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Thread: New to carputers. Old laptop + lilliput screen OK?

  1. #1
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    New to carputers. Old laptop + lilliput screen OK?

    I'm new to carputers but have plenty of experience with electronics and such. This is my plan for my carputer, just wanted some input on do's and don'ts and whether this will suit my needs:

    What I plan to get:

    Cheap old laptop off ebay (somewhere in the 200-300mhz range)
    Lilliput 7" touchscreen or some bare LCD with touch screen of the same size.
    802.11b PCMCIA card
    Possibly a new hard drive
    Possibly a GPS card
    Possibly a wireless internet card
    Possibly a USB wireless keyboard/trackball
    Whatever power supply or inverter is necessary

    How I plan to install it:

    Clean install of Win ME (for fast load times) or Win 2k for stability if ME screws up too much.
    Remove the LCD screen from the laptop and hook the Lilliput or other 7" screen w/touch.
    Custom mount the screen into my dash.
    Mount the laptop inside my (lockable) glove compartment.
    Mount power switch for laptop somewhere concealed but easy to get to.

    What I want it to do:

    Play MP3s with no skips
    Possibly access the internet via the wireless internet adapter (through a wireless ISP of course)
    Possibly run some sort of GPS map program
    Download any files I want from my desktop computer through a wireless router in my apartment to the laptop.
    I want the LCD screen to be discrete (don't want it getting stolen). I may try to figure out a way to hide or disguise it.

    Extra Stuff:

    I know that the laptop would probably be too slow to play DVD/Divx if it's only 200-300mhz.
    I know that the Lilliput or other touch screen would require a VGA port and a Serial port to function.
    I know that I may have to buy more ram for it to function properly.
    I know that I would have to check how many PCMCIA slots the laptop had before buying so I could add one or two cards to it.
    Basically I had my head unit stolen a few weeks ago and thought this would be a good opportunity to put a computer in there which I have always wanted to do.
    I would like to keep the total price <USD$600 but I am willing to go over a little if it is worth it. This does not include GPS/Wireless internet cards if I decide to get them.

    Any comments people have would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Altimat's Avatar
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    Spend whatever necessary to get a laptop new enough to have a reasonably large hard drive, and enough CPU and RAM for DVD playback and you'll be money ahead. Avoid trying to upgrade a laptop. Everything else looks good.
    Fabricator

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    Alright. I looked around a bit more and found this site: http://www.expresscomputerindia.com/laptop.html

    Seems to find some really excellent laptop auctions. From the looks of things I could easily get a more than adequate laptop for <$300. I'm assuming any laptop that comes with a DVD drive is good enough to play DVDs.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NS98GSR
    Alright. I looked around a bit more and found this site: http://www.expresscomputerindia.com/laptop.html

    Seems to find some really excellent laptop auctions. From the looks of things I could easily get a more than adequate laptop for <$300. I'm assuming any laptop that comes with a DVD drive is good enough to play DVDs.

    Hey buddy, I have a dell inspiron 7500 PIII 500mhz with 256mb ram and 25gig hd. this is a perfect match for me. I play dvd's, i play mp3's i run copilot GPS i have a usb fm tuner, and a webcam rear view mirror. Its just enough power and memory. This was my old laptop and the lcd messed up. I took off the lcd and viola! You can get one of these on ebay for around $400 WITH a LCD. The 15" LCD's for this laptop sell for around $150 on ebay. So $400 -$150 = $250 which is an awsome deal. There are many available parts for the dell inspiron 7500 including 40 gig hard drive, upgrade dvd player, memory. Check out my pics...

    http://www.bankingdom.com/carputer/carputer.html

    I was in the same situation as you, someone stole my headunit and my amps and stuff, so i decided to put in the carputer. I put my laptop underneath the passenger seat and it fits perfect.


    Whatever laptop you get make SURE it has VGA out if your gonna use the lilliput or s-video out if your gonna use a composite video. Life will also be much easier if the laptop has a serial port and a usb port. And make sure at least 32mb of video memory, that should be enough to play dvds.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate deadweasel's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=...I play dvd's, i play mp3's i run copilot GPS i have a usb fm tuner, and a webcam rear view mirror. [/QUOTE]

    Dude, you're running a webcam rearview? How's it working out for you? I'm working my interface to run one, but I haven't had the ability to test it outside yet. What camera are you using, and how does it perform for you? Do you have any pics of it in operation?

    Sorry for all the questions, but the more information I can gather on this stuff, the better the interface will be when I can release it to you's guys!
    The ALEXIS Project
    MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
    Color Coding :
    DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

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    [QUOTE=deadweasel]
    Quote Originally Posted by ...I play dvd's, i play mp3's i run copilot GPS i have a usb fm tuner, and a webcam rear view mirror. [/QUOTE

    Dude, you're running a webcam rearview? How's it working out for you? I'm working my interface to run one, but I haven't had the ability to test it outside yet. What camera are you using, and how does it perform for you? Do you have any pics of it in operation?

    Sorry for all the questions, but the more information I can gather on this stuff, the better the interface will be when I can release it to you's guys!

    It's all good buddy. Well, it's more for show than anything else. As mentioned before on other threads, if you use a webcam as the sole rear view mirror your gonna have trouble, cuz of the reverse image thing. The cars are gonna look like they are on your left side, when they are on your right side in actuality. www.digitalww.com has reverse image cameras for $50 if you actually want to replace your rear view mirror and be safe. I use it just for fun, to see whats behind me and the such, works great for that. If i had more time (i'm a med student) i would mount it near my licence plate in the rear and get one of those clear plastic enclosures to I can see how far I am to the car behind me when i parallel park (live in NYC so it's kind tough parking :-) ) You can also point it inside your car and tape your drunk friends when they are in the car with you, not to mention the COOl factor when people see you have a camera inside your car.

    Bottom line, if you want to actually USE it as a rear view mirror, get the reverse image ones from digitalww.

    I picked up one of those creative vibra webcams from Staples for like $4, and got a usb extender cable for $8 from ebay. Microcenter all has them for cheap. The quality is pretty good considering i have a composite screen, not vga. I'll take pics and hopefully post them on my website soon. Let me know if you got anymore questions, i'll be happy to help ya!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankingdom
    ...make sure at least 32mb of video memory, that should be enough to play dvds.
    32mb of video memory, or system memory? Laptops have always had crappy graphics cards up until recently... Even now, the best you can get is a radeon 9600 128mb and that was only released recently. You sure you need 32mb of video memory to play dvds?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NS98GSR
    32mb of video memory, or system memory? Laptops have always had crappy graphics cards up until recently... Even now, the best you can get is a radeon 9600 128mb and that was only released recently. You sure you need 32mb of video memory to play dvds?


    Well, i would try to find a laptop that has 32mb of VIDEO memory. My laptop is like 4 years old and came with 32mb card. I'm sure almost all the laptops within the past 2-3 years have some sort of video memory. Mine plays dvd perfect, but i havn't tested a laptop with less video memory. Maybe someone else has.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankingdom
    Well, i would try to find a laptop that has 32mb of VIDEO memory. My laptop is like 4 years old and came with 32mb card. I'm sure almost all the laptops within the past 2-3 years have some sort of video memory. Mine plays dvd perfect, but i havn't tested a laptop with less video memory. Maybe someone else has.
    I really don't think that much is necessary... I'm only willing to shell out around $300-$350 for the laptop. Laptops have had DVD drives in them before 32mb video cards even existed so I'm pretty sure you can run it fine without that much.

    DVD playback isn't that big of a deal for me anyway. It's a nice feature but I'm not willing to pay too much extra for it. My biggest wishes are for it to be able to play mp3s smoothly (a vis would be pretty nifty too) and possibly mobile internet and/or GPS.

    I've looked around on ebay and it looks like for the amount I'm willing to spend I should be able to get a 300mhz + w/ 64mb+ ram, atleast a 6gb hd, and a CD-ROM (some have DVD ROM which I will get if possible). VGA, Serial, USB, and free PCMCIA ports are necessary for my purposes as well.

    I'm not too into ICE. I don't carry around many passengers or go on long journies, so I'm basically just looking for a glorified mp3 player.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankingdom
    Bottom line, if you want to actually USE it as a rear view mirror, get the reverse image ones from digitalww.

    I picked up one of those creative vibra webcams from Staples for like $4, and got a usb extender cable for $8 from ebay. Microcenter all has them for cheap. The quality is pretty good considering i have a composite screen, not vga. I'll take pics and hopefully post them on my website soon. Let me know if you got anymore questions, i'll be happy to help ya!

    Hell yeah! You know what, I just discovered a kickass feature of the Creative cams! If you have the Creative WebCam Monitor installed on your machine, start it up. Click on the Camera Settings Option near the top left. Click the Source button near middle left. Now look at the window with all the sliders and junk. See that little check box for "Flip Horizontal"? !!!!!!! I just about flipped out when I saw that. There is probably another way to get to that setting, but that's how I found it. Turns out whatever you set there will be universal for the driverset, so if you are using another program to access the webcam, the video should be all nice and mirrored for you! How about that! And I didn't need to go through the wait of ordering a custom camera online! W00t!! *Does stupid happy dance*

    That setting just saved me more headache than I will ever know!

    Let me know if it works for your Creative!
    The ALEXIS Project
    MP3---VIDEO---GPS---REARVIEW---OBD---SKINNING
    Color Coding :
    DONE / MOSTLY DONE / BASE FEATURES / WORKING CONCEPT / NO CODE COMPLETED

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