I'm considering using a Viewsonic Viewpad 1000 Tablet as a CarPC. According to its specs, the power rating is:
AC Adapter - 90 - 265V AC 50/60Hz; 16V DC Output Voltage; 2.0A 40W Power Output
Considering that it has such low power usage, would it be a viable option to use an inverter like this in the 12v power outlet (cig lighter spot) - Click here
Also, I was thinking of not directly mounting the tablet onto the car, rather sort of have a mounting arm or a similar concept so that the tablet can be removed easily and any given point and be somewhat movable (it will be removed basically anytime I leave the car to prevent theft). What is a good option for this? I've seen some fancy swing-arm mounts on ebay, but I was looking for something that could hold my tablet vertically (facing me), as the ones of ebay are perpendicular (more for laptops that have a full keyboard).
I wasn't even aware a forum like this existed, I'm glad there are people who like having a PC in their cars
I suggest looking for an "auto/air" adapter for your laptop that you can use in the car. Reason being (as far as I know) that the DC-DC regulators in the store dont output 16v, so you wont be able to utilize them. But the point is DC-AC-DC is rediculously inefficient and ugly. Also they have been known to induce noise (sort of a whine or high pitched squeal from your speakers that increases in pitch the higher the RPM).
So an auto/air adapter basically should come with a cigaratte lighter adapter that will take 12-14v car input voltage (or airplane voltage), and give you a stable 16v out for your laptop. Usually these are made by the manufacturer. I would put this as a high priority when deciding which tablet to purchase.
If your manufacturer does not make an auto/air adapter, then look at the iGo series of adapters. I used to sell them in RadioShack, and I have quite a few of them. Basically you buy 1 unit, and then interchange the tips to power different devices. So 1 charger can be used with all your electronics. Pretty nifty idea, but the main unit itself can be pricy for the laptop (high power) one. If you can get one while they are on sale, or find one on eBay it is an awesome tool to have. The tips themselves only cost $10 new, so the more stuff you power the more you save.
Last reccommendation would be to get a non-Wacom tablet. I have had 2 tablets (typing on 1 now) both with Wacom tablets. They are awesome and have everything I could want, but the catch is that they use little induced electric fields from the pen. So in the car, you would need to use the pen to touch the screen, because it is designed so that your finger (or wrist when writing on the screen) has no effect on the touch. I think HP is the people that use the crappier version of the touchscreen, but the good side (for CarPC's that is) is that it works with anything. I cant remember if it is resistive or capacitive, but I do believe it works with objects other than your finger too. But if you could touch the screen with your finger, it adds to a more OEM feel. Of course any gooseneck mount is going to be pretty "ghetto" in my opinion, but to each his own.
If you wont be using the tablet feature for anything else other than in the car, I suggest getting a regular laptop and using the price difference to buy a VGA screen. Even an indash one. It will look better, and cost the same. A regular computer with some specs, usually costs $400 or more less, than a tablet with the same specs. Use that $400 for a flipout screen, and a laptop dock and you will be set.
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Thanks for the responses. I already purchased the Viewpad 1000 (for around $150 off ebay), so I'm not going to be switching to another system. The screen is resistive, so using my finger should be fine.
I'll have a look at trying to get one of the iGo adapters instead then, hopefully it has a head to fit into my tablet.
Still need some ideas on how to mount the tablet onto the car though. I want to be able to remove it at will, so building it into the dash is not really an option. Only thing I can think of is getting a gooseneck mount that can be parallel to me. Any suggestions? The car in question is a 2007 Civic Coupe.
Not too worried about my wiring, I'll be making it really clean