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Thread: homemade macbook dock - anyone made it?

  1. #1
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    homemade macbook dock - anyone made it?

    Hi all!
    New car, new project.
    This time, I don't want to be invasive.
    And I want to use my macbook as carpc because:
    1-It's wonderful
    2-The only moment I can't use my macbook is in the car, and a indipendent carpc will be used only in the car... so why not use the same computer as I use at home/anywhere? Just think of it as I'm going to simplify my habits, but I still want to have something different on my car
    3-don't have so much money to spend in other hardware (my former carpc now is my parent's desktop system, cause epia consumes less than a p4), so I want to use my existing onwings as far as I can
    4-it would simplify the installing process.

    I plan to put the macbook in the trunk and use my lilliput 7" TS to control it. So the only thing I need is a dock to quickly insert and remove the MB.
    I've already checked http://www.bookendzdocks.com/ , but the macbook dock doesn't have the magsafe replicator, and it costs a bit.
    I saw that a mac mini dock exists: http://minidock.jp/en/index.html
    And I liked the simple idea of that dock:

    I think it could be done for macbook, adding a system to support and secure the laptop. I didn't come up with the final solution, but I'm thinking how to do it.

    For the DC supply, I think I'll buy one of these:
    http://mikegyver.com/
    Or maybe I'll buy a normal kensington power adapter and I'll follow these instructions:
    http://www.mikegyver.ca/?p=1

    Anyone did that already?
    Thanks for the feedback!

  2. #2
    Newbie dogpilot's Avatar
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    I tried to do it with my Powerbook G4 first. There wasn't a thing wrong with it, except.. You had to open the lid to turn it on, then close the lid to put it in its appointed position. Remote power on and off is not a simple solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogpilot View Post
    I tried to do it with my Powerbook G4 first. There wasn't a thing wrong with it, except.. You had to open the lid to turn it on, then close the lid to put it in its appointed position. Remote power on and off is not a simple solution.
    well, since I use my MB at home, I plan to put it on sleep before I get into the car, mount it and resume it by tapping the touchscreen. I tried it at home and it works.
    I'll have to remember to put it to sleep when I leave the car.

    I also prepared 2 applescripts to change between carPC and home profile, starting and stopping the right applications and services (ie I don't use bluetooth at home, but it's useful with bluephoneelite 2 to have a handsfree environment).

    glad to hear someone tried it!

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    Newbie dogpilot's Avatar
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    You will find it likes to turn on when you plug in USB devices. At least the G4's did. The Macbooks behave a bit differently, so a bit of experimentation would be in order.

    These guys offer a built up dock:
    http://www.bookendzdocks.com/Docking...ook_White.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogpilot View Post
    You will find it likes to turn on when you plug in USB devices. At least the G4's did. The Macbooks behave a bit differently, so a bit of experimentation would be in order.
    Yeah, I already tried and it turns on when I plug the touchscren. also the video output works correctly when I plug the mini-dvi to vga with the lid closed.
    These guys offer a built up dock:
    http://www.bookendzdocks.com/Docking...ook_White.html
    Quote Originally Posted by barb3tta View Post
    I've already checked http://www.bookendzdocks.com/ , but the macbook dock doesn't have the magsafe replicator, and it costs a bit.

  6. #6
    Newbie dogpilot's Avatar
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    D'oh, (note to self: read the entire post).

    Nothing is perfect in these applications. I am seriously thinking of hacking off one of my spare Magsafe plugs to make an adaptor for my iGo. I have quite a selection of very nice Cannon Plugs to choose from to make it go back to its adaptor. I still can't get over the $59 price tag for the airline adaptor, you can buy an entire AC adaptor for that price.

    The Mini seemed a good compromise. They can be picked up relatively cheap on Craigslist. I do some esoteric astronomy with my Syncro, and the Macs do a lot of the telescope and camera control.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogpilot View Post
    I do some esoteric astronomy with my Syncro, and the Macs do a lot of the telescope and camera control.
    Ooooo.... It's off topic but extremely cool. Please describe your setup (hardware, software).

  8. #8
    Newbie dogpilot's Avatar
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    Lets see, Telescope control is done with Starry Night Pro 6.2 through the USB. Camera control is dependent on which camera system. When I shoot the Nikon D2x, it is Nikon Camera Control Pro. When I do the Firewire cam, it Astro IIdc

    Telescope setup is always changing. My main scope is a 10" Meade RCX400, then I also run a Televue 85 refractor on a German Equatorial Mount. When I am setting up for the Boy Scouts, I have a Meade ETX 90 mounted on a custom DX mount. It is good for both the big night sky objects and solar observing. It is an inexpensive scope, so if the boys somehow destroy it, then I am not forced to sell their body parts to pay for it.

    As I mentioned in another post, I am a geologist, who does a lot of work with and from aircraft. However when you in the field, nights are long and boring. So astronomy came early as a pastime as far back as High School.

    The Big Meade is a great scope, it just takes up a lot of room in the van. I tend to use the Televue for most trips. It is a convenient size, yet the mount is still controllable via the USB. Having the Mini mounted in the van to control the scopes frees up the MacBook Pro to control the cameras. Once you set up pointing, then the rest happens with magic.

  9. #9
    Mac Car Moderator kandyman676's Avatar
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    BoodEndz makes MacBook and MacBook Pro docs. I personally use the MacBook Pro dock at work.
    "If it works this good why F with it?" -KMFDM "Intro"

    Strive for ethical wardriving: http://faq.wardrive.net/

    My CarCPUs: v1 - 2000 | v2 - 2004
    Mp3Car Meets: http://detrimental.org/eyecandy/MP3CarMeets

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    Quote Originally Posted by kandyman676 View Post
    BoodEndz makes MacBook and MacBook Pro docs. I personally use the MacBook Pro dock at work.
    Quote Originally Posted by barb3tta View Post
    I've already checked http://www.bookendzdocks.com/ , but the macbook dock doesn't have the magsafe replicator, and it costs a bit.
    My idea is to create an alu folder opened at the top for airflow and at the right to let macbook slide in and out and to access to the optical drive.
    the folder will be mounted on the side of the trunk; the left part of the folder will use the same system as minidock posted above.
    obviously I need to insert something to protect the macbook cover and a velcro strip or similar right under the dvd slot to secure the right part.
    I don't have much time now, so I'll abandon this project for a while.
    In the meantime, if you have any suggestion I'll be happy to hear you!

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