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Thread: Who here is going to install a mac into their car?

  1. #1
    Mac Car Moderator kandyman676's Avatar
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    Wink Who here is going to install a mac into their car?

    I've been going back and forth for the past few days between going with the new Mac Mini and a used iBook off ebay. However, the Mac Mini (new) I would want is the low end model, upgraded with 512MB of RAM and internal Wi-Fi and bluetooth for $705. I know if i just *wait*, it will pop up on ebay at a lower price eventually in a few months.

    I decided to go the ebayed iBook route, mainly since laptops offer the least problems for the car and already have a battery to help with voltage. my other major factor is that I have a verizon CDMA pc card from work, with unlimited internet access.

    who else here is going Mac in the car or already has? and with what equipment?
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    I'm pretty sure I'll do it. Just gotta make sure I've got the bucks to do it right and in one shot. I have a feeling the mini's will be in short supply right off the bat...
    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.
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    Kandyman,

    I just wanted to mention that the ibook does not have pc card slots...

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    Probably do it areound march or so. I'm waiting a bit for some cash and the more important part a good gps solution.

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    I'm working on it myself,12.1" touch screen in the dash,I've decided to use the upper end mac mini with a wireless card for updates,as well as 512mb.Route 66 software i think for gps,for now i'll just turn the font size up in itunes.12.1 runs 800x600,so nice big display.I'm running a firewire audio interface into my arc audio amps and then to componenets/subs.only thing i kinda need to find is a decent fm tuner.This is all going into a 01 dodge ram cummins

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    Quote Originally Posted by spdfrek
    only thing i kinda need to find is a decent fm tuner.
    I don't know if it's a decent tuner but Griffin makes the Radio Shark.
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    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?
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    Maximum Bitrate gork's Avatar
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    The radio shark is a fairly good tuner -- I have one. It's very nice that it delivers the audio via a USB audio interface rather than stealing the line-in. The AM reception is also nice, and it works well.

    I have already ordered a Mac Mini with anticipations to see what it takes to use it in the car (though this first one will not be used in the car). The power supply will be a MAJOR MAJOR hurdle for in-car use. Do not believe anyone who claims differently. It looks to have up to 8 pins and likely outputs several different regulated voltages. A specific DC-DC psu will have to be designed for it, or one will have to use an inverter; however, using an inverter is a completely unrealistic option as you will lose the ability of the mac mini to suspend-to-ram/sleep. OS/X takes a couple of minutes to boot, so this is a pretty poor way to go unless you want to leave the inverter running when your car is off! Luckily, OPUS apparently has expressed interest in doing a mac mini psu, so we can hope that they will get one together soon...

    Don't forget; though, that the Mac mini is not the only mac out there! You might be able to find a used ibook or powerbook (maybe even with a broken LCD) that would more easily be repurposed for car use than the mac mini. 1) The notebook psu is a single-voltage 19V unit and car power adaptors already exist for it. 2) There is a built in sleep switch (in the screen clip) that you could trigger with a relay on ignition to handle statup/shutdown without the need for a seperate controller and 3) when the power turns off and the thing goes to sleep the internal battery (if fully charged) will hold the thing for weeks in suspend without draining the car's battery.
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    Luckily, OPUS apparently has expressed interest in doing a mac mini psu.
    Alright!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gork
    OS/X takes a couple of minutes to boot, so this is a pretty poor way to go unless you want to leave the inverter running when your car is off!
    I agree with everything you said except for the above. I've run side by side boot tests of my Dell Latitude with Windows XP Pro and my G4 tower unit. The Mac always boots faster.

    Now, these two machines aren't comparable so it's not scientific but I can say that it doesn't take a couple of minutes to boot OSX. More like under a minute on contemporary machines.

    But you're right when you say the way to go is sleep. I can go months between rebooting my Mac and the wake up is perhaps 10 seconds from button push to using it. Very quick.
    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

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate gork's Avatar
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    Well obviously each setup is different, I guess. My powerbook (1.5Ghz) takes about 1 min 15s; my XP machine takes about 35s. This is probably mostly due to the hard drive speeds; notebooks with their slower drives take longer to boot than desktops, which is why you are seeing the exact opposite when comparing. When comparing apples to apples (bad pun; sorry), ie. if you compare a high end G5 to a high end XP unit, you will see that XP does indeed boot a litte bit faster -- especially considering this boot time INCLUDES the inordinate amount of time that PC's spend on POST before the OS is given control (Macs spend at most a second or two in OpenFirmware). However, unlike XP, OS/X actually doesn't need a horribly efficient boot process though as they have much better power management than your average PC. Most users even with non-laptop macs suspend them instead of shutting them down.

    All this considered, note that the mac mini uses a 2.5" drive (and probably only 4600RPM due to keeping the cost low), so the fresh-boot time WILL be a big issue with it. I maintain that it will still be unacceptable to run it in the car without suspend/resume (which will be instantaneous as on all current macs). It is highly unlikely that you will be able to get a mac mini booting in <30s like many XP-based car installs.. but then again you won't need to. Unlike many XP-based car installs, the power management has a good chance of actually working properly!

    As for my own install, the only real problems I have had with it have been due to power management. Either a device driver cannot deal properly with suspend/resume or hibernate (Most) or the hardware fails to manage power appropriately (ie VIA boards continue to consume massive quantities of power when "OFF") This is one of the main reasons for me to be looking at the mac for the car. Even before the mac mini was announced I have been trolling for a mac notebook with a broken screen to repurpose (and i'm still a a little on the edge of deciding that an ibook/powerbook might make a better carpc than a mini anyway)
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    See My Project Page for Details - 2003 BMW E46 ///M3
    Custom Dash Monitor Housing - OEM Fitment
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    BMW I-Bus Integration
    My homepage with many other fun projects!

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