPAQ as a touch screen to control my car computer.

    So far fairly basic controls, play/pause, next, previous along with track name and artist display.
    The other features are around passing data from the GPS on the car computer to the iPAQ to monitor speed and pass to Oziexplorer for mapping.

    I plan to add playlist selection and maybe maintenance as well as redeveloping in .Net prior to release, it will be a low cost commercial application.

    The car computer is a 12V input Mini ITX running Windows XP.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    What can you not do on the PPC that you can do on the carputer? The biggest applications like music,media,navigation and wardriving can be done on that unit. The only thing the Axim is lacking imho is a bit of bling.

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