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Thread: installing this weekend, any suggestions?

  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Nov 2006
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    installing this weekend, any suggestions?

    hi guys, new to the CarPC world. This weekend i'm setting up my first one.

    I would love to hear ideas on how i could improve it

    This is my setup...

    Compaq Armada m700 1 Ghz
    cigarette lighter power adapter
    IR receiver
    Gravis gamepad
    7" Widescreen Farenheit

    Now the idea....I'm going to mount the laptop on the roof of my suburban upside-down so it'll look like a 15" flip down monitor, the 7" screen is going in the dash where the factory radio was and will connect via RCA output on the laptop. The idea being whenever i'm in motion, the big screen will be closed and the little one will still display everything.



    The power plug for the laptop will be wired directly to the ignition accessory wire, so it will have power as soon as the key is on. I have a battery in the unit as well so when you shut the truck off, it will continue on battery power and is set to standby in 10 minutes when on battery, the unit also wakes up as soon as it receives power from the adapter.

    i'm using a program called irotate to flip the screen so it's right side up.

    The IR Receiver will be mounted somewhere in the dash and i will use winlirc to use my clarion remote for my deck.

    the gamepad will be hacked up and wires extended for control buttons which i would like to mount in my captain chair armrests. i have a program called joypad which allows a game controller to act as a mouse as well as assign the extra buttons to other functions.

    I've tried a few different frontends, i'm partial on Mediacar and Mediaengine, they seem to have the layout i like.

    Problems:

    the battery in standby mode won't last more than a day, i wish there was a way to tell the laptop to standby in 10 minutes when ignition is turned off but still draw power from the truck.

    i'm not sure how solid i can mount the laptop to the roof without driving screws through the top of my truck.

    will the screen on the laptop be easy to see in daylight?

    what can i use for typing other than an on screen keyboard?

    and last...what would be the best way to mount buttons in my armrests?

    i hope i can count on you experts to guide me on this.

    in the pic below you can see the ugly factory radio top right of the gauges where the 7" widescreen will fit
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  2. #2
    Newbie terrygold's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    43
    I found a wireless keyboard that I'm very happy with at http://www.fentek-ind.com/kbsrftsusb.htm It has a mouse built in that is easy to use, and I just put it under the passenger seat when I'm driving. I've had it over a month now and haven't had to change the batteries. You'll need a USB port for it. I think I had it about week after ordering it. Good luck with the install!
    FJ Cruiser Car Computer Project
    Infill T3 installed
    Kyocera K1 and Verizon EVDO wireless internet
    Sometimes On Webcam

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    25
    nice. i <3 suburbans.

    my 85 suburban has rails that run across the car's roof under the headliner, i think about 18" apart at a guess. there's plenty of strength in them - believe it or not my single 10" sub in a sealed box is hanging from the roof (!!!) and it doesn't move a mil. i would suggest taking your headliner down carefully (just the front part) and checking out where they are. if you're careful you can weld to them to get a bracket where you need it, but watch the heat rising and making your exterior paint on the roof blister!

    whether it'll be viewable in daylight, i have no idea. i expect it being up so high, it probably will be shaded no matter where the sun is, i expect you to have problems if someone's following you at night though, but that mightn't be an issue either.

    with regards the power, i honestly don't really get what you are wanting to do. i think what you're saying is you want it to still be powered from the truck, but initiate a shutdown when the truck is shut down? if so, check out this link:

    Schematics/Pin Outs/Diagrams

    you probably don't need all of it, just the diodes, the relay, and the serial port connection. hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by fwaggle View Post
    nice. i <3 suburbans.

    you probably don't need all of it, just the diodes, the relay, and the serial port connection. hope that helps.
    great suggestions, i only have 1 serial connection and thats for vmy ir controller, can i hook through parralel port?

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Central PA
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    Here's a suggestion, run wires for stuff you don't even intend to use. Ex. a serial line or two, a bunch of USB lines, and.. well you get the idea. Nothing more frustrating than having to run more cables because you didn't run them right hte first time . Just like I get to do when I had ODBII.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2006
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    i got looking at my ceiling in my truck and thought a 15 inch screen might be distracting while driving, so i cut the crap out of my dash instead, jammed the notebook in the dash, repeated that around 5 times until i had everything working and hooked up right.

    I soldered wires to the button that shuts screen off when closed, power switch and mouse pointer device to allow a power switch and using momentary buttons to control the mouse.

    It works well with the battery in and set to standby on battery power in 10 minutes, that way if i get gas or go in the store for a minute, i dont have to start it up again.

    I still haven't figured out how to set it up to shut down after delay without using an internal battery.

    One mishap was the adapter that plugs in the headphone jack bent the plug right off the laptop, so i had to solder a new one on.

    Last night, I drove around and found all the houses with wireless internet listening to mp3's, it ran very smooth and sounded good too.

    I also had to relocate my CD player into my ashtray as i put the screen where it was.

    I will have pics up tomorrow to show my progress.

  7. #7
    Maximum Bitrate Skipjacks's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
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    I have a suggestion for you. Do NOT make plans for any time on the day you do your install. When you're planning it everything seems nice and orderly and shouldn't take more than a few hours.

    When you actually get started you'll find is MUCH slower than you planned. It'll turn into a 10-12 hour event and you'll still have stuff to finish up the next day.

    Oh and when you're done...you're not done. You'll spend the next 6 months tweaking things and perfecting it.

    It's well worth it once you get everything worked great. But it's not a quick process.

    Be patient once you get started. If you're not patient...don't start this project. It WILL control your life for a little while. HAHAHA

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