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Thread: Planning a Car PC

  1. #1
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    Question Planning a Car PC

    I've been interested in plugging a computer into my car (98 Honda Prelude) for over a year. I think I'll finally have the time and money to do it this spring/summer.

    What I am looking on having:

    Mini ITX Board
    Notebook Hard Drive
    12V DC to DC Power Supply
    COM Port for GPS
    Flip up In Dash LCD Screen
    ITPS-Auto Power Sequencer
    USB mini hub to the glove box for keyboard/mouse and WiFi

    Well thats the general idea, the problem I'm having is choosing the board and LCD screen, and MP3 input method. I know the Mini-itx has VGA out, but wouldn't this produce less than optimal (ie fuzzy) pictures on an LCD screen? I'm not too concerned with cpu processing power, as long as it has enough to play DivX movies.

    Would a M-100 be adequate for car use? Could I squeeze a notebook drive into the case? Other issues to be worked out are controls for mp3 playing while driving. I've considered using an IR remote, but I would need a second COM port for that. Also I would like to know how complicated it is to patch the audio output into the regular car stereo.

    I prefer not to do any significant modification to the visible interior of the car as in I'd prefer it to appear stock. I'm not sure how much free space I have, as I haven't looked yet. I have at my disposal (at work) an array of tech tools, soldering irons, oscilloscopes, but I'm not an EE.

    I live in Northern NJ, so I don't think the temperature swings will be two wild, but I may visit Texas at some point in the future. I'd hopefully be able to play MP3s/GPS navigate while on the trip.

    My overall budget will hopefully be under $1000.

    Currently I'm still in the design/research stages and choosing the components. I hopefully will be able to put it together this spring or summer.

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate Altimat's Avatar
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    A VGA LCD screen is a must IMO.
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  3. #3
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    Altimat, do you have any recommendations of a motorized in dash VGA LCD?

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate Altimat's Avatar
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    I don't believe there is such a thing. I recommend building one into your dash. Use a junkyard interior piece so the car can easily be returned to stock.
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  5. #5
    Low Bitrate StratusPh34r's Avatar
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    Although it's out of stock, motorized, in-dash VGA LCDs do exist:

    http://www.digitalww.com/VGA_GA700YY_indash.htm

  6. #6
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by StratusPh34r
    Although it's out of stock, motorized, in-dash VGA LCDs do exist:

    http://www.digitalww.com/VGA_GA700YY_indash.htm
    That LCD looks perfect! It even has a touch screen! Anybody use one before or seen how it looks in real life? I guess not since they don't exist yet. It even goes all the way up to 1024x768!

    A little more than I'd like to spend, but I think I've found my screen.

  7. #7
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    -Operating Temperature: -5C ~ +60C
    Anybody know enough about electronics to build a circuit so that the screen could only come on if the temperature are roughly within those ranges? Or do you think it would harm the unit if it was turned on at -5C (which is possible on a cold New Jersey day).

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate Altimat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhaluska
    Anybody know enough about electronics to build a circuit so that the screen could only come on if the temperature are roughly within those ranges? Or do you think it would harm the unit if it was turned on at -5C (which is possible on a cold New Jersey day).
    I'm sure numerous people here know enough to do that, but I'm not one of them. I have concerns with cold too, but I plan to simply add a "Main" switch to the whole setup so I can switch it off when it is that cold.
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  9. #9
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    Anybody use the non motorized one before?

    http://www.digitalww.com/DWW-7VGA.htm

    I was looking at my car, while motorized would be cool, the physical angle limitations on the screen may make the non motorized version better. I'm going to have to do measurements and better visualization of my intentions, so I can build exactly what I want.

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