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Thread: Noob Looking for Suggestions Please

  1. #1
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    Noob Looking for Suggestions Please

    Hello all, I am totally new to car pc's and I need a little advice. I have a '99 Chevy Silverado Z-71 and plenty of old pc parts. I am trying to save as much money as I can, so I would like to utilize as many parts as possible. I have a AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (approx 1.53 GHz) on a Soyo Dragon Plus K7V motherboard, and a basic VGA video card. I can put up to 4 GB of DDR on this motherboard. I know that a lot of people on here use mobile pc tech. such as parted out laptops and such. My questions are, is it better to use desktop parts if already in possession of, or better to use mobile tech? I can build my own case, or just hide my existing case under my extended cab seat. I plan on running Win XP Home with all the updates on it, but I am also trying to figure out which front end is best. I tried the demo of Streetdeck and it seems pretty good, but also like Centrafuse as well. I apologize if this is posted in the wrong section. I am also a bit confused about power, weather or not I should use an inverter, or a dc-dc power supply. Here is a list of stuff I plan to have in my system:

    - motherboard with cpu
    - cpu fan
    - 2 case fans
    - standard VGA card
    - 1 HDD (250 GB or more, removable)
    - 1 DVD Rom drive
    - GPS receiver
    - OBD II interface for engine tuning/diagnostics
    - USB/ SD card reader hub
    - radio tuner

    There might be more added on later, but this is my goal so far. Since my Silverado only has a stock 1.5 DIN opening, and because I know absolutely nothing about fabricating with bondo, I am going with a 1 DIN in-dash touch screen display to replace my stereo. I have seen the Lilliput and Xenarc in-dash touch screens and have tried to read as many reviews as I can on both. I really don't care if they are motorized or not, I just want the best quality. I thought of trying to find someone to help my convert to a 2 DIN opening, I have read some of the posts on this site for people who have done the same with the same vehicles. I live in the Mid Missouri area, but will be in southern Arizona for 3 months starting July 1st for a military deployment. I am going to take as many parts with me as I can so I can build it while I am down there. It will give me something to do while I am away from home. I will use this site as my bible to get me through it all.

    In closing, please feel free to post suggestions on hardware, software, or just general how-to's I want this to be a clean and reliable system that has all the bells and whistles. My thanks to all.

    Plips_2002

  2. #2
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plips_2002 View Post
    My questions are, is it better to use desktop parts if already in possession of, or better to use mobile tech?
    Most members use standard desktoip PC parts, only smaller ones (Shuttle XPC, miniITX or microATX formfactors) for the sapce savings.

    I am also a bit confused about power, weather or not I should use an inverter, or a dc-dc power supply.
    DC-DC power supply is the better way to go for nearly every situation. The popular ones also have a startup/shutdown controller that will turn the PC on with your ignition, saving you from having to manually turn the PC on.
    I have seen the Lilliput and Xenarc in-dash touch screens and have tried to read as many reviews as I can on both. I really don't care if they are motorized or not, I just want the best quality.
    These are all first-generation units and they all have issues.

    In closing, please feel free to post suggestions on hardware, software, or just general how-to's I want this to be a clean and reliable system that has all the bells and whistles. My thanks to all.
    All the bells and whistles?
    I don't see a relay board to control door poppers and actuators for a bed cover.
    I don't see a second monitor, which should ideally be a flat-screen hi-def TV that is flush in the underside fo the bed cover and swings out when the bed cover is raised.
    I don't see air suspension control.
    I don't see any video recording.
    There's no HVAC control.

    You're missing lots of bells and whistles!

    Seriously, though, you've got a pretty good handle on what you need and want. The only thing I'd investigate is how well your radio tuner picks up a signal when it's inside your truck and you're rolling down the freeway at 70mph (or however fast you go). Most of them have horrible reception in a vehicle, since they are designed to be used on a stationary desktop PC.

    Welcome to the madness!
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



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  3. #3
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    Hey, thanks for the reply. I was possibly thinking on doing a custom fab on my center console, that way I could leave my stereo in place. I thought a FM tuner might not be the ideal way to go. You mentioned HVAC controls as extra bells and whistles, to what were you refering to? I appreciate the advice you have given me so far, it's getting me in the right direction. I am looking at some DC-DC psu's in the store area. Something about inverters doesn't sit well with me. I have limited electronics and programing knowledge, so I count of people like you to get me started. I plan on posting soem pics of my progress once I get started. Again, thanks.

  4. #4
    Newbie rationalpi's Avatar
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    custom dash fabrication is fun and easy.. you should totally do it. ;-)

    By fun and and easy i mean.. well actually it sucks, but i wouldn't trade the work i have done so far for anything. There is fun to ripping your car apart and then putting it back together. I also recommend making a custom case so you can show it off. Lights and windows.

    But yeah, welcome to the party, and have fun. Custom takes time.
    Planning: [==========] 100%
    Software: [======-----] 50%
    Installation: [========---] 70%
    (WorkLog) (Pictures)

    "Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but, unlike charity, it should end there." - Clare Booth Luce

  5. #5
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    Yeah, I don't mind tearing into my car or truck. I am going to purchase a stock dash bezel that matches mine off of ebay. That way, if I mess it up, I will still have my original dash bezel. I think it would be fun and pretty rewarding to do it all myself. I just don't want to get overwhelmed with too much on my first build. As for a custom case, I will have to do that anyway. I do have an extended cab, but it's still limited on space, so I was thinking of a Plexiglas case with some neons and quiet fans to let it breath. I am also concerned with power consumption, so I need to keep all those factors in mind. Thanks for the post.

  6. #6
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by plips_2002 View Post
    I thought a FM tuner might not be the ideal way to go.
    IT's a great idea, don't get me wrong.
    The problem is that most tuners for PCs are designed for stationaty use, not mobile use. If you want PC-based radio control, there is the HQCT that someone here developed. The mp3car.com store is also working on an HD Radio module. Both of these are specifically designed for mobile use.
    You mentioned HVAC controls as extra bells and whistles, to what were you refering to?
    Controlling heating and A/C from the PC. (HVAC = Heating, Ventilation And Cooling)
    Understand that this isn't possible in all vehicles. It all depends on whether you have mechanical or electronic HVAC controls. Obviously if they're electronic, there is a way to control them from a PC. It would not be a simple task to pull off, by any means. But it is possible.
    I appreciate the advice you have given me so far, it's getting me in the right direction. I am looking at some DC-DC psu's in the store area. Something about inverters doesn't sit well with me.
    Here's the deal with inverters for this sort of a project.
    A PC uses DC power. The PSU in your desktop converts the AC from your house into DC power for the PC. If you plug it into an inverter, you're converting the DC from the car to AC for the computer, and hte PSU converts it bacjk to DC for the PC to use. That whole process is inefficient, and the wasted energy is given off as heat. They are also usually poorly shielded, and are prone to inducing electrical noise into audio and video signals.
    I have limited electronics and programing knowledge, so I count of people like you to get me started. I plan on posting soem pics of my progress once I get started. Again, thanks.
    Better yet, start a worklog!
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



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