I've been browsing this forum for a while, but finally decided to register because I can realy use your advice for my first "real" Car PC.
I'm going to give you a short introduction first, but you can safely skip this and proceed below.
I'm the proud owner of a 2004 Ford Fiesta:
(Clickable for more pictures)
So, somewhere at the beginning of this year, I got the bright idea to build myself the cheapest car-pc with basic functionality I could get. Because I had some experience with the console, and small-form factor motherboards where too expensive at the time, I decided to go with an Xbox.
I modified it, put a 250GB HD in it, and voila: I had a basic PC capable of organising and playing my music, videoclips, and even games.
Then it was time to start to think about how to get it actually working in the car.
First I bought myself the cheapest secondhand single-Din screen I could find (this one) and hooked it up. That actually was a breeze, so I could swiftly move on to thinking about how I would power the Xbox. At first I was thinking to do it the proper way by putting a 12v PSu in it, but hey then this inverter made for the Xbox got delivered on my doorstep for about $15.
So, I just connected a power cable from my battery, fused it, and connected it to a ground, and that was up and running. Later I put a relais on it that gets switched by the ignition, combine this with the fact that when you tape the Xbox power button down, and keep it down, it boots and keeps running, and you have an easy way to boot on ignition.
I then put the xbox beneath the passengers seat, connected to composite cable to the screen, connected the RCA audio to the aux-in of my car stereo, and voila, you have the most basic, but probably also the cheapest carpc setup you've ever seen (Spent less than $200 on it.)
In the end, it looked like this:
(Again, clickable for more!, and even a crappy video here)
Now here's the part where the questions rise: After playing around with this setup for a while, I'm wanting more .
I've recently bought me an MSI Wind netbook, and am impressed by it's allround performance. I immediately thought that If they could make a netbook for that money, I should be able to build a CarPC based on that hardware for even less money. And because it should'nt use more than 40W, it should be a lot easier on my battery than the P3 heat monster the Xbox is.
So, after a lot of searching around for the cheapest setup, I've come up with this. (Remember, this is a hobby project for me, and half the fun is to do it as cheap as possible.)
1x Intel D945GCLF2
1x 3rd Gen Black Aluminum Mini ITX Car PC Case Carputer
1x M3-ATX 125W DC to DC Automotive Carputer PSU
1x 1GB MDT 1 GB DDR2-667
1x 120GB Samsung SpinPoint MH80S
1x 7" USB Touch screen kit (I'll be keeping my current screen, an make it a Touch screen because the prices for a 7" Single-Din touch screen are just outrageous. I have a 7" touch screen PNA in my car that cost me hal the price of one of those.)
1x S-Video to Composite converter cable (From the motherboard to the screen)
Later I will add a USB Micro bluetooth receiver, and a PCI or USB Wifi card.
If I add it all togheter, I should have all that stuff for about €296 Shipping ncluded. (The fact that €1=$1,25 helps a lot.)
Now, my questions are:
a) Will all of this hardware be compatible?
b) Is this really the cheapest way I can build a system this small with this performance and a TV out, or are there cheaper components around?
c) Is there an easy way to make the PC Ignition controlled (Deep sleep & wake) using a PicoPSU? Because that would save me another 30$.
d) Do I have all the necessary components to get a running system (apart from an OS and frontend), Or did I forget something? (This will be the first system I build myself.)
So, thanks in advance to all those who read this long newbie post, and an even bigger thanks to everyone that can answer one, or even several of my questions.