Let me start by saying WOW! I had no idea so many people have already done this! Let me explain.
I'm a dreamer. About a month ago out of nowhere I turned to my brother and said "Instead of putting an 80gb iPod into your car, why not plug up a 500gb hard drive?" From there, the statement spawned a whole brainstorm of ideas. "In order to have a hard drive, you'd need a computer to run it. If there's a computer, then why limit yourself to just mp3's? Why not go with movies, gps, wireless broadband internet.. Why not replace the whole radio with a computer... Just slap in an AM/FM tuner. Since there's computer diagnostics in the engine, why not use the computer to 'tap' into this for a readout on the monitor? Why not replace the entire front dash panel with a custom LCD display showing MPH/RPM & all warning lights/etc." the ideas were endless. At first, it was just a dream, a wild idea i had one day that would be "cool" if it could be a reality.
Since I envisioned it, why not create it, right? I could be RICH! So, I started to do research, and what do you know... Someone's already come up with my idea. In fact, it seems that THOUSANDS of people have. lol!
Since I'm not the first, I figured its a good thing. I now have people I can turn to when I need help. People that have already 'been there done that'. Wont be rich in the end, but I wont be bald from pulling my own hair out with frustrations of uncharted dead-ends.
Ok - so for the past week I've been planning this out piece by piece - separating reality from my dream - and I've come to a final decision that will make things much much simpler for myself. Basically it all comes down to simplicity for now, with room for upgrades/improvements. I'm starting with a simple Radio/CD/MP3 replacement. I'll add other things like GPS/Internet/Wifi/Bluetooth/Diagnostics/Hands-free-phone later (much later).
Upon deciding this starting plan, I've come to realize this is going to be much harder than I originally anticipated, and this is all only in my head still. I havent even planned out on paper haha!
My 2 MAJOR concerns are power & heat.
I live in Houston, Texas. It can get about 110+F in the summer, which means inside the car could be much much higher (I'm guessing 150-200F). All I know is that its hot enough to heat up a coke can in my backseat enough to burn my hands when I go to remove it later. Last thing I need is to get in my car one day to find my computer has melted or to have the CPU frying. Not fun. Only thing I can think of is the trunk (but is this cool enough to prevent problems?) with maybe a water cooler (or A/C) heat sync system (not cheap)... This doesn't seem worth it to me at all (obviously).
And with power. I already have 2x12" kicker CVRs powered by a 1400 watt Logic amp and 2 6x9's powered by an 800 watt generic amp with my 4 regular speakers (not on an amp) in the front of the car.. This in itself is pulling enough juice to make my lights barely dim on deep bass thumps (even while the engine is running). What happens if I throw a computer on top of all that? Major fryage, I'm sure..
If anyone is interested, I'm driving a 1995 Acura Integra LS. I absolutely LOVE this car! hehehe - What better way to show my car some love by putting a computer into it to bump up the "cool" factor a few more notches?
Anyways - I know there's no real questions in this post at all - HAH! Just wanted to make my entrance and say hello to everyone. Over the next few weeks I'm sure I'll have like a gajillion questions as my planning gets more serious - might even make it to paper this weekend! :P