I need something for my truck. I need a nav system. I need something that plays MP3s. I want to monitor some engine functions via OBDII, etc.

I've been watching some of the installs here and they look really time consuming and expensive. I don't have a month to work on my system and I don't want to spend $1200 on it either. I actually purchased a Samsung 10.4" touchscreen a while back, but I haven't done anything with it yet.

As an attempt to avoid a big installation effort and a lot of cost, I started looking at the aftermarket nav systems. Pioneer AVIC, etc. They work, but they seem to get dated really quick and they can't do a lot of what I want to do. But then again, they could be installed in a few hours and they have an amp and such already built in.

I wasn't sold on either of these approaches, so I kept looking.

Today I found a local retailer is selling HP touchscreen tablet computers (TX2510s) fairly cheap. $750. It seems to have most of everything I need to make my truck computer from - processor, soundcard, wifi card, 12" touch screen, hard drive, memory, enclosure, optical drive, etc. The only components that seem to be missing are a USB radio and a GPS receiver. Plus it will run on 12VDC right out of the box.

http://www.tigerdirect.ca/applicatio...485&CatId=1900

Has anyone built a vehicle computer around one of these ? How good are the screens in bright light ?

I've been brainstorming setting it up one of three different ways:

1) Separate the screen from the main unit. Mount it permanently in the dash. Mount the rest of it in the glove compartment or under the center seat. Make it so it can be pulled out to use the keyboard ? I foresee the processor unit having 4 connections to it: power, display, USB and sound.

The display on the TX2510 swivels from the main unit. I can't imagine there are many wires running between the processing unit and the processor part. It should be pretty easy to separate.

2) Mount the whole unit in the dash upright in its tablet orientation. The display on the TX2510 will actually fold and twist so that it covers the keyboard. I was thinking of mounting it just like that in the dash. I was actually thinking of making a slot that it could slide into from the top and then just sit there ready to use. And it could also be easily removed for maintenance or to use for other purposes and for theft deterrence

I'd have to work out a way to connect the USB/power, etc to the unit as it is slide into the slot, but other than that, it would be pretty easy to install.

I could use a wireless keyboard and mouse to control the computer if I wanted to use it in the truck. I would lose access to the optical drive unless I used a USB device and mounted it elsewhere. It would be possible to slide the unit up to get access, but it would be cumbersome.

3) Mount the whole until on kind of a drawer slide so that it could disappear into the dash when not being used. It would also sit on the drawer slide with the keyboard out or the display could be swiveled so that it disappeared into the dash leaving the display out for use.

I think this option is the least neat as it won't have the "built in" look that the others will have.

What do you guys think of where I am going with all this ?