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Thread: Opinions?

  1. #1
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    Opinions?

    I've been interested in doing a PC in my car for ...a LONG time now. Since the advent of MP3s in fact . I had one of the first portable MP3CD players w/ tape adapter for my car. Then when in dash MP3CD Players were released had one of those. Still have that in fact, but its dying . It doesn't read MP3 CDs as well as it used to. Doesn't matter how I burn it or media, etc.

    So now, instead of buying a new dash unit, I'm planning on making a CarPuter.

    Plans are simple enough:
    VIA Mini-ITX haven't decided on CPU yet.
    128-256MB RAM
    Some sort of screen, haven't decided. In dash more than likely. Touch would be nice, but I do have an ATI Remote Wonder (came w/ All in Wonder) that I could probably use?
    I mainly listen to MP3s/etc. So FM+XM+GPS+etc aren't NECESSARY. But IF I can get them I prolly would. (at least FM for when others are in my car).

    Now here is the questions I have.

    I'd rather use a USB harddrive, than an IDE(even if it is a laptop kind), for ease of setting up and taking into the house and add/removing stuff, etc. My idea is the SmartDisk FireLite. They come in like 20-80GB versions. USB/FireWire. Buspowered via USB/Firewire.
    Does anyone use this or something like it? http://www.smartdisk.com/Products/St...s/FireLite.asp


    How about a similiar USB CD/DVD drive? I haven't found one that's has DVD and is buspowered. Just this CD drive, thats firewired powered. http://www.smartdisk.com/Products/St.../FWCDRW24x.asp


    I have a 96 Pontiac Trans Am. I've read about it being 1.5 din size. Can anyone give me some dimensions? So I have a better idea of how much space is behind the radio? I haven't opened it up. I've been told it has its own power amp, never seen it though. I don't know if its like aftermarket poweramps wherein it has RCA inputs for line signals. How does everyone else get their audio from their PC? My current HU (aiwa cdcmp3) has line in.

    I'd like to SQUEEZE the PC+screen in the standard radio area, is that even plausible? I doubt it (ESPECIALLY if i have to use my current HU to power the audio). And have the USB drive(s) and a small keyboard in the glovebox via extension cables.


    I want to use USB/Firewire everything for ease of use/removal etc.
    I believe the VIA MiniITX mobos have 2USB ports and headers for 2more+Firewire? I should prolly quadruple check that.

    Is the PW70A enough to power the mobo+USB HD+keyboard? And one other USB/Firewire device (Be it FM/CD/GPS(?)/etc). Possibly even the screen itself?

    I mean, I'd probably only have the FM and/or CDrom connected when other people are in my car and they don't want to listen to any of my MP3s. So it would mostly just be the HD and keyboard. I could put like a USB hub in the glove box along w/ the extra FM adapter, CDROM, keyboard. And just keep the pc hidden as much as possible. If theres any room?

    How small is the smallest LCD screen that is useable in a car? If I use a full screen skin/prog (ME2.0 or a WinAmp skin w/ big ol buttons/text). Movies probably won't be played. Unless theres a road trip w/ a passenger, which ...will more than likely never happen. .

    Sorry if my ideas are jumbled together in this post. I'm just letting them flow out.

    My main question is: How much space is there to hide a screen+PC (+ HU if necessary) Anyone w/ a TransAm (I searched and found like 2) and happen to know the dimensions of the radio area + how the Monsoon 10speaker system is setup (power amp wise)?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate telekineticfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ydoesgodmockme
    Some sort of screen, haven't decided. In dash more than likely. Touch would be nice, but I do have an ATI Remote Wonder (came w/ All in Wonder) that I could probably use?
    Sure could...you can use a real keyboard if you want.
    I mainly listen to MP3s/etc. So FM+XM+GPS+etc aren't NECESSARY. But IF I can get them I prolly would. (at least FM for when others are in my car).
    FM might be kind of annoying/difficult/not worth it, seeing as you need to buy an FM reciever
    Now here is the questions I have.

    I'd rather use a USB harddrive, than an IDE(even if it is a laptop kind), for ease of setting up and taking into the house and add/removing stuff, etc. My idea is the SmartDisk FireLite. They come in like 20-80GB versions. USB/FireWire. Buspowered via USB/Firewire.
    Does anyone use this or something like it? http://www.smartdisk.com/Products/St...s/FireLite.asp
    It should work...I don't know how well it would work for a primary drive, but if you had a tiny 4 or 5 gig IDE drive for your OS, you could definitely use a firewire/USB2 drive for media storage (my plan)
    I haven't opened it up. I've been told it has its own power amp, never seen it though. I don't know if its like aftermarket poweramps wherein it has RCA inputs for line signals. How does everyone else get their audio from their PC? My current HU (aiwa cdcmp3) has line in.
    In my MR2, I relocated my Head unit to the glove box, and used the Aux In...off the top of my head, I think the GB in an F-body is too small for that without some decent cutting(I don't have passenger airbag). Your stock amp 99% of the time needs a preamplified signal, so just going straight into it from the soundcard probably won't cut it....Read the Newbie FAQ stickied in this forum for more ways to get sound in.
    I'd like to SQUEEZE the PC+screen in the standard radio area, is that even plausible? I doubt it (ESPECIALLY if i have to use my current HU to power the audio). And have the USB drive(s) and a small keyboard in the glovebox via extension cables.
    IMHO, It would be more feasible to put the computer in either the center console (might be a tight fit if it's anything like a camaro's) or back in the hatch area.
    I want to use USB/Firewire everything for ease of use/removal etc.
    I believe the VIA MiniITX mobos have 2USB ports and headers for 2more+Firewire?
    The M10000 has 2 USB ports, and headers for two USB 2.0 and two firewire jacks, and includes the jacks to plug into it
    Is the PW70A enough to power the mobo+USB HD+keyboard? And one other USB/Firewire device (Be it FM/CD/GPS(?)/etc). Possibly even the screen itself?
    Should be...find people with that power supply and see what they're running on it
    I mean, I'd probably only have the FM and/or CDrom connected when other people are in my car and they don't want to listen to any of my MP3s. So it would mostly just be the HD and keyboard. I could put like a USB hub in the glove box along w/ the extra FM adapter, CDROM, keyboard. And just keep the pc hidden as much as possible. If theres any room?

    How small is the smallest LCD screen that is useable in a car?
    My 5.6" composite is more than large enough, with more resolution than neccessary to easily use ME2.0/1.7
    How much space is there to hide a screen+PC (+ HU if necessary)
    I'm planning to put a full PC with monitor on a Buell Sportbike, and I have installed one in an MR2, so be creative, if you can't make it fit you're not trying hard enough.
    MP3 MR2 (click here for details)
    Hardware: EPIA M10000, 512Meg Ram, 5.6"TFT, Opus 150watt DC-DC PSU
    Software: Windows 2000, Media Engine 2.0

  3. #3
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    Sure could...you can use a real keyboard if you want.
    Well my plan calls for a mini keyboard to be stowed away in the glove box anyway. But using either touch screen or remote to control it whilst...parked..yeah..parked.

    FM might be kind of annoying/difficult/not worth it, seeing as you need to buy an FM reciever
    Well I've seen those Dlink usb FM recievers posted about. I'd use one of those suckers.

    It should work...I don't know how well it would work for a primary drive, but if you had a tiny 4 or 5 gig IDE drive for your OS, you could definitely use a firewire/USB2 drive for media storage (my plan)
    Thats a good point. I didn't really think about that. But most new PCs have USB as a boot option. I haven't seen the VIA Epias bios, so I'm not sure if it does or not. Anyone ever try? If nothing else, then I guess I'll have to find a small HD. I have a 4GB laptop one here. W/ an adapter I'll probably just use that for OS. *IF* I have to. Hopefully someone will read this and be able to answer my lil question.

    IMHO, It would be more feasible to put the computer in either the center console (might be a tight fit if it's anything like a camaro's) or back in the hatch area.
    Awesome idea. Hadn't thought about that (console) area. Was useless ..til now. .

    My 5.6" composite is more than large enough, with more resolution than neccessary to easily use ME2.0/1.7
    Is it touch screen? 5.6 sounds small, but I guess as long as the software has decen't sized buttons, right? .

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    My EPIA 5000 won't boot off a USB HDD, just a usb floppy or cd, kind of lame.
    Don't buy a USb hdd, buy a hard drive and a USB adapter and stick the hdd inside yourself. I don't see how they get away with charging $50 more for the 1.25 minutes it takes to stick a hdd in a usb case.

  5. #5
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    ^
    I was thinking about that too, but they aren't buspowered.
    which, in mine eyes, defeats the USB/FireWire purpose.

    But now w/ that USB info, I might have to look into something else.
    Maybe those CF IDE adapter things + small OS.

  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate telekineticfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ydoesgodmockme
    Well I've seen those Dlink usb FM recievers posted about. I'd use one of those suckers.
    I have never heard anything good about dlink usb FM except that it does in fact exist.
    MP3 MR2 (click here for details)
    Hardware: EPIA M10000, 512Meg Ram, 5.6"TFT, Opus 150watt DC-DC PSU
    Software: Windows 2000, Media Engine 2.0

  7. #7
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    My install is in a 1995 Camaro. I have the items listed below. I got everything to fit in the space below the head unit (used to be a cassette holder for the factory radio). The only thing I didn't put there/wouldn't fit is the inverter which rides under the passenger seat, and of coarse the 14" LCD, it's gonna work it's way to being mounted between the backs of the front seats. I think the 96 TA is very similar to the 95 Camaro, and I don't think the computer will fit in the center console. That is where I house all of the amp switches, and neon switches and power and reset for the computer. If your glove box is as large as mine, the computer will fit there, but I was uneasy about how to get the DVD drive to a reasonable location, firewire/usb is about the only way.
    2006 Chevy Colorado: VIA M10000 EDEN, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB 2.5" Seagate HDD, USB Slim Slot DVD/RW, Holux GPS, MobileVU 10.4" LCD (touch not working yet), VOOMPC Case (blue), 70W DC-DC supply.

  8. #8
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    have any pics?

  9. #9
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    Well, I actually just broke the computer housing 2 days ago. Was installing blue LEDs behind the plexi front I made for it, so when the computer was on the LEDs lit the front up. I will get some pics tomorrow or the "broken" case, but you'll get the idea. Me breaking the case and the arrival of the Playstation LCD, and the GPS and the 2 webcams, as well as 2 USB hubs to run all those USB devices is what has prompted me to Fiberglass a new case. But, as I said, I'll try to get some pics tomorrow and post them in the "show off" section and drop a post here.
    2006 Chevy Colorado: VIA M10000 EDEN, 1 GB RAM, 80 GB 2.5" Seagate HDD, USB Slim Slot DVD/RW, Holux GPS, MobileVU 10.4" LCD (touch not working yet), VOOMPC Case (blue), 70W DC-DC supply.

  10. #10
    Maximum Bitrate eugenen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ydoesgodmockme
    ^
    I was thinking about that too, but they aren't buspowered.
    which, in mine eyes, defeats the USB/FireWire purpose.

    But now w/ that USB info, I might have to look into something else.
    Maybe those CF IDE adapter things + small OS.
    Yes they are bus powered. Even the cheap $16 ones I have are.

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