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Thread: using laptops as carpc.

  1. #1
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    using laptops as carpc.

    My searches didn't turn up that many results.. I want to know how many of you are using laptops as your car pc. I have a 4 pound 1 inch tall 12" screen Averatec with combo drive, 512ddr, athlon 2000, integrated wireless g, and a slew of usb devices to go with it as my carpc for now.

    Every time i get ready to buy a mini itx system, I stopmyself and think, the laptop setup is fine the way it is, and i can remove it anytime for peace of mind. With dual boot on the 40gb hdd I can still use it for occasional work, etc. too.

    So why buy the integrated system? Aside from having it power up with the car automatically and the novelty factor? The only other upgrade I thought seriously about was the touchscreen version of the same laptop. That'd be nice, mounting the entire laptop in touchscreen mode on my dash, sure it wouldn't look custom but 12" 1024x768 beats the hell outta 7" 800x480

    Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the beautiful integrated projects you guys make and will probably go that route eventually, but for now I can't justify spending all that much.
    Thank You /////ALPINE
    7" Lilli. GPSlim236. Streetdeck. Mappoint. M9000. M2ATX, XMDirect

  2. #2
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    so do you mount the laptop somewhere or just leave it on the seat? I'm going to be using a laptop, but putting it in a docking station under my passenger seat and running a vga cable to an lcd, line out to my existing stereo.

  3. #3
    Low Bitrate omar's Avatar
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    I'm using a laptop in my project. For me it was cheaper--I don't need a opus/shutdown controller. It's a little faster than the VIA stuff(I'm using a celeron, so it's not much faster). I don't know how it'll handle the heat in the car yet (I live in San Diego, summer time will tell). So the total cost for my project was the 7" touchscreen and GPS receiver. I already had the relay for the inverter and the inverter.

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate
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    Quote Originally Posted by omar
    I'm using a laptop in my project. For me it was cheaper--I don't need a opus/shutdown controller. It's a little faster than the VIA stuff(I'm using a celeron, so it's not much faster). I don't know how it'll handle the heat in the car yet (I live in San Diego, summer time will tell). So the total cost for my project was the 7" touchscreen and GPS receiver. I already had the relay for the inverter and the inverter.
    Almost the same for me. I used my (old) laptop which had a broken display. Its fast enough for carpc jobs, AND has battery backup to prevent reboots/lockups when booting the car. Besides that, its less energy consuming than a regular PC.

    I only needed a touchscreen, GPS, powersupply and some small parts, so in total it was cheaper than a via system, and maybe even faster (P3 750Mhz)

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate CJ8501's Avatar
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    Kenop good to see you found this forum... I always see you postin at nissanclub Welcome to wonderful world of carputers! Im almost done with mine Im gonna use a laptop (p4 2.8 256ram 30gb HD and DVD drive) and my screen was done by Altimat. I think a laptop is great for a carputer just take it out whenver and you can always relay a switch on to your dash to turn it on (just have to solder like 2 wires...)

  6. #6
    Newbie nycjuni's Avatar
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    Smile Laptop Media system.

    I have a laptop setup in my car. I also have the it sitting on the docking station and hacked the power of the docking station for a remote control wired to a switch by my driver;s seat.

    The laptop is set to hibernate when I hit the switch and when I power it on it comes up really fast. It is hooked up to my 7inch touchscreen monitor on my dash.


    The laptop has a bad screen itself , so it is perfect for this application.

  7. #7
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    I started with an HP Pav dv1040us notebook w/GPS on a stand (like patrol cars)
    == then ==>a ShuttleXPC(small form factor)-w/shutdown controller-inverter-7'Xenarc-APC Battery, etc. But after months of physical struggle, research and several scenerios trying to budget, I ended up w/o success.
    I'm back to my Pav notebook ==and now, since I've tried other setups, I think... why would people buy an expensive small motherboard (limited in speed), a special power supply to go with it(limited), a shutdown controller(technical), a customized box to compress all this necessary hardware in it, and finally putting it together IN THE CAR!!! Aren't you reinventing the wheel? The laptops already have this hardware compressed and designed to be MOBILE, consume less power, and have better performance.
    *This is strictly my point of view---But, why not use a notebook? My HP Pav dv1040us has a remote control (IrD & Radio signal) size of a credit card that turns the pc on or off, switch video outputs, etc.- the receiver is already hardwired to the notebook, the rest is just a usb hub that connects my GPS-small USBKeyboard(Logitech for Playstation2-yes it works $19.99 Circuit City)-USB Sound-Xenarc Touchscreen. All this gets power from a small 150w inverter, I don't use alot of power - the notebook uses 90w and has Pentium 4 Centrino 512MB 80GB HD DVD+RW WiFi & Bluetooth, running my favorite *Centrafuse 1.4 (others I've tried have more features than what the program can handle).
    If you decide to get a Notebook setup and don't want to open the little laptop to hardwire an on/off switch, consider buying an HP Pav notebook w/remote for less than $800 it may be worth your headaches... The one I have has more than what I need, but I use it because I already had it. You could look for used notebooks, or do online shopping for a decent price.

  8. #8
    Newbie NisAznMonk's Avatar
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    I want to use a laptop with a broken LCD as well. I'm going to run the music through my Alpine CDA-9833 headunit, but I'm having a hardtime trying to figure out how to do that.

    Also, how would I turn the laptop on/off? I plan on putting it underneath my passenger seat.

    And I plan on running a few external usb devices with a powered usb hub. Sound good?

  9. #9
    Newbie Blazenhazn's Avatar
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    How do you hardwire the powerswitch on a laptop? Say you have a constant 12v, a ground and a switched remote wire.. How do i hardwire that remote wire into my power switch??
    Lexus GS300
    Old setup - 10.4 non-touch, Media Center 2005, Biostar M7NCG, AMD Duron 1ghz, M1-ATX
    ..Moving on to something MORE PRACTICAL :)

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