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Thread: In research stage, need help.

  1. #1
    Newbie ploogle's Avatar
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    In research stage, need help.

    I'm not by any means new to computers, but I am new to the concept of a Car PC. There's no way I'm not going to have one in my car now that I know about it, but I need some help getting started.

    I researched the basic setup, so I think I have a good idea of how the whole system is going to fit together, as well as where it'll all go. I just have a few questions for anyone willing to help a newb out!

    How exactly do I connect the sound output from the PC to the car? I've heard of something like Car2PC; is that the right thing?

    How do I hook the PC up to the car's power, so that it powers up when I turn the key?

    I'm not very good with cars. How easy is it to install a basic rig (touch screen and case) ?

    Say I want to have one of those Griffin knobs to control volume. Do I need to have an ugly cord dangling from the front of the rig, or is there a nicer looking way? For that matter, how do I hook up the VGA cable to the back of the system? If the system is in the same place as my current radio/CD player, how the heck do I get the cord to the back?

    Thanks in advance for all your help and patience with a Car PC newb!

  2. #2
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    ploogle,

    There are a couple of good threads talking about the Griffen Powermate and the Space Navigator (my personal preference). Check out the Input Devices sub-forum.

    As for your questions about how to connect the CarPC audio to your car, how easy in a basic installation, cord management, connecting to the screen....these are all specific to your car and what type of setup you choose.

    For some cars, you can get a bezel that replaces your existing stereo and a touchscreen will pop right in. For other cars this isn't an option so folks have had to fabricate a custom bezel/mount from scratch...and this is a lot of work to get it to look good.

    I took the REALLY lazy route and utilized my car's existing Navigation System screen as my CarPC's display.

    As I'm sure everyone here will agree with, my first suggestion to you is...read. Use the search tool to find threads about the questions you have and the devices you want to install. There are very few "common" problems that haven't been discussed many many times on these forums.

    Another suggestion I would make; take a look at the mp3car Gatherings sub-forum. See if there's something going on in your local area. You can learn quite a bit from the forums but, I don't think anything beats a hands-on view of a good installation...and spending a half-hour picking the brain of someone who's done this before.

    At the MD/DC/VA meet, we sometimes have 7 or 8 cars there...all different makes and models of vehicles, all different levels of installation, all different types of computers, screens, input devices, etc.

    There's no "right answer" when it comes to CarPC's. It depends on your needs and on your particular situation.

    To answer your question about the audio...at least for ME...and my particular setup; I bought an Aux interface for my factory headunit...made by VaisTech. This gives me 2 dry AUX inputs to the stereo. I just ran a cable from the PC's Line-Out into the input on the Vais unit. Works well for me but, these devices only work on Toyota and Lexus cars. However, there are other manufacturers that make similar interfaces for various brands of cars. Unless you're driving something really obscure, it shouldn't be a problem.

    That brings up another question you need to answer before you even start. Are you going to use the CarPC as an add-on to your factory stereo (as I did) or are you going to REPLACE your stereo with the CarPC? Again, there are pluses and minuses to both methods.

    One final suggestion...fill out the information in your profile...as much info as you're willing to give. It would help if we knew where in the world you were (many folks here would be happy to meet you some time and show you what they've done, or...again...point you in the direction of a local upcoming meet.) It would also help if we knew what kind of car you drove...it's very possible that someone's driving the same kind of car and has already made installation mistakes and learned from them. The more we know, the more we can help you.
    2003 Lexus SC430 - Black with Ecru. VaisTech & NavTool with Centrafuse integrated into factory nav screen (hands-free Bluetooth, Voice Command, mp3's, videos, HD Radio, Sirius Sat. radio, DVD, Internet, & digital gauges (via OBD-II)), & LuxLink module.

  3. #3
    Newbie ploogle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    There are a couple of good threads talking about the Griffen Powermate and the Space Navigator (my personal preference). Check out the Input Devices sub-forum.
    Actually, I already found the answer to that. Thanks anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    As for your questions about how to connect the CarPC audio to your car, how easy in a basic installation, cord management, connecting to the screen....these are all specific to your car and what type of setup you choose.
    Okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    For some cars, you can get a bezel that replaces your existing stereo and a touchscreen will pop right in. For other cars this isn't an option so folks have had to fabricate a custom bezel/mount from scratch...and this is a lot of work to get it to look good.
    Definitely not going to fabricate my own...

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    I took the REALLY lazy route and utilized my car's existing Navigation System screen as my CarPC's display.
    Don't have a built-in navi system. The car's from '94.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    As I'm sure everyone here will agree with, my first suggestion to you is...read. Use the search tool to find threads about the questions you have and the devices you want to install. There are very few "common" problems that haven't been discussed many many times on these forums.
    I've been searching already, and have answered most of my questions, but thanks for the suggestion!

    [QUOTE=Habious;1269830]Another suggestion I would make; take a look at the mp3car Gatherings sub-forum. See if there's something going on in your local area. You can learn quite a bit from the forums but, I don't think anything beats a hands-on view of a good installation...and spending a half-hour picking the brain of someone who's done this before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    At the MD/DC/VA meet, we sometimes have 7 or 8 cars there...all different makes and models of vehicles, all different levels of installation, all different types of computers, screens, input devices, etc.
    I live close to Seattle...nowhere near MD, DC, or VA.

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    There's no "right answer" when it comes to CarPC's. It depends on your needs and on your particular situation.

    To answer your question about the audio...at least for ME...and my particular setup; I bought an Aux interface for my factory headunit...made by VaisTech. This gives me 2 dry AUX inputs to the stereo. I just ran a cable from the PC's Line-Out into the input on the Vais unit. Works well for me but, these devices only work on Toyota and Lexus cars. However, there are other manufacturers that make similar interfaces for various brands of cars. Unless you're driving something really obscure, it shouldn't be a problem.
    My car's a Toyota, so that should work. Thanks much!

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    That brings up another question you need to answer before you even start. Are you going to use the CarPC as an add-on to your factory stereo (as I did) or are you going to REPLACE your stereo with the CarPC? Again, there are pluses and minuses to both methods.
    I'd prefer to replace it completely. I'm looking into installing a 7" in-dash touch screen in the place of the current tape player/radio. That brings up another question: How do I hook the video up to the screen? I only have one place to pop in a radio/cd unit or an in-dash screen, but I do have a cubic-ish storage area below the climate controls. Would I need to cut a hole in the back of that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Habious View Post
    One final suggestion...fill out the information in your profile...as much info as you're willing to give. It would help if we knew where in the world you were (many folks here would be happy to meet you some time and show you what they've done, or...again...point you in the direction of a local upcoming meet.) It would also help if we knew what kind of car you drove...it's very possible that someone's driving the same kind of car and has already made installation mistakes and learned from them. The more we know, the more we can help you.
    Okay, I'll fill out some of that.


    Thanks much for your help!

  4. #4
    Newbie ploogle's Avatar
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    Uhhh...how do I change my profile? I can't find it on the User CP. I tried all the different options.

    Edit: That's weird...my last post still needs to be approved. I actually did respond to your advice! Just be patient...sorry for the wait...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ploogle View Post
    Uhhh...how do I change my profile? I can't find it on the User CP. I tried all the different options.
    Wow, that took a while to find!

    1) Find a post that you did.
    2) Click on your name on the left-side of the post
    3) Click "View Public Profile"
    4) Click on the "About Me" tab
    5) Find the value you'd like to change
    6) Click on the little pencil next to that value
    7) Change it
    8) Click "Save"
    2003 Lexus SC430 - Black with Ecru. VaisTech & NavTool with Centrafuse integrated into factory nav screen (hands-free Bluetooth, Voice Command, mp3's, videos, HD Radio, Sirius Sat. radio, DVD, Internet, & digital gauges (via OBD-II)), & LuxLink module.

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