Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: First car PC - input?

  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    14

    First car PC - input?

    I have been wanting to build a car PC for nearly a decade now, and have just never had the time/finances/appropriate car to do it with. The stars are finally aligning!

    Anywho, here goes.

    The car is an '86 BMW 325.

    I have this motherboard/CPU (freebie from a buddy cleaning out his computer closet...)
    http://www.giadatech.com/index.php?a...act=show&id=43

    I am considering this power supply. Is this overkill? I don't know how many watts the board will pull, it isn't really spec'd.
    http://store.mp3car.com/Mini_Box_pic..._p/pwr-036.htm

    I am also considering a BT/WiFi mini PCIe card along these lines.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atheros-802-...317#vi-content

    I have a 120 Gb hard drive.

    Since I will rarely use CDs, and will probably even trunk mount the PC (or under the front seat), should I omit the optical drive? I could simply use a USB based drive (either optical or flash) to load the OS, and transfer all files via WiFi or thumb drive.

    I am using a 12" monitor I got cheap on eBay and my Galaxy SII Skyrocket with Unified Remote (via bluetooth) for a keyboard/mouse.

    I also am going to be swapping in a new turbo motor with a MegaSquirt II standalone engine management system that will be attached to the PC (USB) for reatime engine monitoring.

    Thoughts? Anything I am forgetting?

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    on the border of northern IL/IN
    Posts
    5,820
    Quote Originally Posted by rtuite View Post
    I have been wanting to build a car PC for nearly a decade now, and have just never had the time/finances/appropriate car to do it with. The stars are finally aligning!

    Anywho, here goes.

    The car is an '86 BMW 325.

    I have this motherboard/CPU (freebie from a buddy cleaning out his computer closet...)
    http://www.giadatech.com/index.php?a...act=show&id=43
    welcome!

    i'm not familiar with the brand, but the cpu is decent, the graphics can help, but some front ends like centrafuse don't use graphics cards last i heard, so depending on the front end, it won't help--not a big deal, but something to keep in mind. back to the board--most of the reviews i've seen rate it like a mid-grade economy car-- it's good for normal transportation, but just don't expect to be doing on-the-fly video editing, etc..

    Quote Originally Posted by rtuite View Post
    I am considering this power supply. Is this overkill? I don't know how many watts the board will pull, it isn't really spec'd.
    http://store.mp3car.com/Mini_Box_pic..._p/pwr-036.htm
    no, i don't recommend this psu for in-car use. first, it has a unregulated 12v rail, secondly, it doesn't have a startup/shutdown controller. it's main purpose is for low-power home setups, where you would power it off a 12v wall plug adapter.

    instead, i recommend the m1, or m3-- both are a similar form factor as the pico psu, or the m2-- which is a lot bigger, but i've seen everything from a similar atom/fusion cpu setup all the way to i3 setups using one without issue.

    for the most part, that cpu is pretty low power, so i believe the m1 or m3 should be fine for the board alone, but that doesn't count any peripherals you might add. so before ordering, i'd recommend trying to nail down how you expect to use it, and what kind devices are going to need power.

    there are a lot of different power calculators online-- i can't seem to find the one i liked before, but there are some out there that will give you a good estimate for how much power the system will realistically consume.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtuite View Post
    I am also considering a BT/WiFi mini PCIe card along these lines.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atheros-802-...317#vi-content
    that looks like a good card. i especially like that it has dual antenna's-- i've found that's best for the strongest signal. but if you're going to bury the pc in your trunk, it could affect your reception.

    a lot of guys mount the wifi antenna's somewhere around the rear window, so your options for that are to either use a usb card, or use rp-sma extension cables.
    extension cables will have a lot of loss, so the mounting a usb dongle up there will be best in terms of signal strength.
    this is my experience with this issue:
    http://www.mp3car.com/wireless-commu...nna-array.html


    Quote Originally Posted by rtuite View Post
    I have a 120 Gb hard drive.
    sounds like a good start.. i'm only running a 160, and it's been plenty so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtuite View Post
    Since I will rarely use CDs, and will probably even trunk mount the PC (or under the front seat), should I omit the optical drive? I could simply use a USB based drive (either optical or flash) to load the OS, and transfer all files via WiFi or thumb drive.
    i use a spare optical drive to load the OS in the house, or you can always temporarily scavenge one from a in-house pc, as well as the power supply, so you don't need to sit in your car for hours on end installing everything. in fact, i'd recommend it that way.. it took me 3 months in the house to play with, and screw up enough stuff to figure out what, and how i wanted everything setup to finally go in the car.

    as for as installing a optical drive, it's completely personal preference. i've got one, and though i rarely use it, it comes in really handy for the days that i buy a new cd, and want to listen to it on the ride home(i no longer download music, the quality is too poor IMO, which slightly contributed to my forum name )

    there are plenty of installs that are 'drive-less' and they work perfectly fine-- most of the time, you can update the system over wifi or usb anyways, so there really isn't a need for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtuite View Post
    I am using a 12" monitor I got cheap on eBay and my Galaxy SII Skyrocket with Unified Remote (via bluetooth) for a keyboard/mouse.

    I also am going to be swapping in a new turbo motor with a MegaSquirt II standalone engine management system that will be attached to the PC (USB) for reatime engine monitoring.

    Thoughts? Anything I am forgetting?
    sounds like a plan.. you could also look into touch screen kits for the screen you got, so you don't need to rely on your phone for control(i hate relying on mobile devices to get part of my car to work)

    as far as the megasquirt, you're not the first one to come here using it, so i believe it's completely possible, but my interests lie in lighting and audio, so i can't help you there..

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    14
    Thank you for the detailed feedback! I especially appreciate the input on the power supply!

    so before ordering, i'd recommend trying to nail down how you expect to use it, and what kind devices are going to need power.
    I really only plan to use it for media (audio & video), so the only power sucking device I have will be the HD. I definitely plan to remove the optical drive.

    Another mounting option I have thought of is my glove box. These cars have an enormous glove box. Mine is filled mostly with crap I can throw away. The only thing I need to keep in there is the registration & insurance card, and there will be plenty of room left, even with this system in there. I can then run the antennae up to the top of the dash board with only a foot or 2 of extension, plus it will be closer for the dash mount USB. I was also considering running a audio line in to the PC from the same area.

    you could also look into touch screen kits for the screen you got, so you don't need to rely on your phone for control
    I actually prefer to use my android. I use it for a controller for my netbook all the time, and have really got the knack for it. I rarely travel without my phone, and even keep spare batteries. I am a huge phone ho, as my boss says. I plan to keep a mini USB keyboard with built in touch pad in the trunk in case of an emergency though. Reason I am steering clear of a touch screen is I have a hard time with keyboards I can't hold in my hand or type on normally.

    Also, any reccomendations on an interface? I literally just got Windows 7 installed, and am tinkering with some of the free ones (CarMa, openMobile, DriveLine) at the moment. I don't even have one installed yet. I am also looking at LinuxICE as well. I have only read the articles posted on theme here on mp3car (well, AutoAppMarket...) and they all seem geared for touchscreens (which I can appreciate...) Any of them work well with an external keyboard, or have some such configuration?

  4. #4
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    14
    Also, I am looking at the M2 & M3. They only seem to support 20 pin motherboards. The board I have is a standard ATX 2.0 24+4 pin. So, I assume that means I need to go with the M4?

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Boston MA
    Posts
    364
    There are 20-to-24 pin adapters. I think all they do is split 12V/5V rails into the extra 4 pins, so you could potentially just get a Molex->4Pin adapter and plug that in. Also, I think some motherboards work on 20pins even if they have a 24pin socket. Please do some research ahead of time or wait for someone else to confirm this - I don't want to be responsible for your frying your mobo
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    My Project: All-in-one Double Din Unit

  6. #6
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by nivanov View Post
    Please do some research ahead of time or wait for someone else to confirm this - I don't want to be responsible for your frying your mobo
    Well put! I may simply go with the M4, since it isn't much more money and there is peace of mind. Unless I find some positive info on splitting the 20 pin connector out...my only fear there is that it will overload such a small PSU on those particular pins.

  7. #7
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    on the border of northern IL/IN
    Posts
    5,820
    you won't hurt anything attempting to power the board off only 20 pins. if it is ok with that, it will boot and run as normal. if it actually requires all 24 pins, then it shouldn't even boot. the reports i've heard say the pc won't POST, but i could never find hardware to verify those reports. i used to work on a lot of old pc-based camera dvr's, and while i know some boards exist that require all 24 pins, in my 3 years repairing hundreds of dvr's, i never found a board that didn't work off of only 20 pins.

    my current carpc also has a 24 pin connector, and while i was able to load all the software on the bench via a 20pin connector, and it also ran successfully in the car off of only 20 pins, i installed a 20-to-24 just because it made me feel better..

    and the major issue with the m4 or dsatx psu's is that there are no cases that work with them, so if you were to ever update your setup to something that all fits in one case, those psu's need to be creatively mounted externally or something.


    as far as interface recommendations, the only one i think you're missing is ride runner. i know there have been others that use other methods of interfacing with the carpc, so i believe there are some options out there, though in the past, most people used a number pad for control, not a remote phone connection

  8. #8
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    14
    you won't hurt anything attempting to power the board off only 20 pins. if it is ok with that, it will boot and run as normal. if it actually requires all 24 pins, then it shouldn't even boot. the reports i've heard say the pc won't POST, but i could never find hardware to verify those reports. i used to work on a lot of old pc-based camera dvr's, and while i know some boards exist that require all 24 pins, in my 3 years repairing hundreds of dvr's, i never found a board that didn't work off of only 20 pins.
    What about the +4, the extra 4 pin plug aside from the main header? I have never tried to use a system without these installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    i know there have been others that use other methods of interfacing with the carpc, so i believe there are some options out there, though in the past, most people used a number pad for control, not a remote phone connection
    I am going to use an app called "Unified Remote" which will give me basic keyboard and mouse control. It is just like having a standard keybaord and mouse, plus I can configure custom remotes for specific apps.

  9. #9
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    on the border of northern IL/IN
    Posts
    5,820
    ah, those are usually required-- if you don't use it, the processor won't power up. i believe there is some hardware that doesn't really need it, but i never really got into testing it that way..

    but there are plenty of adapters like this to correct that:
    http://store.mp3car.com/4_Pin_P4_Mol..._p/cbl-056.htm

  10. #10
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    14
    That is what I thought. I know when they came out (back in the P4 days) that they provided power directly to the processor. I assume that is still the case. That being said, I am a bit surprised to see it on a low power board like this, but all boards these days seem to have that connector. Of course, it stands to reason if it were that common all of the power supplies sold on here would have them if that were the case.

Similar Threads

  1. Input Input Input Show Me Your Devices!
    By SjLucky in forum Input Devices
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-07-2012, 04:27 AM
  2. Replies: 10
    Last Post: 06-07-2006, 10:13 AM
  3. Aux-input/FM mod/Ipod/general Input question.
    By danielsaylor22 in forum Newbie
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 05-25-2006, 10:30 PM
  4. High Input and Low input
    By got2liv4him in forum Car Audio
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-10-2005, 11:38 AM
  5. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-20-2002, 09:32 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •