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Thread: advice for laptop carputer, IBM?

  1. #1
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    Question advice for laptop carputer, IBM?

    I've been doing laptops as my carputer for some years, started with a little
    Sony Vaio R505 and that was ok except for lack of RAM (384Meg max)
    My next laptop was a compaq X1000 which had the power/RAM but it's plugin video card is a bit delicate and the docking system is horrible (way too thin of connector surface)

    I've gotten tired of buying video cards for these silly Compaqs and am pondering a new laptop for the car.

    I first thought of a newer Sony as the dock design seems good for them but then I remembered IBM also did some pretty good design and discovered the docks are ALOT cheaper for the old T series.

    So, after a little research into max RAM, it looks like the T series from T23 up into the T40s seems a good match for a carputer.
    Anyone have any good/bad experiences with the T23, T30, T40, T41, T42, T43.
    Looks like the same number sequence in the A, X, and R might also work.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    The Last Good Gremlin GizmoQ's Avatar
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    I've been running a T-30 for the last 4 years as my development machine. It finally gave out last month (fan error, $85 replacement). Seeing as it was in a dusty basement, running 24/7 for 4 years, dropped at least once a year without damage, loaded to the gills with everything RoadRunner since Guino started working on it, it ran quiet, fast and solid the whole time. Video is good, audio is adequate - had it hooked up to a LCD and a TV, but never bothered to pipe audio to a stereo. . Don't know how it'll handle cold, but it can take extreme heat well as long as you don't cover any of the intake/vent holes.

    The only thing bad I can say about it was the keyboard must be kept clean often - my keys jammed almost quarterly after the second or third year (I'm a messy eater, pretzel crumbs are the worst!)

    Good Luck
    HARDWARE: Fujitsu Stylistic ST5111w/WiFi and dock, internal Hitachi 500G HD, external 1TB HD, Sierra Wireless Aircard 550, DVD-RW, BoomzBox HD radio, XM Commander, Delorme GPS, Saitek X-52 Pro joystick, BluSoleil Bluetooth, TPMS, FB, Elm327

  3. #3
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    I've been researching more and I think an IBM will be perfect.
    The docks are dirt cheap, the 2878 dock can be had for $20 or so on Ebay and has
    4X USB, Audio I/O, Keyboard, Mouse, Floppy Connector, DVI, VGA, Parallel, Serial, Modem, Network
    Perfect for a carputer, esp audio in from XM or sirius.
    The dock fits anything from the 20 series up to the 40s.

    Now I just have to figure out which ibm laptops can do USB 2.0, anyone know?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywise View Post
    I've been doing laptops as my carputer for some years, started with a little
    Sony Vaio R505 and that was ok except for lack of RAM (384Meg max)
    My next laptop was a compaq X1000 which had the power/RAM but it's plugin video card is a bit delicate and the docking system is horrible (way too thin of connector surface)

    I've gotten tired of buying video cards for these silly Compaqs and am pondering a new laptop for the car.

    I first thought of a newer Sony as the dock design seems good for them but then I remembered IBM also did some pretty good design and discovered the docks are ALOT cheaper for the old T series.

    So, after a little research into max RAM, it looks like the T series from T23 up into the T40s seems a good match for a carputer.
    Anyone have any good/bad experiences with the T23, T30, T40, T41, T42, T43.
    Looks like the same number sequence in the A, X, and R might also work.

    Thanks in advance.
    hey i used for my frist computer the X23 IBM it was was great. i was running media engine had GPS navi a 80 usb drive and blue tooth also ran a mic for hands free phone. i was running my music and all my movies on it it was a great system never failed me. the only reason i did not go with the T was that the screen was to big for the glove box in the 350z would not fit the T & X are great laptops for the car pc setup
    IBM X23-P3 866MHZ 512 MEGS, 100GIGS 7INCH TOUCH SCREEN LILLIPUT USB 802.11G LINKSYS, USB BLUETOOTH ADAPTER

  5. #5
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    For those pondering getting a thinkpad for a carputer, here's a great resource, tells what every model is, what models fit a particular dock, even which models have USB 2 Vs USB 1.1
    http://thinkwiki.org/wiki/ThinkWiki

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate jontz's Avatar
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    Skywise, I have an IBM T30 I am about to put up on eBay. It is a P4 2.0, 1GB of RAM, 60GB hard drive, and I am including a 120V AC adapter, 12V DC adapter (for auto use), port replicator (dock), and a 4 port USB 2.0 card. The laptop had a bad RAM socket, but as we speak it is being repaired by IBM. Their fix is to replace the entire mobo, so the machine should be like new when I get it back in about a week. I also got IBM to extend the factory warranty because of the RAM socket issue, so it is under warranty until June of 2009. If you are interested, I will give you or anyone else here first dibs before I put it on eBay.

    I have several of the same model T30's up and running at work, and they are very reliable machines. I work for an electrical contractor, so these laptops see a lot of abuse on job sites, and they never miss a beat. It seems like they would be a good fit for a carputer.

  7. #7
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    Just missed it, I grabbed a T40 off Ebay for $250 and a minidock 2878 for $13
    Should do the job just fine, I'll let everyone know how works out once I get it and install everything.

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate jontz's Avatar
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    Good buy on the T40. You will love it, I am sure!

  9. #9
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    i am currently working on getting my r50 working in the car. the biggest downside was that the power button on the laptop cannot be jumped, so you have to get the dock. my laptop is mounted vertically on the back of my backseat and the attachment between the dock and the laptop leaves much to be desired. its not really very sturdy and seems to wobble. i dont have the exact same dock as you but the latching mechanism looks to be the same, but basically when the laptop is docked it stays at an angle and there is a gap between the laptop and the dock. not the mention that i had to basically rip my entire dock apart to get to the power button, so with it went the latches. im going to have to devise a custom system to get the whole thing to stay together basically.

    other than that, everything is working great.

  10. #10
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    Anyone have problems using the integrated video chip on IBM T series or IBM laptops for that matter to get the 800x480 resolution on 7" LCD screens? I've yet to purchase my LCD monitor and just want to make sure I wont have problems gets the "standard" resolution..
    -Learning to install a carputer using an IBM T23 Pentium III 1.0Ghz M chip with a whopping 256MB ram
    -Lilliput or Xenarc 7" LCD touchscreen

    [Planning+++20%------------]

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