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Thread: New Build - Looking for help.

  1. #1
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    New Build - Looking for help.

    Hello All,

    This is my first post so please be gentle.

    I have been lurking on this forum for quiet some time – looking at all my options and trying to decide the best fit for me in a carputer.

    I will be asking for advice and have multiple questions for my build.

    Let’s begin:

    Things I want to accomplish with my carputer:
    GPS – this is probably the most important item on the list.
    MP3 – I would like to play music files that I can ripped to my computer. Playback through car’s speakers.
    Movies – Would like to watch ripped movies I have. Playback through car’s speakers.
    Backup camera

    Hardware I was thinking about:
    Need advice: is the Intel Atom 330 (dual core) powerful enough to do as I want? If not, then I would probably get a motherboard that supports Intel Core 2 Duo running at 2.0 to 2.4 GHz.

    Motherboard – looking at a mini- or nano-ITX board with nVidia’s ION chip.
    PSU – looking to hook it up through the car battery and only power on the PC when the car is started.
    Processor – as mentioned above
    RAM – plan to get 1GB but it may be cheaper to get a 2GB matched set
    HDD – I am thinking of a 500GB model, but will take everyone’s advice if I should go bigger or smaller. I also read that 2.5 laptop drives are better for the car then desktop drives? Please comment on this.
    LCD – looking for a 7” or 8” touch screen model that is visible in the daylight. Cost will be the determining factor in this category.
    Software – there will not be much money floating around for this project – so free alternatives are appreciated. I had planned on running Linux for the OS but it appears some of the packages to the things I want to accomplish are not ready for mainstream. So would Win2K or XP work better? Any and all comments welcome. I really wanted to keep this open-sourced.
    GPS – not sure which is best here. Recommendations?

    My vision:
    I would like to have a somewhat “factory” look to it but do want to be able to unplug and take with me the LCD. I often leave my car in a lot for weeks on end while on business trips so I wouldn’t want the car to be broken into. Speaking of car – it is a 2009 Nissan Rogue.

    I would want to power the PC through the car’s battery but also have a switch hooked up for the days that I just need to pull the car out of the garage for a wash (not wanting to power the PC on). I have read people recommending two fuses (one close to the battery, not sure where the other one goes), if someone could explain in greater detail that would help.

    I have also read that having an amplifier hooked up to drive the speakers is easier to setup the carputer for MP3 and movie playback – I have no intentions of replacing the factory speakers, but will think of an amp if it makes it that much easier.

    Setup:
    I am by no means a car guy. So I will probably get the help of someone who knows a little more when the time comes to the build.

    My thoughts on the setup are this: 8 gauge coming off the battery, into a fuse (“size” of fuse??), from the fuse, running to the back of the car where both the amplifier (if I go that route) and carputer will be. Power wire will plug into the carputer’s PSU, a video wire, will travel back up to the front of the car for the LCD. I will not have a keyboard and mouse – but plan to set the carputer up in the house first to make sure all is working.

    For now that is it until the comments and recommendations come in.

    Thanks to all in advance.

    P.S. – Anyone know of a good reputable Canadian suppliers of any or all parts I need?

  2. #2
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    i got a little sidetracked, so some of this info might have already been posted...

    so far, it looks like you are on the right path, the fuse size really depends on the electrical load of the devices that you will be hooking up.

    the muliple fuse idea is cheap insurance for having more than one piece of equipment on the same wire-- for instance, a simple setup: a dsatx(integrated 25amp fuse), and and a 4x75 watt amp(integrated 25 amp fuse) the fuse by the battery would be 50 amps, and the fuses at the distrobution point would be 25 amps for each device. this way, if anything were to happen to the wire(pinched/cut/sheared) in between either the battery, or from the distrobution block to the device, you will not have to worry about electrical fires.

    as for the hdd, i would say that there are good and bad arguments for, and against, every type of hdd currently available. so, with that in mind, go with what you feel best fits your budget, and install.

    for the touchscreen, i have a convertible, and have been using the lilliput 629 w/ led backlight, and while it is not the best screen for sunlight readability, it works for me--i have increased the visibility slightly by using dark icons, and white text. so i would highly recommend that screen if you dont have the budget for the mp3car transflective(hands down, the best sunlight readable screen).

    for the amp, it really depends on the car, if you have a factory amplifier(i can't be sure but i think that model does) you might be able to use that instead of having to buy another amp.

  3. #3
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    For the fuses - let me see if I have a good picture:
    (wire run)
    Battery to 50 amp fuse to distribution block - (this now splits to carpc and amp) 25 fuse then the carpc then a second from the block 25 fuse to amp
    ?

    Pictures are worth 1000 words

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    is this a little better?


  5. #5
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    I am a n00b to car electronics...the distribution block "accepts" fuses? In that I put them in?

    And that pic looks great!

  6. #6
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    mspaint rocks!!

    there are distrobution blocks that accept fuses, otherwise, you can always use a non-fused block, and put the fuses in right after the distrobution block.

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    I don’t Post ever but I remember when I was Right where you are right now Ok lets start with this does your factory stereo system have a compact disk add option being a 09 model the answer is yes so I would do this and save a ton of headache and money This suggestion is a car stereo to pc interface I found doing research http://indashpc.org/new/ what it does is it allows you to keep your stock head unit amp and speakers it integrates the pc through the compact disk setting I personally have one in my cl600 Benz I have installed this interface on over 25 cars works great now that your sound end of the system is in place its time for a car pc purchase mp3 car has all the components needed you already know what you want in the system lilliput monitors are standard and they offer many different options I haven’t seen your model auto so I will not suggest mounting options. The motherboard this will be your most important selection as I have a whole grave yard of motherboards that lets just say don’t work. My suggestion is an Intel atom for several reasons cost and they really work. Anything comparable is going to require a high dollar motherboard and a purchase of a low power CPU. Here is a low cost board that I have been impressed with Intel D945GSEJT mini-ITX it has the power supply on board its ultra thin and it works well music, video, gps heck even any wifi internet with an additional purchase of a USB wifi modem. The only down fall I can find is it’s a single core CPU. Plus you have to use the front speaker inputs with your stock sound system it does supply line out for more complex applications than your stock radio supplies so all this means is purchase a case with the front jacks supplied to plug onto the motherboard front panel sound interface connector. Or check out this motherboard its the best atom on the market( my opinion)Zotac ION mini-ITX Dual Atom N330 spec: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M- 1 VGA/ DVI / HDMI- 6x Rear USB 2.0 - 1x eSATA - 1x PCIe- 2x DDR2 667 RAM - up to 4GB - 1 x 1x 10/100/1000 Mbit LAN - High Definition Audio- Power: 20 Pin ATX- RoHS compliant. Use at least a 150 watt smart psu (Pico) and another suggestion buy a amplifier install kit it has everything needed for the PC hardwire I hope this helps with your first build
    PS pay attention to the power requirements of each item you add to your system. An under powered power supply is frustrating and sometimes disastrous. When it comes to the power supply more is better.

  8. #8
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    surfpangea - Thanks for the information - as for that Zotac - that is one of the models I am looking at. I am either going to go for the Atom 330 (which is Dual core) or the other Zotac-ION that I supply the proc. which I was thinking of a 2.0GHz Intel, with a low thermal design power. As for the PSU - would you opt for something a little more power - I am not one to calculate the "needs" of the system - just up the wattage...I was looking at the mp3 shop and saw a 250 watt psu.

    The amp install kit you talk about - that has the power wires, fuses, etc...is that what you say when it has everything I need?

    Picking up the car next week sometime - I believe it have an AUX in for the head unit - what are peoples' thoughts on using that for the PC out?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by surfpangea View Post
    I don’t Post ever but I remember when I was Right where you are right now Ok lets start with this does your factory stereo system have a compact disk add option being a 09 model the answer is yes so I would do this and save a ton of headache and money This suggestion is a car stereo to pc interface I found doing research http://indashpc.org/new/ what it does is it allows you to keep your stock head unit amp and speakers it integrates the pc through the compact disk setting I personally have one in my cl600 Benz I have installed this interface on over 25 cars works great now that your sound end of the system is in place its time for a car pc purchase mp3 car has all the components needed you already know what you want in the system lilliput monitors are standard and they offer many different options I haven’t seen your model auto so I will not suggest mounting options. The motherboard this will be your most important selection as I have a whole grave yard of motherboards that lets just say don’t work. My suggestion is an Intel atom for several reasons cost and they really work. Anything comparable is going to require a high dollar motherboard and a purchase of a low power CPU. Here is a low cost board that I have been impressed with Intel D945GSEJT mini-ITX it has the power supply on board its ultra thin and it works well music, video, gps heck even any wifi internet with an additional purchase of a USB wifi modem. The only down fall I can find is it’s a single core CPU. Plus you have to use the front speaker inputs with your stock sound system it does supply line out for more complex applications than your stock radio supplies so all this means is purchase a case with the front jacks supplied to plug onto the motherboard front panel sound interface connector. Or check out this motherboard its the best atom on the market( my opinion)Zotac ION mini-ITX Dual Atom N330 spec: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M- 1 VGA/ DVI / HDMI- 6x Rear USB 2.0 - 1x eSATA - 1x PCIe- 2x DDR2 667 RAM - up to 4GB - 1 x 1x 10/100/1000 Mbit LAN - High Definition Audio- Power: 20 Pin ATX- RoHS compliant. Use at least a 150 watt smart psu (Pico) and another suggestion buy a amplifier install kit it has everything needed for the PC hardwire I hope this helps with your first build
    PS pay attention to the power requirements of each item you add to your system. An under powered power supply is frustrating and sometimes disastrous. When it comes to the power supply more is better.
    i agree with most of what you said, but from what i understand, the intel board with the integrated power supply requires regulated 12 volt input, and doesnt fare too well with more voltage. not a huge problem, just something to remember if you choose to go this route.

    if i had to do it all over again, i would have probably gone w/ a zotac board, and a better processor than the atom--but, i am using my computer for [heavy] audio processing (and have never had very good luck with intel boards), so your mileage may vary..

    the amp kit can make it very easy, it typically includes everything you would need-- fused power, ground, signal, and rca cables.

    using the aux into your radio would prabably be the easiest way.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    using the aux into your radio would prabably be the easiest way.
    How about quality? My wife isn't an audiophile but I don't want it to sound like $hit either. if you know what I mean.

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