You might want to rethink letting your friend do it/help then. Depending on what you do and how you do it, your car might end up in an undriveable state for part of your install. If you can't trust your friend to see it through in a timely manner, that could leave you without the car for an unknown period of time.I have a computer savvy buddy who says he can have a car pc installed in my car for less than $800 sans the screen. However, some past projects with him did not go as well as expected.
I have to ask then, why do you want to do this?Also, as a disclaimer, I am not computer savvy.
Having a computer in the car is not ready for the average person at this time. If you aren't comfortable with debugging strange issues and having little/no manufacturer support, this isn't for you. If you aren't comfortable working on your car by yourself, then a computer probably isn't a good idea.
I don't say any of this to run you off, but to make you aware. CarPCs are in the infancy (Mac's even more so) so it takes patience, understanding, time, and money to get what you want. Depending on what you want the computer to do, there are probably pre-built systems (Pioneer, Alpine, Eclipse, etc..) that do most/all of it.
My opinions:As most of you already know, the PC is no stranger to software issues. ... I'm looking to make the switch to Macs.
1) Windows isn't THAT unstable. It's the crap that most people load on it. Macs can be just as unstable if the user downloads and installs every little bell and whistle that is out there. If you tune it well and keep it streamlined, it is fine.
2) Make the switch to a Mac for your desktop before you try to use one in the car. In the car you shouldn't be interacting with the OS on a regular basis. This means most of your interaction will be when something is broken or you're trying to add something new. Both cases are drastically easier if you have a better working knowledge of the OS.
3) Given that you promote yourself as "not computer savvy", stay with a properly tuned Windows based system. Firstly, you seem to be at least familiar with using it. And secondly, the Front End projects for Windows are much farther along which means there should be less forcing non-perfect solutions on yourself.
Personally I think CFE is great (and i'm sure Jirka thinks QCar is too ), but i'm biased- The Mac Mini doesn't have a great front end or limited numbers of front ends.
Yes our options are limited because we are a much smaller group. This is not likely to change in the near future.
CFE doesn't support skinning, though I believe I remember reading that QCar does. Mostly you would need to do any skinning work yourself though, which doesn't sounds like something you are up to.
Nope. Go with Windows or a pre-made MP3/Nav head unit.The Mac Mini does not have decent Nav support.
Technically speaking yes, but it is not an ideal situation while driving down the road and getting it all setup properly will take some knowledge of both operating systems.Yes, I've read about the inadequacies of route buddy and such; however, isn't the new software on Macs able to run windows? So therefore, if need be, I can install a windows based Nav and switch to windows to use it?
So they claim, I haven't heard anything since they originally announced their "plans" though. And don't expect it to be any more than RouteBuddy (not the app, but it's general uselessness for our purposes).Better yet, I read that Garmin started writing some of there software to be compatible with Mac.
If navigation is a big reason you want a computer in your car, then it is a major issue as it has no elegant solution at this time (though hopefully Jirka is getting close).Well, off-hand, those are the only main issues I remember with going with a Mac Mini install. They seem rather trivial.
I've said that to a few people, and said it above. I would actually suggest that you use it as your primary computer for 6 to 12 months before you start trying to install it in your car. I would say the same to a Mac user thinking of putting their first Windows or Linux computer in their car. And regardless of the OS, to bring it into a car you really should be an above average user (not to say that you need to be a programmer, but be comfortable debugging issues and replacing hardware with only Google for assistance).I've also seen another user recommend that a PC user not use a Mac for their car computer without any previous experience. It is therefore my plan to have the Mac Mini installed in my glove box with easy removal to bring into my house. I need to upgrade my computer anyways, so I can gain my Mac experience points both in and out of the home.
Mike's power supplies are the only way to go with a Mini.Carnetixs power supply (going with model above CNX-P1900)
Macpac wire kit
I use a Lilliput, but most Mac users seem to gravitate to the Xenarcs. No idea why since both have their problems and neither seems superior to the other.Xenarc Touchscreen (can I run two screens with powerkit?)
The Mini does not support multiple screens. There are cheats you can do, but nothing that really gives the true functionality of multiple screens.
The new Apple keyboard is a really nice size for in the car, but damn if that aluminum doesn't get cold....Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (is there a track mouse that I could use and install in my cointray area?)
I'm going to assume that you are "not audio savvy" either. If that is the case, find a good local shop and talk to them. And probably have them do that installation of the audio system. It may be pricey, but if you have a good shop that will spend time to explain things to you (and you want to learn) then you'll start to pick it up and start to get comfortable with making more decisions and tweaks down the road.Any advice on what to do with the audio route?
With this being the first in your list, don't go with a Mac. You will not be happy right now.GPS touchscreen navigation from Garmin (I have a portable garmin unit and garmin is what I'm used to and prefer)
Search the forum for "FrontRowRemote". That is an App someone wrote to emulate the remote on the ouch screen.Ability to play music from the touch screen (the Front Row program looks nice, will that work with a touch screen though?).
If you like iTunes, that is what CarFrontEnd is using for it's music player.
Don't hold your breath on a Mac. We don't even have good ODBII support.Sometimes down the line (maybe another year if a good skin is available to customize a button for it), I would like to do an aem tune upgrade and have access to pre-set tunes, i.e. valet, high performance, or just cruise settings via the aem computer. I don't know if software is available for this.
Few of us do it all at once and all of us start reading/posting before we get started. I joined the group about 6 months before I bought the first piece of hardware and a year before I started installing.Simply put, I may not see fruition of this plan until summer or fall or next year.