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Thread: Newbie Questions for a 2nd Time!

  1. #1
    Newbie
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    Newbie Questions for a 2nd Time!

    Probably the standard newbie questions here, but I've
    searched through the forums and seen a lot of
    different answers, but I know that new products come
    out all the time so I'm not sure how dated some of the
    advice may be. I was around way back when the mp3car
    thing was first taking off (Cobra 1.0, etc... back
    when half the people you talked to didnt know what an
    mp3 was), but I never constructed anything and have
    been out of the loop for a long time. Here's the
    random questions I have:


    Case -- I own a Tahoe SUV, so I've got plenty and
    plenty of space in the way back for a dedicated PC,
    but is something small and "industrial" needed for the automobile? Have most found just going with a smaller case is not good/safe enough?

    Hard drive -- 2.5" notebook drives are hella
    expensive, but have most people found that the 3.5"
    drives are just not cutting it?

    Wireless NIC -- hard to rig something up that I could
    pull the car into the garage and transfer via wireless
    nic?

    Display -- I'm looking for a touchscreen, probably
    around 7"... have most people had good experiences
    with the lilliput? Easily legible text when looking at
    GPS maps?

    GPS -- my father has some mapping software, but what
    kind of hardware would I need? any suggestions?
    expensive? What sofware do most people use?

    Amp -- I currently have no amplifier, and am
    admittedly a newb when it comes to car audio (or audio
    hardware in general). Will I need an amp? What's a
    good price for an entry-level amp?

    Power Supply/Startup -- I remember back in the day
    someone designed a car startup switch but it was in
    the very basic stages... Seems like there's a lot of
    stuff out there now... What is my best option if I
    want the computer to not have a problem quickly starting/shutting-off based on the car's status?

    Operating System: Is there a standard setup most
    people use now where the CarPC can quickly boot up? Is
    there an additional piece of sofware that most use as
    the frontend nowadays?

    Satellite radio: I read a few posts about some
    integrated XM with some hardware... I currently have a
    Sirius satellite radio -- will it need to be
    completely separate from my PC setup, or can I
    integrate it easily somehow?

    Car dash modifications: Almost above everything else,
    I want this to look sharp. I've kept my Tahoe in good
    looking condition, and don't want to "junk it out"
    with hardware going every which way. If I am in a
    major city (Dallas/Fort Worth), how hard will it be to
    find a reputable guy that will mod my dash based on
    what i'm looking for, so that it looks sharp and
    almost factory-like? These wouldn't be huge
    modifications, but the dash would have to be modified.
    These guys hard to find? What is the going rate for
    work like this? If I can pay $300-$400 (not counting
    the hardware costs) to have an installation that looks
    damn sharp, I certainly don't mind paying it. In
    addition to that, will these guys likely know how to
    connect the PC to the car battery in the way it needs
    to be? My lack of knowledge on audio hardware also
    applies to automobiles.... Computers I can do


    I appreciate all the help I can get

  2. #2
    Admin. Linux loser.
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    You asked 20 questions in your post. You probably won't get the kinds of answers you want by asking for everything. Many of your questions are discussed daily in the forums and good starting points are the FAQs in the Newbie section.

    Also, check the "show off your project forum" and search on "Tahoe". There were seven projects in there that mentioned a Tahoe.

    It will take a lot of planning to successfully put a computer in your truck. That is because each installation is customized for your car, budget, and needs. You should expect to read an awful lot before being ready to install. In the meantime, I often point new members to the following location to assist in planning their systems: http://www.carnetix.com/DecisionTree/DecisionTree.htm
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate Saab9-5's Avatar
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    Bugbyte's right. You're going to need to read an awful lot. I've been reading through the forums for 4 months. I had three designs come and go because I found another idea here or there that changed things. I've now got a good design layed out and have begun purchasing the parts I'll need.

  4. #4
    Newbie impulsenine's Avatar
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    Wink

    Of course ... the bad thing about reading these forums is that a project always seems to grow exponentially because there's so many cool ideas on this forum.

    I think you're going about this the right way in that you're getting the information together now before you start punching holes in your car, but consider the 3 or 4 months it's going to take to do the proper research time to save up for all the extra components you've forgotten you'll need to buy.

    I admit I haven't yet made a carputer, but I'd still reccomend making a complete to-do list (like this uncompleted one of my own) and considering how everything works. Some of this stuff you won't be able to find someone to install it competently.

    Maybe the best thing to do is obsess for a while. Things will occur to you. For example, I'm not cool with letting my carputer control ANY aspect of my car's functions - such as kill switches, cruise control, etc - in case it goes haywire. So I nixed that, when it was initially on my list.

    Ask your friends for ideas. If you have any electrician friends, ask them. Any carputer ought to be a project that involves friends.

    And one last thought - look up the posts on using bondo and fiberglass. I personally think it's much cooler to have a totally custom hand-made job.

  5. #5
    Variable Bitrate
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    to try to cut that list down

    case - build a case that would fit the application. there's nothing wrong with taking a regular aluminum desktop case and bolting it to the floor. or you could build one from plexiglass. just how much work you want to put into it.

    2.5 harddrives are more equipped to handle being tossed around. regular 3.5's are made for sitting on the desk/floor of a room. of course, ppl have been running 3.5's and there hasn't been an extraordinary number of hard drive failures.

    wireless. no not hard. car computer is just another computer. just same as if u had a laptop in your car. hook up a usb wifi adapter and yer set.

    the lilli is a VGA screen. it's 800x480 resolution. the font may be small but it's sharp. it's same as trying to read 10pt font from 5ft away. sure it might be small but it's sharp on the monitor.

    gps. u'll need a gps receiver. there's tons of options out there. just go look

    gps software. again no shortage of options.

    u will need an amp or a headunit with rca inputs. the signal coming out of the computer jack is no where close to being able to drive the speaker.

  6. #6
    Registered User Dudes99's Avatar
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    Location
    Norfolk, Va
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    Well as a fellow SUV owner I guess I'll give it a try.

    First off, listen to what everyone above me said, it's true. I'm in the same boat as impulse.....

    anyway:

    Case -- I own a Tahoe SUV, so I've got plenty and
    plenty of space in the way back for a dedicated PC,
    but is something small and "industrial" needed for the automobile? Have most found just going with a smaller case is not good/safe enough?

    You can put a fullsize case in the back if you want

    Hard drive -- 2.5" notebook drives are hella
    expensive, but have most people found that the 3.5"
    drives are just not cutting it?

    Multiple links on this one. Very contested between Laptop/Desktop/Solid state(CF card). I personally am going Desktop.

    Wireless NIC -- hard to rig something up that I could
    pull the car into the garage and transfer via wireless
    nic?

    No different than doing it your house plus you can add netstumbler for when you are out and about.

    Display -- I'm looking for a touchscreen, probably
    around 7"... have most people had good experiences
    with the lilliput? Easily legible text when looking at
    GPS maps?

    I hear the 8" Lilliput has far fewer problems than the 7", could be there are fewer 8" users though.....

    GPS -- my father has some mapping software, but what
    kind of hardware would I need? any suggestions?
    expensive? What sofware do most people use?

    Havn't researched this one enough yet....

    Amp -- I currently have no amplifier, and am
    admittedly a newb when it comes to car audio (or audio
    hardware in general). Will I need an amp? What's a
    good price for an entry-level amp?

    I am doing a phased approach. Phase 1 is getting the PC in the vehicle and using the current Head Unit via a PIE connector or cassette (GHETTO)

    Power Supply/Startup -- I remember back in the day
    someone designed a car startup switch but it was in
    the very basic stages... Seems like there's a lot of
    stuff out there now... What is my best option if I
    want the computer to not have a problem quickly starting/shutting-off based on the car's status?

    Get a second battery for your accessories. We have the room under the hood from the factory.

    Operating System: Is there a standard setup most
    people use now where the CarPC can quickly boot up? Is
    there an additional piece of sofware that most use as
    the frontend nowadays?

    WinXP is the defacto standard. Search on minlogin for good ideas. Many frontends out nowadays look for the sticky in the forums......

    Satellite radio: I read a few posts about some
    integrated XM with some hardware... I currently have a
    Sirius satellite radio -- will it need to be
    completely separate from my PC setup, or can I
    integrate it easily somehow?

    I know someone has Sirus support, for it! I am a XM head myself

    Car dash modifications: Almost above everything else,
    I want this to look sharp. I've kept my Tahoe in good
    looking condition, and don't want to "junk it out"
    with hardware going every which way. If I am in a
    major city (Dallas/Fort Worth), how hard will it be to
    find a reputable guy that will mod my dash based on
    what i'm looking for, so that it looks sharp and
    almost factory-like? These wouldn't be huge
    modifications, but the dash would have to be modified.
    These guys hard to find? What is the going rate for
    work like this? If I can pay $300-$400 (not counting
    the hardware costs) to have an installation that looks
    damn sharp, I certainly don't mind paying it. In
    addition to that, will these guys likely know how to
    connect the PC to the car battery in the way it needs
    to be? My lack of knowledge on audio hardware also
    applies to automobiles.... Computers I can do

    OK, I don't know what yeay HOE you have so I can't tell you to build a new console for it since the 00 and up have the full middle console. If you have that mount the monitor on the a cell phone stalk type mount.

    I hope this helps but just keep searching and searching and searching.............

  7. #7
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    45
    People dont like to read very long posts. Furthermore, people don't like to write long answers. Ask one at a time, and use a title that describes the question so you can get the experts advice rather than a bunch of guys who know a little about everything. As far as some of your answers, any case will work. I have no probs with my 3.5"...yet, except it keeps coming unpluged because I havnt had time to hot glue it. For an amp, I'd go with the Lanzar Opti4x400d because its good and cheap. Wireless =use any wifi card. Use any usb gps module. They are all the same mostly. Power supply - one of two ways. Opus, or dual isolated batteries with inverter and standard power supply. Sirius - depending on your unit, it may work. Look here - http://www.timetraxtech.com/SearchRe...1&Redirected=Y It will integrate if you have the right one. If not get the XM or use an imput from the unit you already have and you wont be able to control it with the comp. OS- win xp pro for mainly for the remote desktop.

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