I'm looking to put a computer in my new '03 F250. I was wondering what would be good hardware for a design that doesn't take up too much space. I want to do the normal stuff, DVD, mp3, GPS, ect. I live in Arizona so I get both 115 degree days as well as 0 degree days just depends on where in the state I'm at. How does computer hardware like being bounced around in a truck, I am off the road some times do you just turn this sort of thing off when off roading or is it ok off road too? Any help is great.
I would be some what worried about going off road.
I have put a lot of thought into off roading with a pc and I would try limit the amount of card installed in the mobo. I would also put alot of time and plannin on where to put it and allways consider what the worst thing that could happen. I mean you dont want to be bounceing around and all of a sudden get stabbed in the back of your head by the doors of Jeep. (had it happen to a friend of mine in the backseat). If you go with a screen I would get it perm mounted in the dash so you dont have to worry about it fallin down or the mounts breakin. Even though hard drives are made tough they werent designed to handle something like that unless you get a laptop drive. etc, etc, etc, etc, etc I mean I could go on forever about this. But the end result is you want something small, light, powerfull, and strong and stay with the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid.
Old Systems retired due to new car
New system at design/prototype stage on BeagleBoard.
- Lwin M. Maung
If it's stuck, force it. If it breaks it needed replacing anyway
IBM has a great line of ruggedized laptop drives I have one in my system and I go off road quite a bit. So far so good, it's been installed for over a year through 2 very hot summers. They aren't much more than regular laptop drives about $40-$50 more. That $50 will be money well spent.
Click Me to go to PicaraPc
Click Me to see the goods
CPU:Picara PC TX3 P-III 1GHz w/XP Pro
Display: Xenarc 7" VGA Touch screen
Sound: SoundBlaster Extigy
HU 1:Panasonic CQ-DVR909U
HU 2:Performance Teknique 7" in-dash LCD
CD Changer: Alpine CRA-1655RF
Amp Highs: MA Audio M480i
Amp Lows: MA Audio SY5011DX
Highs: Audiobahn AS65Q 6.5"
Mids: Audiobahn ABF39Q 6x9
Fill: Audiobahn ACX460p 4x6
Lows:2 Adiobahn 1000Qs
Most well built systems should do fine in rough conditions. Just make sure to mount the CPU in a nice high and dry location. Near the doors where they may get hit by rain or creek water when youíre off roading would not be in your best interest.
By well built I mean they should be designed for use in an automobile. When designing a system of this type you need to consider condensation problems, vibration, heat, and power spikes. Most well build systems use durable parts like 2.5" mobile hard drives and Slim DVD drives. Those are the parts you really have to worry about since they contain precision high speed moving parts. Hardware designed for mobile use (notebooks) handle rougher than normal conditions by design.
When it comes to case's I personally like to keep things around the size of a CD Changer. Cases like the CaseTronic 2699R or CaseTronic 137 are a good size. Not too big but they still have room to work. If you make the CPU too small then youíre going to end up with too many items outside the main system case. This is where it can get messy and equipment will get damaged. I would keep the case a nice sane mini-ITX size. This also allows you to use more standard off the shelf gear. Smaller SBC systems can require special plugs and fittings that can be hard to come by. By the way both these cases come with 12V power supplies. I would not use either in a serious automotive system. Donít be cheap when it comes to the power supply. It is very important to use a good power supply that was designed for use in an automobile. I would recommend an Opus power supply.
If youre going to use a powerful (ie fast) cpu, consider very carefully how you mount everything, the main board you use, and the heatsink/fan you use on the CPU.
A 1.4ghz TBird chip for example will fry in <10 seconds if the heatsink falls off... Which can happen pretty easy.
I've used Barrymounts ( http://www.barrycontrols.com/di/psg/hdm/index.php ) with great success in BattleBots to keep my electronics happy. Although you will never see the g-forces that my BattleBot expierences, these things hold up very well under shock loading. They are typically used in military avionics.Originally Posted by mikewrt
Before using them, I've had chips popping out of sockets and crystals internally breaking. After that, I've had my bot flipping in the air over 5 ft high and landing without an electronic failure. It weighs 220 lbs and has no suspension of any sort, other than Barrymounts for the electronics and my 400 amp relay.
I bought them locally at a surplus shop that sells military electronics surplus, but its better to find the right one based on the weight of your components. Some of my mounts are from the 70s and the rubber is starting to deteriorate.
www.mechatroniks.com/wrx - Car PC Project/Dash Kits