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Thread: 2-vehicle Ford project

  1. #1
    Newbie techboj's Avatar
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    2-vehicle Ford project

    n00b alert

    Hi all. Actually, I've been lurking ever since a friend of mine who's also a member on this forums introduced me to the idea of putting a computer in a vehicle way back in 2003. Even though I'm not a newbie to cars, autosound and computers I have learned so much from reading these forums. It's really humbling to see people with so much knowledge and who are all willing to share their experiences (good or bad) to make this hobby much more enjoyable for the newly annointed

    My requirements: The carputer had to be powerful enough to run desktop applications; had to be removable and non-obstrusive; had to be transferable between two vehicles and aesthetically pleasing (doesn't look like crap and spaghetti wires thrown together). The two vehicles both have aftermarket sound systems with multiple subs. The first vehicle is a 92 Ford Probe and the other one is a 99 Ford Explorer 2 door sport 4wd. I also intend to keep all the aftermarket sound system installations (yeah, I know it's redundant but it's already installed and I don't want to tear them out). Both vehicles will have their own monitor(s). Only the carputer section will be moveable between two vehicles.

    Neither applications will require the monitors and pc to be switched automatically. Both vehicles already have dual battery setup (for the sound system). Power is via inverter. These inverters were installed a while back (Xantrex/Prosine 400). Good clean true sinewave and survive crank even without the extra battery. The pc itself is completed. DVD burner, serial gps, etc. (see sig) Only the monitor is to be installed in the explorer. I've odered a second monitor (to be installed in the probe). Power and reset switches, LED for power and hdd led moved to front of vehicle. All these connections are quick disconnect using modifed parallel port + db25 connector and cat 5 cable.

    No front end yet. Basically still using windows interface. Stripped down to basics using nlite. Navigation via TS, KB and a remote wonder that came with an ATI AIW video card. Pictures to follow.
    Carputer revision !! (arghh - getting costlier than originally expected )
    Vehicle 1: P4-2.4/PM800-M2/512MB/160GB/WLan/dual battery/Xantrex400/700IDT
    Vehicle 2: AMD-XP2500/A7V400 MX/512/120GB//WLan/Xantrex400/700TS

  2. #2
    Newbie techboj's Avatar
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    Some pictures.
    Computer buildup process. Basically it's a stock mATX case sized to fit between the fenderwell and subwoofer box (see my avatar). Sorry for the slightly fuzzy pics - I took them at 3am without flash
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  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate
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    I didn't realize until halfway thru your first post that you had already built the PC, I was going to recommend going with a laptop and then one docking station in each car for easy removal, switching, etc. I saw in one of the Show Off threads where someone built a "docking" station for a PC where everything could be connected and unconnected in one [large] plug.
    2005 Black Chevy Impala
    Current Status: Installed in Vehicle/Testing 75%

  4. #4
    Raw Wave RoyN's Avatar
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    Pretty cool, but a rather huge case IMHO... I'd probably have chosen something smaller, like a shuttle or something, with 2 similar mounts, that the computer can just slide in and out of on both cars...

  5. #5
    Newbie techboj's Avatar
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    Thanks for ther idea. I was thinking of the same but the existing wiring for the sound system provided certain issues that could have introduced noise. Basically, I am still running 3 plugs / connectors going to the back of the pc. One for power, one for usb connections and another for all switches and led's. The first runs on the driver side of the vehicle and the other two run on the passenger side (alongside existing wiring for the updated sound system). Also with three plugs, it's easier to hide them when the carputer is installed in the other vehicle as opposed to a docking-port type connection.

    In the truck, the pc will be standing upright alongside the subwoofer box and inside the car, it will be placed horizontally. Existing speaker enclosures for both vehicles are red/silver in color (alpine red/silver for the type r box in the truck and Sony xlpode red for the car). So basically, it will look like a part of the system and not an afterthought. Incidentally, sound coming from the pc is fed through USB into the sony head unit that has an XA300 input.

  6. #6
    Newbie techboj's Avatar
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    Thanks. The case looks big in the pictures. But but it fits just about right for my application. I'll take a picture when I get home. It's roughly 12" high x 5" inches wide, depth is not an issue since it will be hidden for my applicatiopn. Plus running an athlon cpu posses cooling issues in a very tight case. It's already running 41C at idle (sorry I got the sensors switched when I took the lcd picture)

  7. #7
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    How often are you going to be moving the PC? Daily? That would get old real quick...can't knock you for trying though...
    2005 Black Chevy Impala
    Current Status: Installed in Vehicle/Testing 75%

  8. #8
    Newbie techboj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelbrain
    How often are you going to be moving the PC? Daily? That would get old real quick...can't knock you for trying though...
    Daily? - not really. The truck is my daily driver. I use it to haul my junk and stuff. But I also need to be able to remove the carputer and subwoofer assembly at a moment's notice. The car is parked in my other house and only get to use it during weekends. I'm not really sure how much I would need the carputer in that vehicle but I'm just forseeing that during those days when I will be using the car, I still want the functionality of the pc, gps, etc. Having the carputer in the truck will be a big change for me - and it's probably going to be something that I will learn to love and crave and miss not having (withdrawal symptoms? hehe).

  9. #9
    Newbie techboj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyN
    Pretty cool, but a rather huge case IMHO... I'd probably have chosen something smaller, like a shuttle or something, with 2 similar mounts, that the computer can just slide in and out of on both cars...

    Here are some pics of the pc in the back of the truck. The vinyl cargo cover is temporary and is actually the one that came with the truck. I have an mdf cover (like a "table-top") that goes on top of everything with a plexi-window that also protects the subs - so I can still use the space above the box for my junk. Everything is removable and the box had to be bolted down with quick release fasteners (for insurance purposes) - but easily removed if I need all the space.
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  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate SniperXX's Avatar
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    Lookin tight. Nice subs and enclosure!

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