A car PC with endless possibilities!
I have a Ford Galaxy with a double-DIN looking headunit. It seems the perfect fit for a built-in 7" screen, but then I will not have a "normal" car stereo any more, so the best solution for me would probably be a 7" touch screen in an in-dash housing line this one: http://www.digitalww.com/DWW-7VGT.htm. Then I need to replace the current head unit with one being only 1 DIN size with AUX input for connecting the car PC.
The PC itself I plan to build in a custom made case made to fit in a the trunk in an existing "pocket" above the rear right wheel. It must also be possible to remove the car PC and use it in my living room also (see functional req. below for explanation) I'm thinking about using an EPIA MS (brand new) main board without any external slots on-board and use only the necessary cables to and from the connectors on the main board ( http://www.via.com.tw/en/Digital%20L...617EPIA_MS.jsp and here
http://www.viaembedded.com/product/e...herboardId=281). I have considered the brand new EPIA nanoITX board, but it does not seem to be available in shop anywhere yet and I wonder if the board will be capable of running heavier apps or if the performance is too poor...(http://www.viaembedded.com/product/e...herboardId=221)...any thoughts?
Using the EPIS MS miniITX with it's 1 GHz fanless processor, 1 GB RAM, large 200-300 GB hard disk, a slim-line slot-in DVD player/CD burner and this power supply: http://www.mini-box.com/pw-80.htm I hope this will be a good starting point. Then I will use a USB based GPS , a USB based sound card (if necessary?) and a USB 2.0 based card reader. In addition I will use a USB based TV card with stereo FM radio (http://www.hauppauge.co.uk/pages/pro...a_pvrusb2.html) to be able to watch TV or listen to radio on the PC (this is mainly a nice-to-have thing :-) and a USB based wireless network for connecting to my home network for downloading MP3s and movies to the harddisk + software updates and internet access.
For powering the PC at home I'm thinking about this http://store.mini-box.com/ituner/ac12v5aswpoa.html or this: http://store.yahoo.com/ituner/ac12v9aswpoa.html.
As I say: There are endless possibilities with a car PC and I'm happy to receive suggestions for additional usage!
But having 3 small kids, time may be a huge constraint for the build process...and possibly put limitations on the purchase process :-)
So I may end up being only a guy with ideas and no real show-case :-)
Pictures to explain building plans in my Galaxy
Just a few pictures manipulated to show what my building possibilities are. Here is a picture of the dash board of the Galaxy and a manipulated picture of the same showing 2 possible solutions to the 7" screen placement with and without a head unit.
(Sorry 'bout the picture quality - had to do a lot of cut&paste from small pictures around the Internet...)
For the children in the rear seats I would love to buy this: http://www.xenarc.com/product/700yr.html (this screen is bigger, but with a bad resolution...: http://www.xenarc.com/product/800VR.html), but it may cost too much adding this to the cost of the PC and touch screen...
(Because of wanting the possibility to view movies on the rear screen(s), I will duplicate the VGA output from the PC as the simple solution. Being able to connect also a Playstation, I would buy a splitter device with several inputs and one output.)
BTW: The comments about running out of USB connectors - can't you just use a USB hub :-)