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Thread: Test Rig

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Test Rig

    Hello,

    After lurking here for more than a year, I have begun putting together a car computer. My wife's 2005 Nissan Pathfinder accepts compact discs into the stock radio but is not giving them back. So naturally I can't just replace it; I must upgrade it!

    I have decided to use her car as a practice run to prepare for when I put a pc in my 56 Chevy Belair. Plans are pretty basic for her car and her "IT intolerance":
    1. Audio (MP3)
    2. Video (DVD)
    3. Navigation
    4. Radio (Maybe)

    I have an old Toshiba Laptop that was the kids, until they broke the screen, that will be the foundation of this experiment. It is a Satellite series A15-S127. It has a 2GHz Celleron, 256MB DDR RAM, 30GB HD, Wi-Fi, and DVD ROM drive. (I know ) The best part is I got it free and it was good for the kids' websurfing before they broke it.

    My dilemma is it has a dual monitor video card. I want to keep that ability. So I need to connect a 7" laptop lcd (non touchscreen) to my motherboard in place of the broken stock 12" and extend it to my wife's dash. Worst case scenario is I split the vga out signal to the dash and two headrest monitors, but I would rather not. I found these four 7.1" laptop lcds made by Toshiba:
    • Toshiba P000249560
    • Toshiba P000258270
    • Toshiba VF0186P01
    • Toshiba VF2012P01

    Any idea where I can find the pin outs of my on-board graphics connector and the connectors of these boards?

    Thanks guys/gals for the help.

    Mal

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Lightbulb (Uh-Ohh, I've been thinkin...)

    Since this is a trial run system, I want to upgrade later. So I decided to solder a vga port to the end of my video cable from the motherboard. This will allow me to use any lcd I choose now. It will also let me simply remove the laptop base and install an itx based system later.
    I found a vga port w/ cable on the web. I am still looking for a wiring diagram of the A15-S127 video cable. But if I cannot find one to let me solder myself, I found a laptop repair shop that will do it for me at a reasonable price.

    Any help/suggestions/feedback?

    Mal
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  3. #3
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    I can't really help you on your laptop issues, but I do have some advice. Don't use your wife's vehicle as a practice run. These things take a LOT of tinkering to get them just right, even with more standard hardware. It will not be tolerable to someone, such as your wife, who wants to be able to just listen to music, and just have it work reliably, and easily.

    So my advice would be to tinker all you want with your own car, and just fix/replace your wife's broken head unit.

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kross View Post
    I can't really help you on your laptop issues, but I do have some advice. Don't use your wife's vehicle as a practice run. These things take a LOT of tinkering to get them just right, even with more standard hardware. It will not be tolerable to someone, such as your wife, who wants to be able to just listen to music, and just have it work reliably, and easily.

    So my advice would be to tinker all you want with your own car, and just fix/replace your wife's broken head unit.
    It's looking more and more like you may be right. No matter how hard I look, I just can't get comfrtable enough knowing MY wife will be operating some of these I/O devices on the road. I know none of them will work as easily as her stock CD player and I know she won't understand that. It just stinks though because everytime we take a road trip, we use her SUV.


    Mal

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    So use your car as the first run. Then after you get it perfected, and let your wife try it out for a while, you can do a second installation in your wife's car. Only now you will have learned a lot, and will do it better, and faster.

    Back to your original question, though. Do you have to fix/replace the broken screen? Can't you just plug a monitor into the external VGA or DVI port instead?

    -- Kevin

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kross View Post
    So use your car as the first run. Then after you get it perfected, and let your wife try it out for a while, you can do a second installation in your wife's car. Only now you will have learned a lot, and will do it better, and faster.

    Back to your original question, though. Do you have to fix/replace the broken screen? Can't you just plug a monitor into the external VGA or DVI port instead?

    -- Kevin
    I'm not tryin to fix the broken screen. I'm trying to keep the dual screen attribute that came standard w/ the laptop. That requires using the main video out off the motherboard in some way. The aux vga out works fine (actually both video outputs work fine). I hooked it to a spare crt I have in the house. I was hoping to use the main screen in the dash for nav and slide a dvd movie to the aux output sent to headrest screens.

    Mal

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    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4ofakind View Post
    I'm not tryin to fix the broken screen. I'm trying to keep the dual screen attribute that came standard w/ the laptop. That requires using the main video out off the motherboard in some way. The aux vga out works fine (actually both video outputs work fine). I hooked it to a spare crt I have in the house. I was hoping to use the main screen in the dash for nav and slide a dvd movie to the aux output sent to headrest screens.

    Mal
    becasue you want dual output, and it is going into the wifes car, i would highly recommend a higher end navigation unit that supports dual mode, and has a aux input-- this way, you can still hook up a laptop and play music(though you might need a vga-tv convertor to get the video to disaplay)...

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate 4ofakind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    becasue you want dual output, and it is going into the wifes car, i would highly recommend a higher end navigation unit that supports dual mode, and has a aux input-- this way, you can still hook up a laptop and play music(though you might need a vga-tv convertor to get the video to disaplay)...
    thanks Sound,

    But I found a Clarion VX409 for under $500 plus a couple other lesser brands for less than that. If I choose to just forego the PC in her car, I will use one of them + two headrest screens. They all have touchsreens, dvd playback, am/fm, and navigation. For the same price I could install the PC w/ all that (maybe not radio but who cares) + internet. I know the HUs are better for her (easier to use) just being stubborn. I like building things.

    Still looking for a Toshiba A15 S127 lcd video cable wiring diagram.

    Mal

  9. #9
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    i completely understand you prefering to build something than buy it (i also prefer to spend at least as much as an item, and take 2 months building it than to buy it), but when the device is going to be installed for someone else, who isn't as computer literate as others, it is best to go the easiest, least troublesome way. and while the initial carputer cost looks low, there are alot of little things that add up after you start building-- i would estimate(i don't really know and don't want to know) that my small $600 project has grown to around $1k-2k, the cost of some very nice navigation units...

    i just do not believe that you should ever build a car computer based only on cost comparison, there are just too many variables-- there are plenty of posts on $100+ items members have had to scrap after messing something up or replace after poor design (my 3 sound cards :cough: :cough...


    for the navigation units, try not to cheap out on them(the clarion seems decent)-- from what i have read, the lower end units have poorer routing engines, and not as good of maps-- so it could be problematic to rely on all the time.


    i remember seeing other laptop pinout requests here, most go unanswered only because every laptop is different-- there is no set standard that any manufacturere uses for wiring them.

    one of the other options would be to use the vga output, and a usb vga adapter-- i beleive this would also get you both video signals

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    one of the other options would be to use the vga output, and a usb vga adapter-- i beleive this would also get you both video signals
    I just remembered the Mimo USB monitors. Just plug the monitor into a USB port, and you have a second display. No VGA port needed. However, they do put some load on the CPU, so if you have an older laptop, it may or may not be up to the task.

    MiMo UM-Series USB Screens

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