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Thread: Laptop for a Car PC

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate Rith's Avatar
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    Post Laptop for a Car PC

    I know thier are a lot of topics about a laptop as a carputer, but i dont see any that explain the pros and cons vs a ITX computer... can someone explain which could be a better value, and why. Thanks.

  2. #2
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    More or less depends on if you already have a good laptop that plays mp3's well. Most have crummy audio...so an external sound card is pretty much necessary. An easy way to accomplish this is to get a dock and plug everything into it...so you can dock/undock and take it with you. Very handy. Also...the dc soultion for a laptop is very nice....just buy a cheapo car adaptor and your off and running. The battery takes care of the crank issue that our pc's have. All in all, if you have a good laptop, go with it..if not, it is cheaper and in a lot of ways a little better to go with a pc.
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate skeurton's Avatar
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    since i'm using a laptop, i can tell you why...

    pros:
    -laptops already have a dc power supply
    -no need for shutdown controller if you have a battery for it
    -conveniently removable

    cons:
    -finding a way to power it on without having to press the onboard power button (but this can be accomplished by soldering in a momentary switch and extending it to wherever is most convenient)

    that's all i can think of at the moment. sorry i don't have any input on using a standard motherboard setup.
    Mazda 6 Carputer

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  4. #4
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    As far as the power button...I am curious. If you use a dock...like these for example they appear to have a power button ON the dock. It would be much easier to hack that, and that way when you undock...you dont have a tail following you Just a thought.
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate skeurton's Avatar
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    yup, that's exactly what i'm doing. i ordered a docking station for mine that didn't work, so i decided to take a look inside before sending it back for a new one. it is definitely hackable, probably much easier than opening up the laptop and doing it. i tried that and couldn't get to the jumpers on the board.

    out of curiosity though, i posted this question already but haven't gotten any response. when you're trying to figure out which jumpers to short to turn it on, what exactly are you testing for if using a multimeter?
    Mazda 6 Carputer

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  6. #6
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeurton
    when you're trying to figure out which jumpers to short to turn it on, what exactly are you testing for if using a multimeter?
    Well...I would set the multimeter to continuity (usually will beep to show continuity) and make sure you have no power applied ANYWHERE when you do this, as not to damage the meter. Then, just make sure you are in the area of the switch and probe it while pushing and it should beep every time it is pushed. Then, to test it, run your wires, and power it up. Hopefully it will turn on without letting any smoke out of the box
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate skeurton's Avatar
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    well, my cheap-*** multimeter doesn't have a continuity checker on it. but i decided to try using the diode checker instead and testing it out on the switch on my desktop. it seemed to do the same thing, just without the beeping. the default reading is .OL when not attached to any circuit. so i attached the test leads to the switch leads. with the meter still displaying .OL, i pushed the button and it gave me a forward voltage of 0.00. so i guess this works too???

    anyway, after looking inside the docking station, i remember that the layout for the switch was very much like a standard desktop motherboard. there were actual wires running from a board to the switch. so it would probably be easier and make much more sense to just disconnect the power button and extend the existing wires, especially if you're not comfortable with soldering wires to the board. i think that if you wanted to do this straight to the laptop, you would most certainly have to do some soldering. after taking a peek inside my laptop and seeing pictures of others, most buttons tend to reside directly on top of the jumpers on the board and hence, no existing wires to play with.
    Mazda 6 Carputer

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  8. #8
    FLA gospeed.racer's Avatar
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    I would just go ahead and throw the meter in the resistance mode and try it. But yes, it sounds like you have your pick up points figured out. Also, I wouuldnt disconnect the switch and rewire it, but instead I would just make a parallel connection and run it to wherever. that way if you ever need to power it up from the back the button is still there. Just a little cleaner.
    2005 Ford Focus ST

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate skeurton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gospeed.racer
    Also, I wouuldnt disconnect the switch and rewire it, but instead I would just make a parallel connection and run it to wherever. that way if you ever need to power it up from the back the button is still there. Just a little cleaner.
    actually, i thought about that. so what i've decided to do is go ahead and take out the existing button. the hole for the button is the perfect size for a connector of some kind, possibly a 1/8" or 3/32" audio connector. so i can connect and disconnect the switch at any time. so i can take it out of my car, bring it inside my apartment, and just plug in another switch.
    Mazda 6 Carputer

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