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Thread: Newbie need help for a cheap carputer

  1. #1
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    Newbie need help for a cheap carputer

    Hi Guys,

    I'm a Canadian guy who's very interested to put a carputer in my car Jetta TDI 2005

    At the beginning the only thing I was looking for is to get a new radio with built-in navigation/gps system.
    I found cheap system that included 7" touchscreen, navigation, dvd, bluetooth and camera possibility, but did'nt like the interface skin.

    So after a little bit of search I found this website and was amazed by wath you guys have done.
    I read the FAQ and Carputer 101 pages at least 5 times and read a lot of threads also.

    I had in my mind a budget of 400$ to make my carputer. (I know it's not a lot...but I'm sure I can do it)
    From that budget I already bought:
    7" Wide-Digital TFT-LCD Screen (IN - DASH MOTORIZED FLIP-OUT) 195$
    USB CABLE+MONSTER AUDIO CABLE (RCA CABLE)+VGA CABLE 15$
    USB GPS RECEIVER 25$
    BLUE SOLEIL BLUETOOTH RECEIVER ($0 already had it)
    USB DVD 10$

    So I have 155$ to finish my project.
    I still need to buy:
    carputer (motherboard, memory, hd)
    fm receiver
    Amplifier ??? (I would like to use the one that is already in my jetta)
    dc-dc power supply

    To save on my budget I could use a cheap desktop (15$)
    INTEL PENTIUM 3, 800MHZ
    40 GB
    Video Card: nvidia geforce2 MX100/200
    CD Burner 4x RW, 8x W, 32x lecture
    CD 32x
    Network Card 10/100
    Ram: 192mo
    USB Port

    Any suggestion or experience would be appreciated.

    Regards,
    WillPower

  2. #2
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    P3 is probably too weak to be useful and 192mb of RAM won't cut it.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  3. #3
    FLAC
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    you can get really cheap computer, around 40dollars, but they're usually P4/celeron, which means that you're gonna need at least an m2atx/opus150/dsatx to power it, which cost over 100, or u can find them used. m2atx has problem with cold temp i believe. Or cheaper, but more problematic (little/non startup/shutdown features) is the power inverter. You're likely to get noise with a power inverter, but with your budget, its hard to do anything else.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    P3 is probably too weak to be useful and 192mb of RAM won't cut it.

    Ok so what should I get...? P4 1.2mhz 512mb of Ram?
    It's just that in the FAQ they are telling us that we have to select low power consumption machine.

    Let's say I buy a HP E-PC 42:
    Hard Drive :40 GB
    Memory (RAM):512 MB
    Processor Type: Intel Pentium 4 1.70 GHz

    If I buy the AC Car adapter that can be plug with it, would I need to buy a dc-dc power supply?

  5. #5
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    You should get something faster but your budget is only $150 after buying a screen and some miscellaneous parts.

    How about this:

    1. Motherboard - Intel D201GLY -$74 in the mp3car store
    2. Memory - 1GB memory - $30
    3. M1 or M2-ATX DC-DC power supply from the classifieds - $50
    4. You must be able to come up with a cheap disk drive for it. Know anyone with a dead TIVO? Use that, or buy that junker PC you mentioned and steal the drive out of it.

    Options to lower the cost of number 3 - buy the $15 PC and use the power supply from it and an inexpensive inverter to power the D201GLY. Buy an inexpensive inverter at Wal-mart. Test it to see if it will work with the PC.

    Save money to buy a real DC-DC supply in the meantime.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate billmee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WILLPOWER View Post
    Ok so what should I get...? P4 1.2mhz 512mb of Ram?
    It's just that in the FAQ they are telling us that we have to select low power consumption machine.

    Let's say I buy a HP E-PC 42:
    Hard Drive :40 GB
    Memory (RAM):512 MB
    Processor Type: Intel Pentium 4 1.70 GHz

    If I buy the AC Car adapter that can be plug with it, would I need to buy a dc-dc power supply?
    My E-Pc 42 is more than sufficient.
    I recently bought 2 for US$76 on ebay.

    I've also used the E-PC 40.

    Right now the psu is a Carnetix but have used an Inverter in the past.

    Price list ( from memory )
    Liliput $255
    E-PC42 $38
    Win Xp restore disk from HP $33
    Tripplite 300 Watt inverter $50 ( overstock.com )
    Cables ???


    BTW my pc is Diesel powered too!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by billmee View Post
    My E-Pc 42 is more than sufficient.
    I recently bought 2 for US$76 on ebay.

    I've also used the E-PC 40.

    Right now the psu is a Carnetix but have used an Inverter in the past.

    Price list ( from memory )
    Liliput $255
    E-PC42 $38
    Win Xp restore disk from HP $33
    Tripplite 300 Watt inverter $50 ( overstock.com )
    Cables ???


    BTW my pc is Diesel powered too!
    Great! I think that I'm gonna do my first carputer using a E-PC 42.
    What did you decided to do regarding shutdown/startup? are you the one who directly plug is computer on the ignition and there was like no shut down ...I mean when you stopped the car the power to the computer was automatically shut down and at start up the power to computer as back so the computer was only rebooting?

  8. #8
    Variable Bitrate billmee's Avatar
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    Initially I used an inverter with a switch on the dash.
    The E-PC 40(42) will turn on when power is switched on.
    I used a relay to isolate the psu from car's power source.

    Now I use a Carnetix psu + a 19v laptop adapter + a bosch type relay. When the car is turned on the accessory signal turns on the carnetix and it trips a relay for the 19v adapter.
    The acc sig also hits the serial port where Windows XP monitors it as the UPS shutdown signal.

    The power is mounted behind a panel in the hatch where the cd changer used to be. The pc is attached to the panel.

    All power is taken from the cig lighter wires they are more than adequate for this setup.

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate Grrrmachine's Avatar
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    I think if this is your first project then the P3-800 for $15 will be fine - that's all Im running (with a bit more memory to be fair) and it runs GPS, winamp and a wifi network on Windows XP just fine. I also managed to get my Opus 150 second-hand, so I can upgrade the PC later on if I want to. Spend your saved cash on some proper power cables and fuses from the battery (no fire-risky inverters or cigarette lighter plugs), and the special cable I think you need to use the VW MONSOON amplifier in the car.

  10. #10
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    Ok let say I go with the Hp E-PC...what would be the best and cheap way to power it safely? (I don't want a fire in my car...)

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