Everything you ask answered here:
First of all, hi! I'm a UK based enthusiast with a few questions for you! I drive an 07 Ford Focus... I already have a couple of AMP's and the speakers setup.
At present my ageing Pioneer DEH-P700BT is giving me grief, every so often it loses power to the unit and it's getting beyond annoying now. I've been looking into replacements, but believe that have enough spare parts lying around to make a working carputer. I need a few answers though.
I have a couple of old laptops that I could use, but can't get the whole power on ignition aspect in my head so may ignore these...
I also have an Acer Revo that I could make use of, which from what I've read might be better for me...
I would want the carputer to switch off when the car is not in use, and power up with the ignition. Does a laptop/revo cause more problems than it's worth with this?
How would I hook up a computer for sound? Is it as simple as a 3.5mm jack to twin phono (straight into the amp?), if so, how does balance/fade control work, and how do you get audio from both front and rear, given my amp runs a set of phono's for front & back.
Do you need/is it better to run the pc through the aux of a headunit? If so, this kind of kills my idea as i'll probably need a new HU & PC, in which case I might aswell just get a new HU!
How does the sub come into play? (separate amp, currently fed direct from HU)
I'd probably stick some kind of 7" touch screen in... My question regarding the screen is how do you hook it up to the PC. I appreciate there will be cables to run where ever it lies, but is it recommended the PC goes nearer to the front of the car, or in the boot?
For me, the carputer will be primarily used for audio, powering my iPhone and accepting handsfree calls (how?). I'm not really bothered about internet or gps, films, tv etc YET... A computer with wifi and a sizeable HDD will be sufficient. Of course having a computer in place will assist me no end going forward, should I want to add more toys!
Hope thats clear enough, bit of a mine field it seems this carputer hobby
honestly, i would say to get a new headunit instead. there are not any consistently easy or cheap solutions to getting fade/balance and sub control out of a carpc(there are ways, but it might involve some comprimises), and if your on the fence right now, i believe the tinkering and later maintenance of the carpc is going to drive you away a little faster.
i would go back to a radio, but there is no radio that does anywhere near the audio processing i desire.. i could get a bit one, but that needs a pc to be programmed, so i am back to using the carpc to do it anyways...
and the major selling point of the carpc is that i can store all my music on it-- in the last days of my hu, all i ever used as a source was my ipod, and that bothered me because the interface was horribly sluggish...
so i'm at a point where i keep the carpc because of the stuff that decks can't and won't ever do, but that doesn't mean i am perfectly happy with it anymore....
James, it depends on what you want from the CarPC. Honestly I'd go down the route of a cheap Android tablet (under £150) and it'll probs do everything you'd expect from a CarPC anway and you cant beat it on price. Also they're easy to integrate whilst having the option to easily remove it when parking up.
A CarPC isn't a cheap adventure to go on to make a decent system. It's far cheaper than a decent doubledin but takes far more time to put together.