My first car PC
Hey guys, this is my first post and my first attempt at a car PC. I've been toying with the idea for years, but the LCD cost was always prohibitive (most I was interested in were over $600 when I looked), so I finally decided I wanted a GPS system, mp3 player (better than the Dell DJ I currently own that only stores 15GB of music), DVD player, and all around full-power computer in the car and started doing research. Since I had some spare parts laying around, I decided it was time... (For reference, I do know PC's very well, so at least the PC part of my mod will work hehe. I'm more worried about my power setup than anything...)
The current system that I'm working with to go into my car is as follows:
MSI i865 motherboard (typical ATX)
80GB 3.5" WD 7200 8MB PATA
All-In-Wonder 9000 pro
SB Live sound card
netgear 802.11b/g wireless network card
mitsumi FDD/USB card reader
liteon 52x32x52/16X CD-RW/DVD-ROM
Currently a 300W generic power supply. (looking into other better options)
custom lexan case (still being built)
Dynamix 7" TFT touchscreen LCD
wireless remote (from AIW)
MS streets and trips 2005 w/ GPS
changed to wired mouse and keyboard (i can't stand my wireless ones)
Windows XP home (already wish I'd gotten Pro...bah!)
Originally, I was going to do a hardwired system with a power inverter (800W) that would be wired like an amp (wish these things had a remote wire option) would be powering a cheap 350VA APC UPS, which would have a remote switch in the cabin . However, my plans have changed since I've come here and done some of my own research. Apparently, my UPS doesn't like power coming from an inverter, so I'm thinking about a .5 or 1 farad cap before the inverter (I'll be adding a sub to my car's stock Bose system eventually anyway).
I just ordered the CarPC Pro v.2.4 - The Most Advanced ATX Power Controller a few hours ago, so hopefully once I get all this done, things will be more automatic and allow me more freedom than the setup I'd planned to have would have.
As for what I plan to do with this PC...I'm a photographer, so I wanted a card reader and spare storage. I can also import video from my video camera (gonna add a firewire card eventually, for now I can use Svideo if I must...). I want my music of course, I wanted a gps navigation system, and DVD's, MS word, possible internet access (cell phone or wireless 802.11b/g, or if need be, wired 10/100 at home), maybe some games. Pretty much want a full-powered desktop system to use wherever, without a laptop getting lugged around (yes, I am aware it's a celeron, but it's still more powerful than those damn underpowered Vias). I also plan on keeping the car completely stock looking, I'm hoping that people who don't know the car will never know it's in there.
Anyway, enough about my little plans...this site is a great resource and I'll be back often. Thanks for everything...any suggestions and comments are welcome...
Just make sure to check out the 'Fabrication' section, dont be lazy/ghetto and strap you system in the trunk and surround it with foam.
not sure exactly how it's gonna be mounted yet, might be having a friend build me a custom-fitted shelf or something so i can later add more without worrying about damage. This first case is more an expiriment to see what I can do. I assume it will go pretty well. My next car will have a lot more custom work done and will get a much smaller PC with just as much power. right now, size is not a concern (I'm using a fullsize ATX and trunkmounting it), my main concern is getting it working. again, my main problem will probably be power...
anyone here use optima yellow top batteries in their cars? I was going to get a redtop for the higher CCA, but i'm wondering if a yellowtop deep cycle would maybe be better...i don't really want to get a second battery, but maybe that's a better idea than a .5 or 1 farad cap in the trunk...
bah...so many decidions...and so much more money than I expected...
any (other) newbie who's building your first car PC - figure out what you think you're gonna spend and add at least a few hundred dollars to it....lol
I'm amazed and happy to mention that an opus 150 will power this system fine (even when I had the celeron 2400 @ 2800MHz....oops)
the car is getting wired with some help in the coming week...
box itself is nothing to be impressed with...it's huge in it's current form, but it'll serve it's purpose for now, until I learn how better to fabricate a box. It was more a test of theory....now that it all works I'll redesign for a much better look...
I can't wait for it to finally be in permanently...
this site's been great...can't thank everyone enough for all their help...