Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Newbie Set on Mac Install

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1

    Red face Newbie Set on Mac Install

    Hello everyone,

    I am probably being a bit premature with this posting; however, I've been researching the possibility of installing a CarPC in my car:

    http://www.carster.com/BLADE/cars/1991-Acura-NSX-1514

    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. Also, as a disclaimer, I am not computer savvy. Any install I do will have to be with lots of help.

    As most of you already know, the PC is no stranger to software issues. To be blunt, if airplanes ran on windows software only, and not the basic physics of "lift" and "thrust", the would be lots of "Crashes". I'm looking to make the switch to Macs. Though, when I noticed that the Mac Mini is the perfect match for a Car PC I was sold.

    My research has uncovered the obvious positives of using the Mac Mini in the, now on to the negatives, along with some queries:

    - The Mac Mini doesn't have a great front end or limited numbers of front ends.
    ~ I've already seen that several front ends have been created from users such as Iamgnat for example. A fellow nsx owner sent me a very sleek looking skin that he designed for his acura. He said he slightly modified another skin to get the look here http://www.nsxprime.com/forums/showt...ighlight=carpc
    I would like to get a similar look for my skin; however, if it cannot be done then I'll live with it for now.

    - The Mac Mini does not have decent Nav support.
    ~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? Better yet, I read that Garmin started writing some of there software to be compatible with Mac . Garmin's goal was to have all their software Mac compatible by the end of '07. So there would be no need to switch to windows yes? I should be able to install Garmin Software to my Mac to run on my Touch screen.

    Well, off-hand, those are the only main issues I remember with going with a Mac Mini install. They seem rather trivial.

    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.

    My List thus far:

    Mac Mini (going with base model $599, adequate power?)
    Carnetixs power supply (going with model above CNX-P1900)
    Macpac wire kit
    Xenarc Touchscreen (can I run two screens with powerkit?)
    Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (is there a track mouse that I could use and install in my cointray area?)
    My stock head unit is crap, and worse, my system is Bose. Therefore, I will have to find a way to get the computer system to work with the bose system, or remove the stock head unit, upgrade the speakers (the bose system has amps for each speaker), and buy a separate amp. Any advice on what to do with the audio route?

    The main things I wish to attain from my carputer is:

    GPS touchscreen navigation from Garmin (I have a portable garmin unit and garmin is what I'm used to and prefer)

    Ability to play music from the touch screen (the Front Row program looks nice, will that work with a touch screen though?). I know that the new Mac Mini provides a six button remote, so that's a nice plus. I just never liked the idea of using a remote in a car when the controls are easily within arms reach. I love Itunes and couldn't be happier with the way it works.

    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.

    Of course, playing DVD's and Video from the HD will be nice.

    Lastly, the ability to go online and surf the web is a natural feature to look forward to.

    I estimate that all the hardware alone will cost me nearly $1500. I'm hoping to get lucky and score a refurb Mini at some point, and find a great deal on my screen. As you can see, I already have a screen in my "Nav Pod" in the nsx; however my aforementioned project buddy broke the touch screen during install. So, I have an extra VGA Hi-Res screen that I may remove and install where my stock head unit is (it's large enough to be a double-din). I will place the xenarc in the Nav Pod.

    I could have a buddy install this for me localy, though I prefer to have a friend that works at a local high end installation store to it for me. He isn't cheap, but his work is absolutely perfect. Simply put, he is the best around and and does show car professional work. I don't want to cut any corners with this.

    Well, I apologize for this post being so long. I cannot afford to engage in this project until uncle sam returns some of the money he swindled from me over the past year, lol, and even then, I don't know if I will be willing to spend it all in one sitting. Simply put, I may not see fruition of this plan until summer or fall or next year. Which is why I'm a bit embarressed to start a new post bringing this up so soon. I just wanted some guidance, along the way.

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. Have a safe and happy new year.

    Kevin

  2. #2
    CarFrontEnd Creator iamgnat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    NoVA
    Posts
    867
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Blade View Post
    Hello everyone
    Welcome.

    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.
    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.

    Also, as a disclaimer, I am not computer savvy.
    I have to ask then, why do you want to do this?

    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.

    As most of you already know, the PC is no stranger to software issues. ... I'm looking to make the switch to Macs.
    My opinions:

    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.

    - The Mac Mini doesn't have a great front end or limited numbers of front ends.
    Personally I think CFE is great (and i'm sure Jirka thinks QCar is too ), but i'm biased

    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.

    The Mac Mini does not have decent Nav support.
    Nope. Go with Windows or a pre-made MP3/Nav head unit.

    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?
    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.

    Better yet, I read that Garmin started writing some of there software to be compatible with Mac.
    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).

    Well, off-hand, those are the only main issues I remember with going with a Mac Mini install. They seem rather trivial.
    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).

    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.
    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).

    Mac Mini (going with base model $599, adequate power?)
    I have the CoreSolo and it works just fine and some people are still running PPCs with no need to upgrade. It all depends on what you are doing, and most in car situations shouldn't call for much power.

    Carnetixs power supply (going with model above CNX-P1900)
    Macpac wire kit
    Mike's power supplies are the only way to go with a Mini.

    Xenarc Touchscreen (can I run two screens with powerkit?)
    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.

    The Mini does not support multiple screens. There are cheats you can do, but nothing that really gives the true functionality of multiple screens.

    Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard and Mouse (is there a track mouse that I could use and install in my cointray area?)
    The new Apple keyboard is a really nice size for in the car, but damn if that aluminum doesn't get cold....

    Any advice on what to do with the audio route?
    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.

    GPS touchscreen navigation from Garmin (I have a portable garmin unit and garmin is what I'm used to and prefer)
    With this being the first in your list, don't go with a Mac. You will not be happy right now.

    Ability to play music from the touch screen (the Front Row program looks nice, will that work with a touch screen though?).
    Search the forum for "FrontRowRemote". That is an App someone wrote to emulate the remote on the ouch screen.

    If you like iTunes, that is what CarFrontEnd is using for it's music player.

    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.
    Don't hold your breath on a Mac. We don't even have good ODBII support.

    Simply put, I may not see fruition of this plan until summer or fall or next year.
    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.

    -dave
    My pathetic worklog.
    CarFrontEnd (now it's own sub-forum!!!!)

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate onepuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    184
    Parallels works pretty well right now to run windows programs. With its coherence feature you can run windows programs right on the mac osx screen. It's pretty cool. I'm using it to use a datalogging program for my nissan right now. I don't really use gps/nav for anything but i'm sure it wouldn't be that big of a deal to run a windows nav program in parallels. If you do go with the mini i highly recommend a program called remote buddy. You can use a wii remote and a bunch of other remotes to control the mac. It has menus and things for many mac programs and you can add options to control many other programs. Just do a lot of research. I made the switch and fell in love with osx. It is a good idea to take it in the house and use it also to get use to it. Making a dock is a good idea. If you ever need any help making one shoot me a pm.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Admin. Linux loser.
    Auto Apps:loading...
    Bugbyte's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Corning, NY
    Posts
    7,359
    Blog Entries
    2
    Dave's right. An in car installation of a PC is different than a general purpose desktop situation. Since the PC is purpose built for the car environment, a clean install of Windows and only the bits and pieces you need to get a top notch program like Road Runner going will yield a stable operating system and better functionality than the Mac.

    Think for just a minute about what you are proposing:
    1) You are not computer savvy
    2) You know less about OSX than Windows
    3) You know little about car audio

    Number 1 and 3 are going to be big enough hurdles to get over. Don't introduce another variable into the equation.

    Again, not trying to scare you off OSX at all. Just that there are far more very successful installs of Windows, a much larger user base, and much more support for issues with Windows than OSX. The front ends are much better developed and much more flexible.

    Having said that, the challenges for installing the systems are identical, so there's no difference between trying to install a Mini vs. a PC system. The list of components you give is the right one, and although that is the right set of stuff, the actual difficulty is in wiring up the power supply. You can watch my carPC 101 video (link in my signature) to see what is involved starting at the battery and running up to the power supply. That's the hardest part. Everything else is plug and play.

    I think the deciding factor is the desire for GPS. While I use GPS on my Mac, it is the open source RoadNav program which is not as sophisticated as professional products. I also use Google Earth, but that works best with a mobile internet connection. If your Garmin has a video output, you could simply run that to your VGA screen's composite video input and have Garmin functionality onscreen.

    However, if you want integrated GPS from the PC touchscreen, again, the best programs run in Windows. You can run Windows on the Mac, but it requires a bit of futzing around and some knowledge to do so. It's not hard, but once you do it, you now have TWO operating systems that you are supporting. If you aren't computer savvy, that's just more work for you.

    Sorry for the length of this post, but here's my suggestion:
    1. Buy one of the Newbie PC systems from the mp3car store. It will come with everything you need.
    2. Have the hardware installed by someone who knows what they are doing and AFTER you have done enough research to figure out if you can integrate the sound output of the system into the existing radio. It can usually be done through a device that plugs into the CD changer. I did it by purchasing a head unit that had aux inputs and was compatible with my car amp. You can probably do the same to keep costs down. Understand that this increases the complexity of the installation. Not only are you installing a computer, you are also replacing a head unit.

    This will increase the cost of your project but the alternative, if you are not knowledgeable is to have a pile of components that don't work, or worse, work intermittently.
    3. By all means, ask your computer savvy buddy for help but only after the system is installed. Worst that can happen is you'll have to reinstall Windows. Make him your 'software guy' and keep the hardware install for the professionals.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  5. #5
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    12
    I would say that a Mac would be a fine option. Even if you're new to it, if you were to get your mac mini a week before your install, you would be comfortable enough to use it in your car, and soon you'll know it by heart. Next, OS X has a great frontend built in. With the new release of OS X came Spaces. With Spaces came the ability to quickly access all of your programs without bogging through window after window. Add hot corners and Cover Flow to the mix and you have a pretty strong touchscreen friendly environment.
    As for GPS, the best programs do run in Windows. But thanks to the switch to intel and programs like VMWare Fusion, you can now run windows on a mac. So here's how the end product might interface with you.
    You want to use iTunes and GPS. You install VMWare Fusion, and set both VMWare Fusion and iTunes to open at login.
    You set iTunes to always open in space 1, and VMWare Fusion to always open in space 2.
    You set the bottom left hot corner to be Spaces. Whenever you tap the bottom left corner, your desktop will fall away and a split screen will show all available spaces.
    Touch the appropriate space for which application you want to use. This makes switching apps very easy.
    iTunes in Cover Flow will allow you to browse your music much like you would on an iPhone or iPod Touch. You can even set it to full screen.
    VMWare Fusion will run Windows and your GPS software easily.

    Of course, there are some steps in set-up, but they are relatively easy to set up in the software.

    As for the rest of the install, I would look around the forums, and get used to reading lots of installation manuals... The actual install has bee done many times by several users on the forums, and I myself am getting ready to install a Mac Mini in my 1999 Ford Contour. But familiarize yourself with your car and the Mac Mini. You don't necessarily need the mac mini in front of you, you can visit a local Apple Store, or find the specs at http://www.apple.com/macmini/ I would also suggest looking at the support forums there for more info on the computer.

  6. #6
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    4
    2 monitors on a mac mini... well depending on what you are using... I have mine set up with the Alpine pkg 780 and a xenarc. Running the adaptor out it is working with both the S video and the composite video going in two directions at once, so with this set up I am actually running 3 monitors, although only one is touch. And yes, the new wireless apple keyboard does get very cold... watch out if you are wearing shorts.

    Tom

Similar Threads

  1. 2004 Acura RSX Type-S turbo - Mac install
    By Fallout in forum Show off your project
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 05-16-2008, 04:16 AM
  2. Bugbyte's 2001 New Beetle -Mac Mini Install
    By Bugbyte in forum Worklogs
    Replies: 147
    Last Post: 05-15-2008, 04:31 PM
  3. Newbie installing Mac Mini et al.
    By kkachurak in forum Newbie
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-30-2008, 02:07 AM
  4. Hot Rod Company to start incorporating Mac Minis
    By stacheldraht in forum MacCar
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-01-2005, 12:25 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •