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Thread: Thinking about a laptop carputer - long thread with questions

  1. #1
    Newbie Bilbo99's Avatar
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    Thinking about a laptop carputer - long thread with questions

    Hey there, This is the begining of my 1st carputer. I have been searching for a new Head Unit and I am very dissapointed with what is out their. I have a Gateway 7415GX Laptop that I want to use as the core of my carputer. The case has a crack in it and its pretty heavy but It should be a gem. Please feel free to interject your ideas, concerns, worries and compliments when even they may come. I have been involved in car audio for nearly 20 years. I have been into computers for about the same time however they were not laptops. This should be fun. Like I see most people do, I plan to mock this system up outside the car to an extent. The Touchscreen and its position is still up in the air. I have done some glass/fill work but not this detailed so I can pull a favor out of a friend to help. Till we decide what size we can do, we will work with a regular monitor. So here is a backbone of the system:

    The Gateway 7415GX Laptop has the following specs:

    AMD Athlon™ 64-bit 3200+ Mobile Processor (1.8 GHz)
    1 MB L2 Cache
    512 MB of PC2700 DDR Ram (would make 1GB)
    ATI® Mobility RADEON™ 9600 w/64 MB memory -(Supports dual display/dual view)
    PC2001 compliant AC' 97 audio (External Sound Card?)
    Windows® XP SP3
    Four USB version 2.0 - powered and non power hubs if needed
    External monitor maximum resolution: 2048 × 1538
    802.11g wireless Mini-PCI card type III-B
    PC Card socket (one Type II)
    60 GB 4200 RPM 2.5" (surely would upgrade BIGTIME)
    DVD/CD-RW Combo (Thinking about gutting. Problems with it now. Who needs optical drive?)
    IVT Corp Bluethooth USB adapter.
    Maybe and, really, just maybe and optical drive in the dash where HU is now or in center console...connected via usb.

    This laptop saw some heavy action. I was a wholesale rep for a Mortgage company and was on the road quite a bit. This laptop has been dropped, punched, spilled coke on and then sat unused for over a year. I fired it up a few weeks ago and it ran great. There are some cracks in the case and the laptop gets really hot. So, deconstructing the case is no big deal. I have built several desktops from parts to boot with no problems so I think I can handle it.

    I basically want to run a 7-10 in touch screen up front Like this one.
    http://www.gooddeals18.com/product/S...reen__VGA.html

    The laptop has a dedicated Radeon 9600 with 64MB so it should be fine for a carputer. I have ran it in two monitor mode several times using ATI's Catalyst Center. Should work nifty. Once the laptop is semi stripped down I have several places in my Explorer when I can put it. Under my back seat makes the most sense since I will be alble to "float" the setup by making a rack of the seat brackets thuse getting it out of the way and giving it plenty of air. Their just happens to be an air our let there and I can run "rear air only" on low just for the little fella when he is working hard.

    I already have a solid car audio system with Panasonic HU (going bye bye), 2 Avionixx amps (4ch & Mono), and Arc Audio XEQ 7 band EQ/Line driver that is really nice. With or without an external Sound Blaster type unit I can use the Arc XEQ to take the computers stereo output and split it into front, rear and sub out with up to 9 volts output. For those not familiar with Arc, check it out here.

    http://www.arcaudio.com/productdescr...lizers/xeq.asp

    I am running CDT CL-61a's up front and some old but still rocking Kenwood Excelon 6.75 coax's. The sub is a Elemental Designs E10O which is an SQ sub stuffed in a Q-logic vehicle specific box that fits where the junk factory sub went. Heck, how about some pics.

    Possible monitor locations:


    Amps


    Tucked ED Sub


    Laptop



    Things I want to incorporate into this carputer besides the normal audio/video:

    *I am totally undescided about which front end to use. Only looked at Road, er, RideRunner and it seems cool. Need to look at others. Will search but if you have and idea let me know.

    *Better audio than onboard laptop chip. Something with 24bit Dacs? Soundblaster audigy? My Jetta has a competition grade audio system in it. Its Alpine, Arc Audio and Rainbow. I need this carputer to sound good which means starting with a clean signal. Probably run lossless audio through Mediamonkey.

    *GPS with good program. Streets and Trips? Garmin XT?

    *OBD-II via bluetooth? OBDKEY? Reliable via BT? Have to replace trip computer. Dash Command Light looks really good if its accurate.

    *Bluetooth calling, streaming, OBD-II and file xfers at home (or wifi). I can park that close.

    *Sirius Satellite Radio - How do you get Sirius data onto a touch screen? Wifi? 3G Cell? I have two external Serious units (Starmate and Sportster). Something tells me I will need sprint cell wifi to get Sirius with all the data.

    *HD Radio. Have not investigated this. I assume there are computer based tuners. Low on this list since we don't have HD here yet.

    *TV/HDTV -Hauppauge WinTV Express Card.

    *Proper DC-DC adapter for power.

    *Rear view camera.

    Any other suggestions welcome here, PM or email

    Answered questions:
    GPS - USGlobalSat BU-353 Weather-proof USB GPS Receiver with Garmin Mobile PC or Microsoft Street & Trips 2009

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate dMand's Avatar
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    ...GPS - USGlobalSat BU-353 Weather-proof USB GPS Receiver with Garmin Mobile PC or Microsoft Street & Trips 2009

  3. #3
    Newbie Bilbo99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dMand View Post
    ...GPS - USGlobalSat BU-353 Weather-proof USB GPS Receiver with Garmin Mobile PC or Microsoft Street & Trips 2009
    Thanks dMand! I am hoping to hear from others. Did I post this post wrong? Too many questions at once? Anyone want to jump in here with feedback?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    sounds like a decent plan, just go ahead with it if you have enough confidence & the details will all fall in place, or you'll be able to isolate each issue & specifically research a solution to each obstacle.

    as far as obdII & Sirius, I always prefer a hard wired solution over say bluetooth or something, just more reliable & since everything is fixed in the car anyway no reason not to hardware over trying to do bluetooth & stuff... search around here there are HD radio solutions & obdII solutions & satellite radio solutions... you have to break the whole project down to many individual hurdles & deal with each individually rather than just treating it as one... good luck with it

  5. #5
    Newbie Bilbo99's Avatar
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    I agree with you about hard wired connections. The OBD-II I am not worried about. I think the USB is the cheaper way anyway.

    Where I am stuck is how to get a hard wired Sirius display on the carputer touch screem without a cellular data connection for internet. I could go with the cell internet connection by I live in the far northern part of California. 20 minutes of I5 and I would have no service.

    I have three portable sirius units but and I could run a stereo signal through the carputer but I would have to use the Sirius display...which kinda defeats the whole point of a centralize touch screen to run it all.

    More research.....

    Thanks for you help. I checked out your Infinity. I can say I have been around some sick build as I used to hang around a shop that did most of Arc Audio demo rides. These guys were the 1st ones to break down the original Xbox for a killer install in a newer vette. The DVD tray came out of the dash in a really stealth way. Rest of the Xbox was in various cavities in the dash. Microsoft tech guys (from Redmond, Washington) said it couldn't be done. Wankers. Anyway, my point is that your car is right up there with the best I have seen. You are a Master.

    I hope to be able to pick your brain as issues come up. I am going to start the acquisition mode and mock it up in my house before install. The laptop has to be wiped and a fresh lean XP install is needed.

    Thanks again.


    Quote Originally Posted by turbocad6 View Post
    sounds like a decent plan, just go ahead with it if you have enough confidence & the details will all fall in place, or you'll be able to isolate each issue & specifically research a solution to each obstacle.

    as far as obdII & Sirius, I always prefer a hard wired solution over say bluetooth or something, just more reliable & since everything is fixed in the car anyway no reason not to hardware over trying to do bluetooth & stuff... search around here there are HD radio solutions & obdII solutions & satellite radio solutions... you have to break the whole project down to many individual hurdles & deal with each individually rather than just treating it as one... good luck with it

  6. #6
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    That laptop will work fine, I'm using an HP 530 with similar specs and I have no complaints.

    I have S&T 2008 and iGuidance 2009, and iGuidance is far better. It was designed for use on a small touch-screen rather than a large monitor+mouse, and the difference in usability is huge. S&T is fine on a regular laptop, but intolerable with a 7" touch screen.

    I have a bluetooth OBD2 device, and while I've used it to check trouble codes, it really hasn't been very useful.

    So far I am only using it for navigation and ECU tuning with a Subaru-specific cable, so I can't comment on audio stuff. Phone integration is next on my list though.

  7. #7
    Newbie Bilbo99's Avatar
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    Thanks! I will add that to my notes.

    Like my original post said, the OBD-II fuctionality will determine if I go with 7" touch in the stock radio location or remove the trip computer amd use the OBD-II with USB for mileage and trip computer type info. There are several great software programs avail so I am just gonna have to make some calls.

    Thanks for the info.


    Quote Originally Posted by NSFW View Post
    That laptop will work fine, I'm using an HP 530 with similar specs and I have no complaints.

    I have S&T 2008 and iGuidance 2009, and iGuidance is far better. It was designed for use on a small touch-screen rather than a large monitor+mouse, and the difference in usability is huge. S&T is fine on a regular laptop, but intolerable with a 7" touch screen.

    I have a bluetooth OBD2 device, and while I've used it to check trouble codes, it really hasn't been very useful.

    So far I am only using it for navigation and ECU tuning with a Subaru-specific cable, so I can't comment on audio stuff. Phone integration is next on my list though.

  8. #8
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    go for a tablet. see my post Archos 5/7 Internet Tablet

  9. #9
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    I accept with information:The Gateway 7415GX Laptop has the following specs:

    AMD Athlon™ 64-bit 3200+ Mobile Processor (1.8 GHz)
    1 MB L2 Cache
    512 MB of PC2700 DDR Ram (would make 1GB)
    ATI® Mobility RADEON™ 9600 w/64 MB memory -(Supports dual display/dual view)
    PC2001 compliant AC' 97 audio (External Sound Card?)
    Windows® XP SP3
    Four USB version 2.0 - powered and non power hubs if needed
    External monitor maximum resolution: 2048 × 1538
    802.11g wireless Mini-PCI card type III-B
    PC Card socket (one Type II)
    60 GB 4200 RPM 2.5" (surely would upgrade BIGTIME)
    DVD/CD-RW Combo (Thinking about gutting. Problems with it now. Who needs optical drive?)
    IVT Corp Bluethooth USB adapter.
    Maybe and, really, just maybe and optical drive in the dash where HU is now or in center console...connected via usb.

  10. #10
    Low Bitrate sinclairvital's Avatar
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    >>
    OBD-II via bluetooth? OBDKEY? Reliable via BT? Have to replace trip computer. Dash Command Light looks really good if its accurate
    <<
    Bluetooth is very reliable.

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