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Thread: a warning to all prospective carputer installers!

  1. #1
    FLAC mbkowns's Avatar
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    This guy is such a newb haha.... U used a laptop and *****ed.. That is really a have arss way to go. Enjoy your sony xplod and thank you for giving us more bandwidth on mp3car.com
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    a warning to all prospective carputer installers!

    Hi guys, I haven’t posted on here for about a year now, I thought after my carputer installation that I would share with you my overall experience...

    In a nutshell, it was a total waste of time, and I would really push anyone away from doing it, here's why!

    im quite technical myself, and did manage a successful install which I thought worked great, I didn’t have any major issues that I wasn’t able to resolve pretty quickly (apart from getting the laptop to auto power on with the ignition, that was a nightmare solved by using wake on LAN in the end)

    my friend installed his first, and I was so impressed at the mere thought of having a computer in the car that I went out and spent £1000 on a laptop, a lilliput motorized screen with built in TV tuner etc, as well as software for gps. And of course all the cables and bits I would need to go with it.

    installing it and getting it all working correctly; by which I mean using a relay so the head unit would not totally drain the battery when the ignition was turned off, hardwiring the power from the cig lighter for the laptop etc took a good couple of weeks, and for a time it was great...but then I stepped back

    firstly, the screen was crap, when it was sunny you couldn’t see it, a lot of the time it wouldn’t register the touch press’s (that could have been road runner's fault though) the gps used (destinator 3) is totally abysmal and was about 2 years out of date (although map monkey was very nice) the software would crash which would mean having to park up, get out of the car and walk to the boot to power cycle and then sit there for another 2 minutes while it all rebooted again, only to find that sometimes the gps signal would be lost and it wouldn’t register again

    ive just finished ripping it all out today, and have replaced it with a nice sony all in one unit that supports Bluetooth A2DP(stream music from phone to unit), Bluetooth calls, as well as standard CD playing abilities (including mp3 etc) for my GPS I use my nokia 6110 which has built in GPS or my N73 with external gps for longer journeys, everything just works nicely! I would strongly recommend if you are close to buying all the bits you need to build your own, DONT, I know my words will fall on deaf ears because if you want to do it your going to do it no matter who says what, I know that I certainly wouldn’t have listened to someone like me saying this when I was considering building mine...

    Does anyone else feel this way? Or have things changed a lot in the last year? I suspect not but you never know!!!!

  3. #3
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    Sorry but that is pathetic.

    If you are the sort of guy that is put off by a few teething issues then this hobby is not for you.

    And yes it is a hobby, it is not a 'buy a package slot it in and sit back and let it do it's job'.

  4. #4
    FLAC
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    Sounds like the install was something short of optimal to me...

  5. #5
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Sounds like a craptastic install.

    A few things right away.

    a) Cig lighter + powering computer = not a good idea even for a rabid monkey
    b) HU draining your battery immediately sends up red flags on the above craptastic install. Nobody has these issues when installed correctly.
    c) motorized screens are crap to begin with, and to me sends up more red flags that you took the "easy" way out and wanted no modification to the dash. Any reading at all on these forums or DC will be all you need to steer clear of them.
    d) £1000 on a laptop is absolutely stupid. Not even going to butter that up. Stupid. Rediculous. Idiotic. Moronic. Can I say stupid again? People can run an entire carPC system off of a Celeron 400a. You dont need a quad core in the car. A $150USD laptop with a broken screen and a pentium 4M is more than enough. And again, a laptop has obvious benefits and cons. Your WOL is a con of the laptop unless you open it to solder, but again the easy way out comes to mind.

    I can continue, but it is pointless. If you are happy with your non-upgradeable, non-featurefilled, over expensive, new HU, then woohoo, good for you. This is still a niche market, but with the recent M$ sync in ford cars (why the f did they choose ford?!) it is gaining popularity even if people dont know it. Just like your HU runs Windows CE.

    Things have changed in the past year too. Also on the screen issue, you could have taken £300 from that laptop and spent it on a translfective screen for instance. It is only ever getting better.

    oh well, your loss.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k1Toaster View Post


    Sounds like a craptastic install.

    A few things right away.

    a) Cig lighter + powering computer = not a good idea even for a rabid monkey
    b) HU draining your battery immediately sends up red flags on the above craptastic install. Nobody has these issues when installed correctly.
    c) motorized screens are crap to begin with, and to me sends up more red flags that you took the "easy" way out and wanted no modification to the dash. Any reading at all on these forums or DC will be all you need to steer clear of them.
    d) £1000 on a laptop is absolutely stupid. Not even going to butter that up. Stupid. Rediculous. Idiotic. Moronic. Can I say stupid again? People can run an entire carPC system off of a Celeron 400a. You dont need a quad core in the car. A $150USD laptop with a broken screen and a pentium 4M is more than enough. And again, a laptop has obvious benefits and cons. Your WOL is a con of the laptop unless you open it to solder, but again the easy way out comes to mind.

    I can continue, but it is pointless. If you are happy with your non-upgradeable, non-featurefilled, over expensive, new HU, then woohoo, good for you. This is still a niche market, but with the recent M$ sync in ford cars (why the f did they choose ford?!) it is gaining popularity even if people dont know it. Just like your HU runs Windows CE.

    Things have changed in the past year too. Also on the screen issue, you could have taken £300 from that laptop and spent it on a translfective screen for instance. It is only ever getting better.

    oh well, your loss.
    a: i figured this was the best solution for powering a low voltage laptop
    b: this was a problem with the headunit, not the way it was wired, the unit in standby mode was still `on` even though it was actually off, the manual even stated this...bad design
    c: having a pull out screen is worse still, doesnt exactly look stylish does it, fabricating it into the dash is of course the best option but the amount of time required to acheive this i believe is unreasonable, definately hard core this one
    d: if you care to read my post, i specify that the 1000 pounds was for all the pieces, not just the laptop, although in your haste to respond im sure you only just skim read

    as for your last point, the gps software is of course fully upgradable, the only thing that isnt is the headunit, but wait a second, mp3's / bluetooth and usb connections arent going to disappear all of a sudden are they? and when something significantly better comes out you can just buy a new one and it will work great!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enforcer View Post


    Sorry but that is pathetic.

    If you are the sort of guy that is put off by a few teething issues then this hobby is not for you.

    And yes it is a hobby, it is not a 'buy a package slot it in and sit back and let it do it's job'.
    the teething issues did not put me off, i mentioned i got it running fine, what was the final nail in the coffin was when i went down a pot hole and the gears inside the thing broke and it wouldnt retract... ;-)

  8. #8
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    Sorry it didn't work out for you but I've had a pc in my car since 98 (many upgrades since the first) and I am happy to report that everything works. I think where you fell short was in your research before you went out and bought some crap and tried to get it all to work in your car. I agree with you though that if you are the type of person who needs a complete package with an on button, i.e. a head unit, then a pc is not for you. However if you like a challenge and are capable a carpc is the way to go as many of us on here would agree.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron3262 View Post
    Sorry it didn't work out for you but I've had a pc in my car since 98 (many upgrades since the first) and I am happy to report that everything works. I think where you fell short was in your research before you went out and bought some crap and tried to get it all to work in your car. I agree with you though that if you are the type of person who needs a complete package with an on button, i.e. a head unit, then a pc is not for you. However if you like a challenge and are capable a carpc is the way to go as many of us on here woulg agree.
    it did work fine, but there are always little issues, i think you are all deluding yourselves if you have convinced yourselves that you never have any problems. i spent a great deal of time researching what to do and the best way to do it, i didnt want to spend 3000 pounds and 6 months on the whole thing, may as well get a better car at that stage

    im sure not everyone on here has the time and money to completly rebuild there dash, just my 2 cents!

  10. #10
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazza666 View Post
    a: i figured this was the best solution for powering a low voltage laptop
    b: this was a problem with the headunit, not the way it was wired, the unit in standby mode was still `on` even though it was actually off, the manual even stated this...bad design
    c: having a pull out screen is worse still, doesnt exactly look stylish does it, fabricating it into the dash is of course the best option but the amount of time required to acheive this i believe is unreasonable, definately hard core this one
    d: if you care to read my post, i specify that the 1000 pounds was for all the pieces, not just the laptop, although in your haste to respond im sure you only just skim read
    a) no. and if you had read the FAQ it is very clear and very precise about this.

    b) yes standby is still on. Like all electronics. Why do VCRs keep the time when "off"? Because they arent off. Unplug it physically from the wall then plug it back in, and voila 12:00 flashes because it actually had no power. Same with why TVs turn on with the press of a wireless remote when they are "off". All electronics are like this. The amount of draw however is very small. If it is draining your battery, then it is either wired wrong, or you have a cheap lead acid battery.

    c) I took my screen up to a fellow member GoHybrid, and we were able to go from it in a case, to it in the dash piece sanded, primed, painted and go out to a restaurant for dinner in all under 6 hours. He is a master though.

    d) the way it is worded it sounds like 1000GBP was for the laptop alone. Still I did my entire system for about $600USD (parts and wire) to $800USD (including the labour and money I gave to people who helped out). Works flawlessly.

    and the whole non-retracting thing is actually the major reason for not going the motorized route and again is found everywhere. Usually fails in a year. And your broke right on time.
    Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
    1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
    30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
    15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
    Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

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