Ok, so as the title states, I'm new here. I've been reading through all the information here for the past few weeks and I just have to say this place is a wealth of knowledge. I've gained a lot of insight so far, and I'm sure I'll be picking your brains as I go. I'm currently in the planning stages, and I'm not rushing into anything. I'm new to carPC, and I think this is definitely a case of "measure twice, cut once".
I'll be working with a 99 Olds Alero. Originally my goal was simply a navigation solution. But I'm not a fan of having things stuck on my windows or dashboard, like a portable GPS. I found a GM INR (non-touchscreen) nav unit from a Buick Rendezvous for about $600 that would work with very little modification to the wiring, and would maintain the stock bezel untouched. But, never satisfied, I decided I wanted touchscreen instead. GM's TNR (touchscreen) nav units are a bit harder to find, and surely more expensive. But then I stumbled across mp3car.com. If a non-touchscreen GM nav unit is going to run me $600, shouldn't I just build my own? I think so! So here I am.
I am no stranger to building PC's. I started doing that back in the 486 days. I got A+ certified years ago, for what that's worth nowadays (I'm in accounting now...A+ psshh lol). I'm also no stranger to cars. There's very little that I'll send my car to a shop for. I do pretty much everything myself. Currently my subject vehicle is undergoing an overhaul. I've already completed engine repairs, and I'm currently swapping out the interior (to change colors). Everything is out, dash shell included. It seemed like the opportune time to do this. I'll be upgrading the stereo as well. I've got all new speakers, a pair of subs, and 2 amps. I've removed all of the craptastic GM speakers, factory amp, and wiring. I stripped it all out of the factory harnesses and am replacing it all with high quality wires, wrapped right back into the harnesses to maintain OEM appearances even in hidden areas. I'm 75% done running speaker wires, RCA cables and power wire to the appropriate areas, though nothing is terminated or hooked up yet. I need to finish up sound deadening before I put the speakers in and get the wires terminated.
I'm sure you'll catch on quick that I tend to be a little ADD and run off on tangents and jump around. Sorry! So, back to the carPC. My goal is a very compact install that will fit in the factory double din location. I'm working on measurements right now to fabricate a case to go in place of the factory HU. By fabbing my own, rather than re-using the OEM radio case, I can pick up a small bit of space, and anything I can pick up is a plus. I want the case to house as much as possible, to be substantially a self-contained unit, and I would like to not have to modify the factory bezel at all. Big challenge! I've been eyeing up the pico-ITX board, which would work nicely and afford me lots of space, but a nano-ITX board with support for 2GB RAM appears to be due out soon, so that is certainly something to consider. Right now, however, my biggest concern is the screen. I'm just not sure that the Lilliput 7" screen will work for me. Once I settle on a screen and get it affixed to the case, I can work out the details of the guts of the system. Careful planning before any work begins. I have a few questions that I will post to the appropriate forums soon.