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Thread: Carputer for an '03 Tahoe

  1. #1
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    Carputer for an '03 Tahoe

    Hello all -

    My best friend (his name is Bags) just bought a 2003 Tahoe and is excited about the idea of a carputer. My brother builds computers, but has never dealt with carputer parts. Bags and I are the creative ones and are going to do the setup and fabrication in the SUV. Together (with your help), we should be able to make a kick-*** system.

    Here's the deal. Bags wants his computer to do the following:

    • MP3
    • GPS
    • DVD movies
    • CD's
    • AM/FMRadio
    • XBox
    • Photos

    Now, we are starting from scratch, so we need to buy everything. Money isn't an issue with either of us (nice change from most of the posts), but there is no need to go overboard since we have other projects planned for his SUV. He only wants a computer that will do what he asks it to do. The only knowledge I have of carputers is what I have read on these boards. We have no preference on anything, but we would like 512MB RAM, a 7” touchscreen monitor, and a 160GB Maxtor HD. We will be running a 4ch amp and a 2ch amp for sound. So we need a card worthy of that. We also plan on using a DC-DC power supply (like an OPUS). I’m still unclear as to what needs to be done in order for the comp to hibernate/shut down/etc. when the car is off. Also, he would like to add a 14” overhead monitor as well. I don’t know how to make this interface with the computer, but we want the monitors to be able to run the same video source (DVD in-dash / DVD overhead) as well as switch to a different source (DVD in-dash / Xbox overhead) and vice versa. We will use an inverter, but we plan for it to only be used for the XBox. We also plan on making a custom case after we get all of the parts, but have no idea what material yet (suggestions?).

    I’m sure there are a million things I’m forgetting to say here, but I will be keeping track of your suggestions and comments and trying to answer any questions you may have for us as well. Thanks for your help and wish us luck!

  2. #2
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    Unhappy

    Hello out there... can anyone please help out with some suggestions? Posted this thing awhile ago and still no one has replied. Please help.

  3. #3
    Stank Cheese n8scstm's Avatar
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    Well I would go with the 8" lilliput touch screen. It fits in the tahoe better. Takes up more of the space where the stereo and a/c controls used to be. I built a carputer for my silverado which has the same interior as the tahoe. I belive the tahoe has the center console though. I moved the a/c controls and placed the screen in the spot where the radio and a/c controls used to be. You may want to put the screen in the center console below the radio because it will be easier but in my opinion, too low and then youll have a radio with no functionality so youll have to either ignore it or put something there.
    For the 14", make sure you get a monitor with at lest 2 inputs so you can switch from one to the other. Or youll have to buy or make a realy switching device. (a/b switch) But then youll have to mount the switch somewhere, where if you just get it already in the monitor it will look better. Youll need a video card with composite out (s-video or RCA's) If you're gonna have an inverter already get a bigger one and power the computer from it as well. No need for a DC-DC power supply (opus) If money is no object, buy a d31 optima auxillary battery($200) The thing kicks ***. Youll also need a battery isolator. Then you can run the computer all the time without worrying about killing the starter battery. Use any sound card that has at least 6 outputs. Audigy sound blaster will be fine ($100). For a computer check out dell.com Go under small business computers, they have better deals and they dont check your business. Just make up a name. Heres a link for good dell deals. I would go with one of those. Can't beat that price.
    2.4 celeron
    150 watt OPUS
    micro atx
    xp pro
    tv/radio tuner card
    audigy
    Dual monitor Radeon
    802.11G Mimo
    xm pcr
    dvd
    gps
    8" Lilliput touch screen
    IGuidance
    dual optimas
    battery isolator
    15" screen
    My Truck

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the reply. I have a 500W (1000W max) inverter in my 4Runner that runs my PS2 and was thinking about using the same inverter for Bags' Tahoe. You mentioned a D31 Optima inverter... what is the wattage on that one. It's substantially more than mine in my 4Runner? My inverter was $60 and is made from StarVision, the same company as my 8" overhead monitor in my 4Runner. Seems to work fine, but if this D31 Optima is better for running XBox and a carputer, then we would go with the D31. Thanks again for your input. Anyone else?

  5. #5
    Stank Cheese n8scstm's Avatar
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    The d31 optima is a battery not an inverter. I was suggesting that you use 2 batteries. One as a starter the other as a deep cycle aux. battery. The inverter I use is a 1500 watt true-power(3000 watt max) I got it for $80 at costco.
    2.4 celeron
    150 watt OPUS
    micro atx
    xp pro
    tv/radio tuner card
    audigy
    Dual monitor Radeon
    802.11G Mimo
    xm pcr
    dvd
    gps
    8" Lilliput touch screen
    IGuidance
    dual optimas
    battery isolator
    15" screen
    My Truck

  6. #6
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    Oh. My bad... thanks for the clarification/correction.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoccerDad17
    Money isn't an issue with either of us
    Because of this you will WANT to go with the Xenarc 8" touch, stay as far away as possibly from lilliput....do just a quick search and you will find out why I say this.....there are a LOT of problems with the Lilliputs....I have the 8" Xenarc, I swapped it in for my 7" Xenarc...I started a thread about it here:
    Xenarc 800TSV 8" TFT LCD /w Touchscreen - Brushed Aluminum
    and the screen can be found here:
    http://www.mp3car.com/store/product_...products_id=55

    we would like 512MB RAM
    that's what most will suggest

    a 7” touchscreen monitor
    see above for my response to this

    a 160GB Maxtor HD
    why this brand? Seagates are a better quality according to some reviews and the Barracuda is one of hte quitest on the market....just a thought...I bought my 200gb Seagate Barracuda with an 8meg cash from NewEgg.com for $109 + shipping when they were running a special a while back

    We will be running a 4ch amp and a 2ch amp for sound. So we need a card worthy of that.
    You will want to run an eq or something to boost the voltage as it comes out of the sound card. It's regularly somewhere below 2v, that's pretty low in teh car audio world....get an eq and you can boost that in the range of 6v to 10v. AND you will have a master volume controll as well.

    We also plan on using a DC-DC power supply (like an OPUS). I’m still unclear as to what needs to be done in order for the comp to hibernate/shut down/etc. when the car is off.
    Depending on your power consumption needs (which you will figure out once you have the hardware for the computer all sorted out, I would look into the M1-ATX. It has a butt load of functions built in, including an amp turn on so you don't deal with pop, not to mention user selectible timing for start-up and shut-down. You can find it here:
    http://www.mp3car.com/store/product_...products_id=67


    he would like to add a 14” overhead monitor as well. I don’t know how to make this interface with the computer, but we want the monitors to be able to run the same video source (DVD in-dash / DVD overhead) as well as switch to a different source (DVD in-dash / Xbox overhead) and vice versa.
    You will need to get a video card that will allow you to do this. Do a bit of searching and asking and you will find what you need.


    We will use an inverter, but we plan for it to only be used for the XBox.
    with a DC-DC PSU you will ONLY need the inverter for things like this, that is of course unless the X-box will run off of 12v....check the wlal plug and see if it says 12v on it, if so you can just wire it into the cars electrical system and get much cleaner sound.

    We also plan on making a custom case after we get all of the parts, but have no idea what material yet (suggestions?).
    you can do Plexi, but if you have never worked with it before it will be a little tricky to learn how to bend it and cut it without it going crazy on you. Some people do MDF, as for me....I did this:

    Being that it's going to be kept behind a pannel and will never been seen I'm not finishing it out, but you could do something like that and have it painted, vinyl it, etc to give it a finished look.

    More questions will come up when you get started, I really suggest reading on here a bit before you dive into it, you will save yourself a lot of time, headache, and cash....chances are no matter what you are doing someone has tried it before and can give you a few pointers. You can check my web page that's in my signiture for ideas and to see what I have done.....I should be getting my screen and center console back from the painters today and will be taking my amp rack to be painted....

    you can also check the install forum for ideas on that particular vehicle, just do a quick search for your vehicle.....

    hope this helps!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate hd54321's Avatar
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    Red - I've gotta complement the very well thought-out response

  9. #9
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    lol - thanks.....I don't think I have ever had that before....guess there's a first time for everything hu?
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  10. #10
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    Awesome input so far... thanks and keep the ideas coming!

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