My first experience with toying with carputers was formed by my own thoughts of placing a computer in a car. This was about 7 years ago and I hit up the internet to see what others had been doing. Back then there were only a handful of installs on the internet, most memorable being the one that Chris Bergeron did over at dashwerks.
The only windows 'frontend' software out back then was something called Cobra.
Back then I couldn't afford to build a carputer system. I think I was running on my parents computer at the time, and had no means to build a system. I continued planning everything out for the near future whenever I would be able to build a system.
The biggest hurdle at the time was the screen situation. I had come across the Route66 project in a Linux magazine back in the day. Perhaps I'll scan the article and post it up here for everyone to see.
They used a character display, but it wasnt what I really wanted. VGA screens back in the day with $1000+.
My first install did have a screen, but it wasn't a touchscreen nor VGA. I thought it was a steal to get a dual video input non-VGA non-touchscreen (in-dash) for like $280 or something like that. I went through three or four of those screens (via warranty) because they just plain sucked back then. It was interesting going through the testing process with the supplying company, because I always noticed the screens looked different and have a higher model number. Each screen improved, and finally I got the one that I still use to this day, no problems.
I used an IRMan with a remote to control everything. My install was done over three years ago. I got a digital camera about 3 years ago and that's the first pictures I had of my system.
The carpc itself was a 400 MHz eMachine desktop run off an inverter. I still have and use the same inverter to this day.
Original system, click for larger pic:
Here's a pic showing the IRMan on my dash, non-touchscreen, and fabricated in-dash USB hub:
- Remote mounted power up button. Ran wires up front (cat5) and placed mini button. This allowed me to turn on machine without having to go to the back of the car.
- Media Engine. I think this was one of the first really nice frontends (probably came out around time of Media Car). ~4 years later and I think ME has been updated maybe once. LoL.
- Custom fabricated in-dash USB hub. For those times when a mouse or keyboard were needed. (didn't have a touchscreen back then)
- 500 Watt power inverter
- FM Modulator How else are you going to patch audio into a stock head unit?
I still have the car, and the system has undergone quite a few revisions since initial install. It's definately fun to look back at the old school installs and see just how far everything has come in the past 6 years.