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Thread: thinking about using a laptop...

  1. #1
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    thinking about using a laptop...

    Hi, I am new to this and did some reading and checked out some prices to build a carpc and it's looking to be a little steep for what I wanted to use it for. The prices on the MB's and power supplies are crazy.

    Anyway, I could probably find a used laptop on ebay for cheap. I basically want to use this carpc for GPS, MP3, VIDEO. Will a 1Ghz laptop work well? All I'll need to get is an 7" touchscreen GPS receiver, and a regulated power adaptor for the laptop...right?

    I just want to know if I'm going in the right direction... let me know if I'm missing something or if you have any questions

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate madkad's Avatar
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    I would say that would work out alot more costly doing it that way
    [B]Car Computer 98%[|||||||||-]
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  3. #3
    Registered User vfinterceptor's Avatar
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    The on board sound card will suck on a laptop, any laptop. Add a usb sound card to your list.
    Power supply, you'll need an inverter or a 12 adapter made for your laptop. Unless you think the batery will last you long enough (trust me it won't, doesn't for me).
    Get a docking port so you can hack into it for the power on/off button, unless you want to open and close the trunk evertime you want to turn it on. Or mount it under a seat.
    Probably need a hub if you plan touchscreen, gps sensor, usb sound card, usb keyboard, bluetooth dongle, etc.

    Also remember you're looking at very limited upgradability with a laptop. This can be a pain if you want to add things like slot load dvd's, more ram, better sound, better video, etc. And any upgrades you can find will be more expensive than a "desktop" component based system (ram, etc)

    I went with a laptop because I had most of this stuff hanging around, but I would (and will) build a dedicated system when I get the cash.

    Of course, don't forget the four (or more) channel amp you'll need for sound.

    For advantages,
    I can remove the whole system by releasing the docking port and I can work on it in the house (good for extreme winter cold issues also).
    Heat issues are mostly already dealt with from the factory.
    Battery backup and extended hibernation are possible.
    Usually more tolerant of vibration issues in the car.

    that's all just off the top of my head

    I'd say if you already have the laptop it would be less expensive. But if you have to buy one, probably more expensive.

    Just my .02

    Cheers

    BJ

  4. #4
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    I really don't need most of the things you mentioned. This basically what I want:

    1. GPS Reciever needs 1 USB
    2. 7" TouchScreen needs 1 USB
    3. Creative Soundcard needs 1 USB (I'll probably need a hub if the laptop only has 2 USB)

    Power Supply
    I can probably find a cheap dell laptop on ebay. Dell sells power adaptors for cars so finding a power supply shouldn't be hard, am I right? I won't need a laptop battery since it'll be connected to the power the whole time.

    Start Up
    I am not really a picky person so I was thinking about mounting the laptop under the passenger seat. As for powering the laptop on and off, I could probably extend the wires from the inside of the laptop power button to the outside then I just could reach down hit the power and let the PC boot. I'll do the same when I'll power it off. Is this possible?


    I have my eye on a $300 1Ghz laptop... I don't see how this can be more than buying a MB + CPU + HHD + PSU + MEMORY and buidling yourself or am I missing something here?

  5. #5
    Registered User vfinterceptor's Avatar
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    If you don't mind it, then open the laptop and hack into the power button.

    get teh car adapter, that's what i used. but I already had that also.

    Get a hub.

    I started off with just a touchscreen, gps sensor, and usb sound card also. But as I started using it, I found I needed a keyboard, mouse (right click functions) bluetooth is a very nice option, wireless internet, etc. This stuff is extremely contageous.

    on board video will suck on a laptop too. It'll work, but it will suck moose tit.

    Sounds like you've made up your mind anyways.

    Go for it the way you want it !

    Cheers

    BJ

  6. #6
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    Check the prices on those Dell car adapters before you go off saying its a trivial thing. You may save money, yes, but wouldnt you rather just throw in an extra $100 or so to make it work well? Get an Epia board, they're cheap and include the processor. Froogle yourself an HD. Ram is super cheap. Having a real mobo gives you space to expand, leaves a lot more options open.
    MII-12000 / Ampie / Lilliput 7" / BU-355 / PicoPSU / uSDC
    Currently: Enjoying the setup, but always contemplating my next move...

  7. #7
    FLAC
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    I can probably find a cheap dell laptop on ebay. Dell sells power adaptors for cars so finding a power supply shouldn't be hard, am I right?
    Yes, you're right.
    I won't need a laptop battery since it'll be connected to the power the whole time.
    You won't but it'll make your life much easier. From a CarPC/Laptop user, trust me.
    I am not really a picky person so I was thinking about mounting the laptop under the passenger seat. As for powering the laptop on and off, I could probably extend the wires from the inside of the laptop power button to the outside then I just could reach down hit the power and let the PC boot. I'll do the same when I'll power it off. Is this possible?
    Yes, it's possible but it's a pain in the *** to have to do it all the time you get in/out the car. Use WinXP's auto-hibernate when the laptop is on battery to power off. For automatic power-on, use a relay circuit. See this thread.
    Laptop Auto Power-On / Turn-On Module

    I have my eye on a $300 1Ghz laptop... I don't see how this can be more than buying a MB + CPU + HHD + PSU + MEMORY and buidling yourself or am I missing something here?
    Don't listen to those PC users who try to scare you off with costs. A laptop can be had for cheaper than an mini-itx setup. You don't even have to buy used. A new Dell laptop can be had for around $500. Look for deals on Fatwallet.com.

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