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Thread: I made a cheap nasty car PC - what you think

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate will1384's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Jefferson, AR U.S.A

    I made a cheap nasty car PC - what you think

    Its not done yet - and I had to use what I had on hand - no $$$

    I got a used Socket 370 Motherboard with P3 700mhz CPU
    20GB used hard disk and a old used ATX power suply
    and 128mb mem and stuffed it into a old black and white
    Security monitor CRT case - I got a old datalux Lmv10r 10
    inch LCD for $50 - it was dim so I replaced the miniature
    florescent light - mounted the datalux on a old cell phone
    mount arm - I have a power button in my cup holder
    the computer is in the back seat on the floor bord
    and its powerd by a inverter in the trunk - the inverter is
    turned off and on by a relay that also turns my amps of
    and on - lazzy - the bios is set to stay off if loss of power,
    and the computer only comes on when I push the on/off
    button - I disabled "Write Caching" in windows to keep
    from losing data if power loss and hard disk is mounted
    on its side - to help protect it -

    I use a mouse and joystick - and keyboard software
    so no need for a keyboard - and I hide the mouse and joy
    stick in my arm rest

    I even have GPS

    You can see my page at
    Its a free web page so the bandwidth is low -

    I dont have lots of $$$$
    and I have lots of computer scrap

    All I had to spend money on was
    the inverter $35, LCD $50, Mouse $10,
    JoyStick $10 - every thing else I had

    I works well - but I need better software
    and the touch screen does not work - Yes I have
    read the fourns - and tried all the drivres - but
    I dont need it any way

    I want a good cheep or free GPS software - but
    just for speed, distance, heading, stuff like that
    I will pull over and use MS Streets and trips
    to find were I am at on a map - I have ADD
    real bad -

    I want to access OBD 1 data using my computer
    and see gauges or something - I have a Auto Xray
    but I want some thing easer and simple, on screen
    and needs to be cheep - real cheap

    My head unit Plays MP3s so thats not needed ,
    and the computer is more for when I have to sit and wait
    in my car - something to help not be bored - I could
    watch a movie or play a game - and I am a computer
    tech - so a extra computer computer might be good
    to have - load it up with windows drivers and and
    have a cd burner - ect ect

    I also want to set up a car alarm, and tint my windows

    - what car alarms are good and low cost ???

    I Attached some pics
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  2. #2
    Self proclaimed spoon feeder TruckinMP3's Avatar
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    Jun 2002
    You are way ahead of the curve for new memebers. Welcome.
    D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

    Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

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  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate nsmoller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    that true what he says about inverters? being more heat than electricity?

    next - wifi

  4. #4
    Variable Bitrate will1384's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Jefferson, AR U.S.A
    that true what he says about inverters? being more heat than electricity?
    I not shure how mutch it loses as heat - but
    that why there is heat - a inverter is just like a amp - And running a
    amp or amps,computer, head lights, radio, inverter, AC, ect ect loads
    your alternator down a lot, any little bit to lessen that load helps

    I think I may need a new LCD mount - any cheap ones -
    I hit a bump and the lcd moved down and stayed there -
    and the wing nuts are way more than hand tight , I need
    to be able to move the LCD but it should stay were I put it
    - its a heavy LCD - I think 5 pounds - its like all metal
    I guess I can live with the thought that if I get in a
    car crach and the car is totaled the LCD will live on - LOL
    OR If I get car jacked I can rip it off its mount and beat
    them to death with it - what were they used in
    - Tanks ??? - HumVs - I herd Cop cars, but how could
    they see such a dim screen in the day

    I want to get a DC to DC ATX Power Supply - I am using a 300w inverter
    to power a 100w ATX Power Supply - I know its wastes a lot of power
    that way - How much is it wasting ???

    I need to rewire so that the computer can be turned on without
    the radio - for longer run times - with the car turned off
    - I know how to do - I am just lazy - I will wait till I get
    the DC to DC ATX Power Supply and just not use the relay

    I guess I need to limit the volts going to the Power Supply
    and keep them at 12v - so thats another $30 or more
    on top of the cost of the Power Supply unless I get the
    all in one unit for like $80 or more - I thought about
    that when using the Datalux LCD, So my ATX Power Supply
    powers the LCD

    Some day I will replace the Datalux with a Liliput
    and use the touch screen - replace my radio
    and use the computer for sound - but thats not for a
    long time

    And someday I will put linux on it -

    Every 2 or 3 months I will spend a $100 or so

    Any thoughts, Ideas stuff like that

  5. #5
    See me in my wet t-shirt. stevieg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Warwickshire, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by nsmoller
    that true what he says about inverters? being more heat than electricity?
    Energy cannot be created or destroyed.. and invertors aren't that efficient hence the heat is where the extra energy used goes. hence why the invertor cases are usually just big heatsinks.
    Ford Focus MP3 : Blog Updated 29 January 2009!
    Car PC Status: Complete - Undergoing Software Redevelopment

  6. #6
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    My Car PC has been in the works for over a year. I still haven't put the damn thing in. Running into issues with my TV out on my vid card not working with my monitor. Congrats on putting yours up.

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate csnowman00's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Wilkes-Barre, PA
    energy can be created or destroyed, but thats getting a big physics geek :-P
    Current Progress:
    Final Assembly

    Ramline P3 PC
    10.4 inch Touchscreen
    Windows XP Embedded
    Road Runner
    Electrical Engineer / Mobile DJ

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Washington DC
    Looks good, man.
    For the money you spent, that has to be the nicest system Ive seen.

    "Dont jack and drive"
    My first carPC!
    MP3/CD player
    Celeron 633MHz - 10GB Seagate - 64MB PC100 - Win XP

    Soon to actually find its way into the car!

  9. #9
    MySQL Error jcdillin's Avatar
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    May 2003
    Miami, FL
    Welcome, and great job!
    S60 Install

  10. #10
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Nice one! Just watch the Pc doesnt get pinched.

    As for the inverter, i think it might not use a full 300w if the load is only 100W. I suspect the load on the slave end of the transformer (i assume thats how they work - never looked in one) has an effect on the driving current - like alternators etc so it might not be complete overkill and by the time you aco**** for a saftey margin and inefficencies it aint too bad for now. the next step down (no pun intended) would be 150W which in my opinion is cutting it close with a 100W running off it.

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