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Thread: i have alot of questions

  1. #1
    Newbie Kalealmighty's Avatar
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    i have alot of questions

    i want to put a mac mini in my f150

    but i wanna know
    first.. is it worth it lol

    how do you do audio out?
    and still have bass and good quality

    also how are you guys powering these? inverter?

    also best brand of screen? is a touchscreen worth it?


    thanks all
    id really appreciate some info

  2. #2
    FLAC
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    Wow, I'm about to give you a lot to go research.

    It's totally worth it when you get it running because it's totally customizable and you can add things to it for pennies. If you buy a flip out DVD player from Futureshop and want to add GPS it's about $400 for the unit. If you want to add GPS to your car computer it's $50 for the USB receiver and $100 for the maps.

    Audio out can be done 1 of 2 ways:
    1. If you keep a traditional CD player in the dash, you can run the audio out cable from your computer to the RCA input on the back of the headunit. If you want to play a CD like normal, just pop it in. If you want to listen to music from the computer, switch your headunit to AUX and voila. The signal is amplified by the headunit so that's all you need to do. The major problem with this is trying to put a headunit and a touchscreen in your dash.
    2. If you don't keep your regular CD player like myself, the audio can come out of the computer and into a regular 2/4 channel amplifier. Then from there out to your speakers, but either way the signal from the computer has to be amplified before hitting the speakers. And some people prefer to pre-amp before hitting the amplifier however that's another issue.

    Most computers I know of are powered by a DC-DC power supply which takes a 12 volt signal straight from the battery. These have many benefits like powering down so they don't drain the battery, startup/shutdown controllers and less install space. You can use an inverter if you want but they don't have startup/shutdown controllers so your computer won't know when your truck turns on/off. You'll have to manually reach down and hit the power button each time you get in/out of your truck and that will suck big time. Or you can use a custom controller but why not just spend the $60 on a DC-DC power supply? If you use an inverter you'll be taking the DC signal from the truck, using the inverter to convert it to AC signal, sending it to the computer power supply where it gets changed back to a DC signal and then powers the computer. Thus you get signal degradation.

    If you don't use a touchscreen.....well.....I pity you. some people prefer the touchpad mouse or thumb mouse, I don't know how they do it. It's just much easier to have the buttons on the screen and you touch what you want. Plus your passenger who wants to choose music knows how to use it instead of trying to figure out your mouse setup.
    Right now there are sunlight readable and non sunlight readable, the difference is about $300 between them. Personally I just bought a Xenarc which has a 1000 NIT and simply tries to outshine the sun instead of using the sunlight readable technology. It's bearable for me. If you don't go sunlight readable, the brands are pretty much Lilliput and Xenarc and from what I see on the forums the Lilliput is kind of a cheaper make which is why it's a cheaper cost. I chose the Xenarc because it still works at -40 degrees celsius here where people say the Lilliputs crap out. It also has automatic backup camera switching and stuff, you really need to research the features of each. MP3CAR has their own line of monitors as well but I can't tell if they're just rebranded Lilliputs or what they are.
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  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate VmtSquad's Avatar
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    ^^Thats a nice spoon feeding post
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  4. #4
    Newbie Kalealmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maheriano View Post
    Wow, I'm about to give you a lot to go research.

    It's totally worth it when you get it running because it's totally customizable and you can add things to it for pennies. If you buy a flip out DVD player from Futureshop and want to add GPS it's about $400 for the unit. If you want to add GPS to your car computer it's $50 for the USB receiver and $100 for the maps.

    Audio out can be done 1 of 2 ways:
    1. If you keep a traditional CD player in the dash, you can run the audio out cable from your computer to the RCA input on the back of the headunit. If you want to play a CD like normal, just pop it in. If you want to listen to music from the computer, switch your headunit to AUX and voila. The signal is amplified by the headunit so that's all you need to do. The major problem with this is trying to put a headunit and a touchscreen in your dash.
    2. If you don't keep your regular CD player like myself, the audio can come out of the computer and into a regular 2/4 channel amplifier. Then from there out to your speakers, but either way the signal from the computer has to be amplified before hitting the speakers. And some people prefer to pre-amp before hitting the amplifier however that's another issue.

    Most computers I know of are powered by a DC-DC power supply which takes a 12 volt signal straight from the battery. These have many benefits like powering down so they don't drain the battery, startup/shutdown controllers and less install space. You can use an inverter if you want but they don't have startup/shutdown controllers so your computer won't know when your truck turns on/off. You'll have to manually reach down and hit the power button each time you get in/out of your truck and that will suck big time. Or you can use a custom controller but why not just spend the $60 on a DC-DC power supply? If you use an inverter you'll be taking the DC signal from the truck, using the inverter to convert it to AC signal, sending it to the computer power supply where it gets changed back to a DC signal and then powers the computer. Thus you get signal degradation.

    If you don't use a touchscreen.....well.....I pity you. some people prefer the touchpad mouse or thumb mouse, I don't know how they do it. It's just much easier to have the buttons on the screen and you touch what you want. Plus your passenger who wants to choose music knows how to use it instead of trying to figure out your mouse setup.
    Right now there are sunlight readable and non sunlight readable, the difference is about $300 between them. Personally I just bought a Xenarc which has a 1000 NIT and simply tries to outshine the sun instead of using the sunlight readable technology. It's bearable for me. If you don't go sunlight readable, the brands are pretty much Lilliput and Xenarc and from what I see on the forums the Lilliput is kind of a cheaper make which is why it's a cheaper cost. I chose the Xenarc because it still works at -40 degrees celsius here where people say the Lilliputs crap out. It also has automatic backup camera switching and stuff, you really need to research the features of each. MP3CAR has their own line of monitors as well but I can't tell if they're just rebranded Lilliputs or what they are.



    ... wow
    thankyou so much that is alot of awesome information
    i will deffinately do a touch screen for sure and i think as soon as i get the money i will go out and buy a mac mini! i dont want this to be a "Budget build" i wanna do it all the way

    where can i get a power supply?

  5. #5
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    You can find one on carnetix: http://carnetix.com/
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  6. #6
    FLAC Machinehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalealmighty View Post
    first.. is it worth it lol
    That's a really tough question to answer. It depends on a few things but Maheriano had some good thoughts on it. Personally, I'm happy with my CarPC, but I can't say it was always that way. It took a lot of work to get it to that point and a lot of frustration in the process. There are days I wish I went with a headunit, iPod and a garmin GPS unit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalealmighty View Post
    how do you do audio out?
    and still have bass and good quality
    I'm using an external sound card. There are a few options depending on how crazy you want to go sound quality-wise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalealmighty View Post
    also how are you guys powering these? inverter?
    greghy90 mentioned Carnetix, which is what I'm running. Other than an inverter they are your only option to power a mac mini,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalealmighty View Post
    also best brand of screen? is a touchscreen worth it?
    A touch screen is definitely worth it, I've had both a Liliput and a Xenarc, I prefer Xenarc, it's much higher quality.

  7. #7
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalealmighty View Post
    i want to put a mac mini in my f150

    but i wanna know
    first.. is it worth it lol
    I am of the general opinion that by asking this question, you will find it is not worth it.

    Let's face facts: Installing a PC in your ride is a never-ending project. There is always something to do with or for the PC in your ride, whether it's replacing hardware with something better, software & OS updates, new features & functionality, or even cleaning up the wiring to look pretty.

    If you want a system that simply "does what you want", then you need to look at headunits with GPS nav capability and any other features/functionality you want.
    A PC-based solution is not as simple as "install it and forget it".
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



    Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

  8. #8
    FLAC Machinehead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarquePervert View Post
    A PC-based solution is not as simple as "install it and forget it".
    Too true, one day your CarPC may function perfectly, the next it may not want to boot up.

  9. #9
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    i been wanting to do the same but im hold cause as of right now i have a kenwood dnx 7120 all im missing is bluetooth.

    i have a mac mini powerpc at home doing nothing & thinking of putting in the car but all i see use for it is for media, & i dont think its worth it for me

    good luck in what u decide & maybe one day i give in & put my mini in my car

    btw i still love coming to this site to read up & look @ other peoples project

  10. #10
    Newbie Kalealmighty's Avatar
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    awesome!!! thanks again ,
    and yes this is a project i want to keep going because in my spare time i get really bored and i know it is probably going to be tuff but i think in the end it is all going to be worth it...

    a 7" or 8" screen.... does that look big enough? enough room to navigate around?

    and what about a flip out monitor like this one
    https://www.xenarcdirect.com/product...cat=253&page=1

    anybody have any information on these?

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