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Thread: Need Quick help putting together a CarPC!

  1. #1
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    Need Quick help putting together a CarPC!

    Installing a CarPC has been on my list of TO DO for quite some time but recently it has jumped to #1!

    My car (2006 Acura TL) is already gutted and ready to go from my Viper 5902 Install so I figured I might as well move right into the CarPC while all my car wiring in fresh in my mind. The problem is while I've been lurking here for awhile and researching here and there I don't have a definitive list of items mapped out ready to order. (THe goal is to get at least the computer & necessary hookups ordered tomorrow or Friday, I have have a 4 day weekend next week to dedicate to this project which doesn't happen too often).

    This is what I have so far..

    First I plan to integrate into my factory Navi through the use of a RGB converter (Scan Do 800) and also tap into my existing resistive touch panel. I already have these components & know how to achieve both these goals.

    My CarPC will be windows based (win 7 probably) and used mainly for music & navigation , probably not too much video. I would also like to get OBD readouts & possibly some DVR recording with a USB camera.

    What I really need help with is choosing the computer components. I'm good with electronics but have never built a computer from scratch. Unless there is a decent priced ready to go CarpC I might consider this as an option too, any suggestions on this route?

    Right now I've been looking toward the ASRock E350M1 AMD E-350 from reading a few reviews it seems to be a pretty good mother board. After that I know I still need the basic components like the ram (2 gig should be ok ) & a Hard Drive. Would it be worth it to use a smaller SSD for the OS for faster boot times and a larger external for media?

    Ok so first back to a previous question , are there any prebuilt systems worth getting without getting robbed?
    http://www.mo-co-so.com/Mini-ITX-Car...puting-s/3.htm

    If not here is my list I need help fill in;

    Main parts I'd like to get ordered tomorrow..

    Mother Board/CPU: ASRock E350M1 AMD E-350
    Memory: 2 gigs DDR3 (recommended sites?)
    Hard Drive: SSD for OS & external for media?? TBD
    Case: Not sure here ?
    Power Supply: No idea?
    WiFi: ?? Would like to connect from my garage to home network for updating so I want something go probably N
    GPS: BU-353 seems like it should work pretty good
    Button Interferes: Joycon EX Steering Wheel Control PC Interface looks like a good option
    Bluetooth: Not sure on this ? I have a bluetooth OBD device which I want to use, plus eventually would like to integrate my phone.

    Are there any other parts I'm missing on the computer?

    I'm sure there is plenty more but I would really just like to get the computer install itself started and run all the wiring or at least some of it.

    YOU TELL ME WHAT TO BUY AND I WILL BUY IT!! (after some quick research)

  2. #2
    North of the land of Hey Huns
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    Mocoso used to have an Atom pre-built that wasn't a bad deal, but to be honest if I were you I'd put together my own.

    I have used the E350M1 for a few things, and it's a wonderful chipset. That being said, If you plan on running any of the big three frontends (Ride Runner/Centrafuse/OpenMobile), you're either gonna need a beefier system, or decide if you're ok with it being a bit slow to load/slow graphics.

    SSD is a must for both speed and durability. They're getting fairly cheap, especially if you go with the lower speed ones (OCZ Agility for instance vs Vertex).
    Memory: 2gigs is plenty, but if you plan to hibernate, 1gb might be faster. Not sure how win7 does it.
    Case: Mocoso's case is compact, and generally decent. I have one, and I like it.
    PSU: For the E350, a M2ATX would be more than sufficient.
    Wifi: Generally just a USB dongle would be adequate.
    GPS: Correct. I have a 353, and love it.
    Bluetooth: Random generic USB Bluetooth device should work.

    What screens are you looking at, and what kind of space do you have to work with? Can you do a double-din screen? IMO they look much nicer than any flip-out, and are generally more reliable.


    As for websites to purchase things, I use newegg.com. They're fast, and I've never had issues with them.
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response!

    That does worry me about about the processor speed I would most likely use one of those front ends and the last thing I want is to have any lag in that area. What would you recommend as an alternative? I'm more then willing to pay for adequate power I just didn't realize I would have issues with lag with this processor.

  4. #4
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    computer processors are just like car engines-- the smaller ones suck less energy, but at the cost of raw power..

    personally, i use a pentium dual core, though it seems as though the i3's have become a relatively common processor to turn to when the low power units like the atom or e350 don't work fast enough. those should also work with a m2 power supply.


    if possible, i would recommend trying to use a usb obd2 reader to prevent slow data--esp if your also going to be using a phone through it. though, i don't use obd2 so don't take it as the voice of experience..

    imo, 2gb ram is going to be 'just right' win7 always likes as much ram as possible, though it seems 2gb is enough to keep it snappy, and still allow decent startup/shutdown times.

    hdd-- there are many people that run that exact config-- a small ssd for OS and a secondary drive for media--and they calim that it works well for them(i run a large ssd)

    steering wheel controls--be sure to check your specific controls--the carpc joycon works by looking for different resistances for different button presses, if your car sends a digital signal, or other type of signal to the radio when the button is pressed, the carpc joycon will not work. most cars will work with it, but with you having a newer luxury-style car, it might not have it..

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    computer processors are just like car engines-- the smaller ones suck less energy, but at the cost of raw power..

    personally, i use a pentium dual core, though it seems as though the i3's have become a relatively common processor to turn to when the low power units like the atom or e350 don't work fast enough. those should also work with a m2 power supply.


    if possible, i would recommend trying to use a usb obd2 reader to prevent slow data--esp if your also going to be using a phone through it. though, i don't use obd2 so don't take it as the voice of experience..

    imo, 2gb ram is going to be 'just right' win7 always likes as much ram as possible, though it seems 2gb is enough to keep it snappy, and still allow decent startup/shutdown times.

    hdd-- there are many people that run that exact config-- a small ssd for OS and a secondary drive for media--and they calim that it works well for them(i run a large ssd)

    steering wheel controls--be sure to check your specific controls--the carpc joycon works by looking for different resistances for different button presses, if your car sends a digital signal, or other type of signal to the radio when the button is pressed, the carpc joycon will not work. most cars will work with it, but with you having a newer luxury-style car, it might not have it..
    Any specific boards with the i3 you might recommend? Also I know for at least some of the buttons that control my climate control there two wires, one is ground which grounds the other wire when the button is pressed. Would that be considered a resistive system?

  6. #6
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    If you plan to use a USB Web Cam at a decent resolution then you will need an i3 processor.

    An i3 or later CPU can easily run at low power with low CPU usage, but a Hi Res Webcam will push CPU usage up. Single Web Cam – Hi-def @ 30FPS with the right codec and recorder program can (as in its possible) run as low as 25% CPU with all other tasks running. That’s roughly 35 to 48 watts but it depends on MB, camera, codec’s, running software and system configuration. The i3 in my system handle’s two Hi-Def webcam for drive recording.

    I feel you need a larger HDD for serious Web cam recording. A SATA laptop drive around 300 to 500GB is ideal if you plan on recording hours full of High quality video and keeping recorded data for any length of time before auto overwrites kick in. I like a securely mounted 2.5” HDD for Web-Cam drive recording and I plug in a USB3 external drive to quickly transfer video when needed.

    Once again it depends on how you intend to use the system now and in the future.

    Totally agree with 2GB ram and an SSD for OS and FE. I run 4GB and it makes no difference to my setup but adds about a second to resume from hibernate.

    No, I don't think the climate controlls are resistive.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  7. #7
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    Hey Mickz I actually spend about 2 hours reading through your build thread last night! Nice work indeed!

    I definitely want to get all the PC I can without drawing too much power so it sounds like the i3 is the way to go.

    However to be honest I will be using my stock screen which is definitely not HD.

    Also I am really leaning toward a stand alone unit for the DVR/Camera such as this unit HERE. Not only does this unit have a camera designed to capture the whole road "fisheye" I can easily tie this camera into my car alarm. I plan to have the camera turn on and start recording when when the Warn away/Alarm is triggered.

    ..But in the future you never know I might want to upgrade my monitor and start logging DVR data through the PC in addition to the stand alone.

    Anyways I need to focus! I want to order at least some of this tonight!

    I found this all in one, I don't have individual pricing to add up the difference but this seems like a decent price maybe?
    http://www.mo-co-so.com/product-p/mcs-cbs-int-i3t.htm No SSD but pretty good specs it seems? Whats the up charge on the pre assembly you think?

    Also I wanted to add a small second battery and after reading your thread I might just follow your layout and build the circuit you did HERE
    Which reminds me, you insist on using 56a cable can you specify the gauge ? What is that typically 7-8 gauge? Also any additional information on the second battery.
    If I could get away with something from allelectronics that would be nice I order from here all the time! LINK

    P.S. you don't have a PCB layout for that battery circuit do you? Something ready to print for etching?


    Thanks for your help everyone! I hope I can come to a conclusion on something. Post links if you can to any recommended i3 motherboards

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate Mickz's Avatar
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    Yes I looked at a dedicated Drive recorder, just didn’t have the funds to go that way. Hi def Web Cam cost $46 each One front and one rear.

    The unit looks fine; you can always go SSD later for a faster boot if needed.

    The battery was an off the shelf unit from Jaycar. It’s a 26Ah low profile that fits inside the spare wheel on a quick release platform with tie-downs. Don’t have a PCB. It’s made on two small pieces of prototype board also from Jaycar and almost everywhere. Just drop a note on my build if you decide to go with it and I’ll give details of the unit, a simple construction method and a full how it works description of the unit if needed.

    To be honest you can run without an AUX battery but for overnight/all day sleep times with a lot of USB devices its great and in my case it also gave me the ultimate system stability I was aiming for.

    Yes 8 gauge minimum but if I was starting over I would have run two 4G cables from the battery to the trunk distribution point.

    Good luck with the build.
    Last edited by Mickz; 11-04-2011 at 04:23 AM.
    GA-Z77N-WIFI, i5-2400S, 8GB, Intel 520 128GB SSD, M4-ATX Modified, 2 Rev Cams, 2 Web Cams
    8" 16:9 TRANSFLECTIVE, Win8-64, Dual GPS RX and Garmin PC + Odyssey Nav, FM-DAB+, BB-Rec
    T-Screen HVAC control, custom microcontrollers, code and FE. CarPC Project

  9. #9
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    mickz summed it up well.

    i don't believe that the markup is very high on that mo-co-so deal--and i always had a good level of support when dealing with them so be sure to take the support into consideration as well. though, i am very picky on mo.bo. brands and will not use anything other then asus/zotac, gigabyte, or msi. i have not had good luck with intel boards or their support..

  10. #10
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    Well I couldn't pull the trigger on anything There are just too many options and I'm not quite sure which one to go with

    Hey Mickz I forgot to ask you have a honda whats your take on the GA-NET+? Its intriguing but the high cost, lack of info, & russian origin kind of scares me away.

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