Lots of questions.. long post.
First thing. Yes, I'm new. No, I've never successfully built a computer. No, I don't know ANYTHING about cars. Yes, I "searched." Point? Don't be a dick because I'm asking questions that might have been answered once or twice in this forum. Not everyone has time to scour every effing post for every answer. I'm so sick of reading posts that just reply with "search" to questions these elitist carputer "geniuses" probably can't answer themselves. So don't waste your time and mine by starting with "search you stupid newb!"
Here's what I'm going for...
MP3, DVD, general media playback
Internet Access (via WiFi, I live in an area with tons of hotspots, so I basically need a low-level, low-filesize browser)
Here's what I'm not planning on...
Major gameplay... MAYBE some emulators, but no Half-Life hardcore ****e.
Ripping DVDs or burning CDs/DVDs
My theory is, if you're going to drop as much money as you will on something like this, you better do it right. I'm not going with the VIA boards, I will go with a micro-ATX... basically components you can get from places like NewEgg.
OBD-11... I have a 91 Chevy S10 (which is pre-1996, so probably none of that fancy shmancy engine ****) so is it worth considering a system involving this component. This aspect consumed the least of my research, but I thought it might be valuable because I dont' know a lot about engines and that it could help me diagnose my own problems and help out my mechanic besides me describing the wierd sounds cars make over the phone.
Never installed car stereos or done any wiring. I understand the diagrams, but I was wondering, how hard is actually doing the soldering and getting this stuff to work? Am I going to spend hours just trying to acclamate myself to this trade? Or is it something feasible?
Am I going to need anything but a dremel tool and other basic hand tools? (I've got a drill, jigsaw, sander and other stuff [hammers, screwdrivers, etc.]) This is not including the actual materials... and for that matter, is this something I can do without a garage and a huge room exhaust system?
GPS confuses me... what actually do I need if I'm running (basically) a hidden PC located under my seat? If I get a USB GPS device, do I need an antenna and software only or are there other requirements?
I live in Maine where my truck will sit in sub-zero weather overnight, all day, in the snow, etc... and it could stay in that type of weather for a couple days at a time due to snowfall. I've read that this shouldn't be a huge problem, but since my truck is so old, I figured I'd ask.
How about breaking into the dash and removing the seat and effing with all the stock parts... I physically dont' know how to remove all the plastic covering my dash. I read there are books made for each model of a car telling you how to do this... does anyone know if they are worth looking at? (I ask because, chances are, the local autozone won't have my specific manual on hand) Otherwise, are there any other resources for this? I had a wicked hard time finding stuff like this. Easy to find PC Mod stuff, not so much for trucks.
In addition to all this junk (aka carputer), I will have a CB radio in my truck. Is there any kind of all-in-one antenna for cb/fm radio/wifi, etc? or is it all going to be separate? I saw wifi antennas and they are real low profile (as opposed to cb radio antennas) which is good.
FM radios... is it even worth it to try for FM radio via PC (minus HU)? Seems like it's kind of a crappy alternative to a decent HU. And I love hockey, so I'll need my AM radio :D
Here's my biggest question. (I know, so many of them! ;) ) Opinions on layout! I figured it's easiest, since I want a regular PC, to mount that either under my seat or behind it. Either way, not much difference. What I'm concerned about is the touchscreen, the dvd player and the fm radio (if I go with a headunit). I figured the single din digitalww screen coupled with a slimline dvd via usb to mobo would work, but that relies on my fm radio question above.
Expertise, opinion, etc welcome and appreciated! Thanks so much for reading my post! (And thanks for everyone else posting their experience! I think this is one of the most innovative, creative things people can do with computers. Just great.)