will look, thanks!
you CAN use ANY startup/shutdown controller for this, EVEN an atx supply like an opus, or better yet, a carnetix p1900, which will probably even give you the right voltages to run your latop diectly off this....
it's just a matter of hard wiring it... if you can hack the switch, you can make any startup/shutdown controller work....., no problem...
if you want help figuring out how to wire it up, I did a thread about running a laptop off an opus... similar enough that that should get you straight....
you will need to provide a "on" signal from the laptop... this can easily be acomplished through a 5v relay off the usb... click my id, then user profile, then all threads started by turbocad6.... you'll see it there
XP for sure without a doubt as it starts quicker already out the box.
As for laptop I have one question. Does it have a DVD drive as standard? If the answer is yes then rafster might be right if the answer is no I still say your going to struggle with it. Reason being is that if it came with a DVD drive then it more than likely has an mpeg decoder on board. If it didn't then I would put money on it not having a decoder so it will all have to be done with software which will kill the performance. It might play fine but your not going to be able to do anything else at the same time.
You have the laptop so spend a few hours loading it up with whatever you want to use and see for your self. After that you will know for sure and its only cost you time.
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I have 2 HP laptops, both have ATI mobility video cards, which are decent for carpc's.
One is a 750mhz, the other is 1ghz. Both work fine for car use, but not with some of the latest flash skins for roadrunner. I'm in the middle of upgrading mine to a dell P4 3ghz, running at 1.6ghz to stay cool. It has a geforce go 5200 32mb video card.
Tiny XP is a great idea, I'm not sure it supports laptops, but you really have to play with it to see what you can do with the 500mhz. I know it can do DVD's, but it's not good at multitasking. GPS is fine, so is MP3 playback. Heck, my first car computer was a 233 pentium 1 MMX back in 1997 or so. There is also a tiny windows 2003 distribution called Windows_2003_eXPerience_Edition, (use google) but it uses windows server 2003, stripped of a lot of things. Very stable, very little ram usage! Avoid antivirus software on your carpc unless you intend to have internet access somehow.
To power on, find the control board under the switch (sometimes seperate, will make it easier). Find which two pins of the switch get shorted when you press the button, using a digital voltmeter (in resistance mode). Extend two wires from these, and bring them out of the laptop. Touch them together with the battery in, and see if it turns on. It usually takes 3-4 seconds of holding the wires or switch to turn it off... which is usually less time than the engine takes to crank!
See where I'm going with this? Use the starter relay to activate a seperate relay (bosch 12v). This relay has 4 or 5 pins, sorry no diagram here. One of the two opposing pins will be the starter signal (+12), the other will be ground to the car chassis. They probably have numbers like 87, 86, etc, look for the standard pinout and functions.
The other two pins, will be hooked to the two wires you brought out of your laptop. When the starter is energized, the relay is clicked on, it turns your laptop on! Now if you KEEP starting your car (if your car needs a tuneup or is really old and crapurated like my z), this will not work right.
Then simply set windows power management to shut down, or hibernate, if running on internal batteries after 1 minute. (Don't choose standby, it will drain the laptop battery in 5-10 hours). If you have usb devices, make sure that windows will force them to shutdown, in powermanagement tabs under device manager, but this is not usually a problem.
Of course you would need a laptop air/auto adapter, but they are usually easy to find. Don't use a 12v to 110vac adapter to your regular laptop adapter that goes from 110v back to 16-19v on most laptops, unless you have no other choice (like the dell inspirons that use the PA-10 or higher adapters). Targus makes some good 60w, 75w and 90w adapters, which is enough for all P3 based and centrino based laptops afaik. P4 and Athlon may use more than 90w, and not work right.
The air/auto adapter should be hooked up to a 12v source that is on, ONLY when the key is in the ignition and turned on to accessory.
There is some wiring to do, and a few cheap components, but if you plan it out, you will see it's not that hard.
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the problem with your design is, if you shut the car off & then restart it right away, your laptop will turn off... anytime your laptop is already on, it will turn off again with cranking.... a controller monitors the state of the pc, & is much more inteligent... if you want a simpler startup for your laptop & want to rely on windows to shut it down, look for webmasters startup controller.... it's simple & basic, but at least it is much better than just a relay from the starter... either that, or there are circuits you can build yourself too..., but a bit more control than just a relay...