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Thread: New Car New Ideas, need some help and feedback

  1. #1
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    New Car New Ideas, need some help and feedback

    I just bought a great 1987 BMW 325i at a pretty great price and have about $4k to fix it up nicely. What I really want to do is to be able to access all the music that I have on my computer and hard drives at home, from my car, or atleast be able to sync the two. I have over 300 GB of music, so an iPod is out of the question. My vision is to be able to install a touch screen in my dash that allows me to easily navigate though my music while driving.
    I'm really considering using either a Mini Mac, or Apple TV to get the job done, but there's a few things that I have questions on. I've been reading up on it and don't think it'll be a walk in the park, but i have enough computer and electrical knowledge to make it work. Presently here are some things I'm wondering -

    Which would be better? a Mini Mac or Apple TV. The apple tv does basically everything that i need. I don't care too much about running apps or anything like that, this is strictly about the music and easy navigation, and apple TV definitely has that, but i would like to be able to use touch screen commands and not the little remote. Is that going to be possible?
    Or would everyone just recommend going with a mini mac, for added functionality. The only problem here is that I don't know how to use a soddering iron (although i'm sure i can easily learn that) and don't know how hard it's going to be to set everything up. I don't want the mac mini to be seen. (i could stow it in the glove box) but I want to install the power button on the dash (how hard is that going to be for me?)

    Is syncing the music going to be an obstacle? I'd just like to be able to park my car in the garage and sync everything over my home wireless network. I want everything to just be beautifully seamless. Are there any type of programs I should be made aware of?

    also, everyone here is obviously way more experienced at this sort of stuff than me, and any advice in general or cool ideas for the whole setup would be cool. If it's not too hard then I'm probably going to just go with the mac mini so that I can add a few more cool things to the car as I go along for even more awesome sexiness.

    Thanks for the help guys.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate pepsibobby's Avatar
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    Okay well first off welcome to the mac side of the house. It is always more fun when you go with Apple...and when i say fun i mean challenging. Okay lets get down to it shall we.

    1. First off the touchscreen will not work with the Apple TV unless you hack the apple tv to turn it into a full working OSX machine, even then it might be tricky. The basic software that apple TV uses does not allow for mouse clicking. You will have to have a keyboard in your car which makes things quite awkward for driving.

    2. You do not need a soldering iron at all to insall a mini in your car. You can do several things. a) you can buy an inverter and run everything off of that, however there is a good chance that you will get feed back and more background nosie. b) you can buy the mac pac with the 1900 to power the min and all you have to use too hook up the wires is some crimp clamps with some black electrical tape. I know this isnt the ideal situation (soldering obviously is) but it will work. I have had my system hooked up like this for 3 years and i have had no problems.

    to syn your music it is going to take a god awful long time. You have quite a large collection and i would suggest syncing parts of it, just like playlists. Since there is no mini that has that kind of storage capacity i would suggest in getting an external hard drive that you can syn in the house instead of doing it over wifi.

    if you have any more questions please feel free to ask.
    Cant code cause I dont know how, but give me the paint bucket and my eraser and have at you!

  3. #3
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    1. Mac Mini, for the reasons PepsiBobby gave plus the fact that an AppleTV isn't large enough for your music collection. The simplicity of the AppleTV is an obstacle to your installation. In addition, you will have to hack the AppleTV to get it to start up and shut down from the dash. Just go with the Mini and autolaunch front row if that is what you want.

    2. P1900 of P2140 from Carnetix with the MacPac cable is what you need for power. Run 8 gauge wire directly from the battery to a distribution block with a fuse, then to the P1900 or P2140. The mp3car store sells the power supplies and cables.

    3. Xenarc or Lilliput with touch screen. The mp3car store sells them.

    4. I think you can buy a pre-made bezel for your dash. Check the mp3car store or this forum for leads on that. Search the Show off your project forum for cars like yours for ideas.

    5. External hard drive is the only way to do this with that much music. Initially, sync it up on the network using a cable or you'll be waiting a really, really, really long time to get it done over the wireless.

    6. Check the FAQ's in this section for how-to install a Mini. There's also a how-to video in my signature.

    7. Read, read, read the fourms. The FAQ emporium has lots of links to answer questions about installation. There is a link in my signature to a FAQ to the FAQ's.


    8. Soldering is EASY. Google "how to solder" for videos on how to do it. Test your skills on a couple of scraps of wire first, then you'll be ready. It is easy to do.
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