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Thread: I begin my Carputer Journey

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    I begin my Carputer Journey

    So before you go and spend half an hour responding to me let it be known I am not yet certain I plan to embark on this endeavour yet. I have the money, I have the interest, but I have greater interests... the thing is the other interests are against my parents wishes so the next few days will show which "plan" I go with lol.

    Here is what I was looking at hardware wise (everything but the first two items are from NewEgg.com);

    Lilliput 7": $280
    Opus 150W DC-DC PSU: $170
    Asus A7V400 mini ATX: $50
    AMD Sempron +2200 Processor: $65
    2x256mb Kingston Value Ram 2700: $50
    Samsung SpinPoint 40gb 7200RPM HDD: $50
    NEC Slim DVD/RW/DL/etc: $100

    For a grand total of ~$755

    One thing I am not sure about is the HDD. Part of me thinks since they so cheap I might as well get a large one and keep everything on it. Part of me plans on getting the 40gb just for windows and software, and then run MP3's, videos, etc off an external. Part of me thinks it would be really sweet (especially since I have so many smaller HDDs laying around) to setup a "flash HDD" setup just pop in a HDD with movies I want or such in. Not sure though if power wise it would be better to go with a single larger, or if it would actually work better with two, not sure...

    I know the DVD Burner may be overkill but I want a DL burner and rather than spend an assload to get a DVD player for my car and a DVD burner for my comp I might as well get one for the car (besides it has good reviews and I could save like $40-50 getting a non burner so who cares).

    I think it sounds like a good setup hardware wise, simplisticly easy to expand on (IE 3 PCI to add sound card, or 8x AGP slot etc. etc.) yet strong in the harder to upgrade areas such as processor and memory. Again some of the things may be overkill but if I simplified everything (Duron intead of Athlon, 256mb instead of 512, etc, etc) I might save like $100 and that $100 isn't going to make or break the project so I just assume get a kicking carputer system.

    My other fear is the mobo, I am an advocate for not skimping on the motherboard, at first I had one that was like $39 lol, but I decided I might as well spend the extra $10 and get a namebrand one like Asus that at least I know has the name behind it lol.

    And lastly I dont know if power wise this would all fit under 150W, again I'm an advocate of stuffing the latest and greatest into systems, so I don't know how to shop "conservatively" lol.

    Lastly I know I am missing some minor hardware such as GPS etc. etc., but those are things I can add, I am looking more at the things I need to get this up and working.

    And this time really lastly, I am going to run by Car Toys tomorrow, they have a "perfect fit" DVD system for my Monte Carlo so I may take a look and see if I can buy just the mounting kit.

    Thanks for any feedback!

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    Okay now talking stereos. I know this isnt necessarily the right place, but I think I have the basic idea so am looking for a yes/no. I'd go to car toys but since Ebay is so much cheaper I would feel guilty getting them to explain it all to me only to get no sales lol.

    So if I want an amp for my speakers (I don't know off the top of my head how many I have but lets assume 4, and lets assume I want to power all 4) I can either:

    A) Get a fancy 6 channel amp. The HU then runs into the amp, and the 4 speakers and 2 subs would run into the amp.

    B) Get a 4 channel amp and a 2 channel amp. The HU runs into an electronic crossover which then runs seperately into the two amps, with the appropriate subs running to the appropriate amps.

    The benefit to B) would be cost, the benefit to A) would be less wiring and less hardware in the trunk.

    Do I got it right?

    And if so, as far as a carputer is concerned is there any reason a 6 channel amp/multiple amps wouldn't work? I haven't searched yet though I read the FAQ and it only mentioned for a 4 channel (I will search and edit accordingly right when I hit submit).

    And lastly what should I look for when buying? I never see myself wanting the best sound system, want to spend as little as possible. But I do want a "decent" system. So are there certain brands to stay away from or flock to? I noticed the ohm setting, if I plan on upgrading my speakers later should I worry about 2 or 4 ohm? From what I have seen only the top of the line speakers need 4ohm and since I will never be doing top of the line to my sound I should be fine with 2ohm.


    This all sound right? Hehe I am off to search about carPC + 6channel amp =P If I don't edit it that means I didn't find anything, if I find something I will leave a comment right below this right here (lol).

    Thanks!

    P.S: If it changes anything I have the 2003 Monte Carlo SS "upgraded" sound system... about all I know is I do have an amp in the trunk. But it is extremly limited from what I can tell, and very small. My only hope would be this means I could just plug the plugs into a new amp, but I doubt it's that simple.

    EDIT: It looks like by a 5.1 it implied multiple amplifiers... so does the carPC setup (looks like I will need a sound card, but thats alright I am in budget easy so far) gets rid of the need for an electronic crossover?

    Except in that setup it looks like the sub is really center, I don't know much about audio but my entertainment system at home (5.1) the center doesnt seem to be just bass, is there a way to set that up or am I missing something? I will keep reading too see if I notice something.

    EDIT 2: Not finding answers via search, let me specify as well: I dont care about a 5.1 system, but I do want a working sub system, with the bass going to the subs and the uhhh non-bass to the speakers (notice I am very stereo savvy).

    THANKS in advance!!!!!

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    And finally for the night (seems it deserves another post). I think I understand this right (I read it in the FAQ) but before I make plans I would like to double check I got it down right.

    If I want to get FM radio my best bet is to keep my HU (this would be why so many keep the HU mounted up front I guess?) and plug that into the input on the soundcard, and then by changing that via software you can still tune/etc with the HU.

    I guess that changes things, i wanted to keep as stock as possible so now the question is do I go with a screen on an arm... or do I get a new HU (my stock HU is double din) and mount it elsewhere doing as little modification as possible... or do I say screw it and get XM (keeping the stock stereo to return to stock if the buyer in the future is retar... err wants it that way).

    Not sure what I'd rather do... continuing searching, gunna see if I can find a different solution to my radio problem (I am also a fan of AM radio every once in a while so that probably cuts some options).

  4. #4
    Constant Bitrate emdzey01's Avatar
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    why dont you just throw away your radio and get a radio tuner? yes the signal won't be as good as before, but i haven't used mine since i got a lot of songs on my car already

    amplifiers usually have built in crossovers with highpass and lowpass filters. get a 4 channel amp for mids and highs and then a 2 channel amp for your subs. 6 channel amps might give you some heat issues.


    take off your head unit. run the soundcard directly to the amps. read the faqs about this. a good sound card would be creative usb mp3+ or audigy2nx. i find the mp3+ much simpler although i use the audigy myself.

    you also might have some power issues there. go with an athlon xp-mobile processor, as this would be one less headache from your setup.

    lilliput? get a xenarc instead. i tried a lilliput at first and i was pretty satisfied, i didn't have much to complain about it. but when i got a xenarc, damn. that's how my carputer should look like. it does have a big price difference, but it's worth it.
    Brushed Metal for Centrafuse 1.4
    Brushed Aluminum for Centrafuse 1.4


    xenarc 700ts | via epia-m10k | audigy2 nx | holux gm-210 | usb wifi | 40gb 2.5" | slot-load dvd-cdrw | morex 3688 | opus 150w | centrafuse, iguidance

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    I will look more into the FM tuners, it sounds like they were "supposed to get better" but most posts about them are older. If I am listening to the radio though I am not looking for quality (obviously thats to a degree though) so i will see if I can look more into that.

    About the 4channel and 2channel amps, how do I configure that then with the CarPC? Do I just have to split the output a lot, I am guessing it's "inefficient" to run all the sound to both amps and have them only amplify what they are set to, I would assume an eletronic crossover only sending the right sounds to the right amps would be better, but like I said, assuming, I don't know hehe.

    As for screen I am actually looking more into that now, possibly one of those Ebay Xenarc rebrands people have been liking them so far it seems, and thats one thing I wouldnt mind going cheap now and upgrading later if need be.

    Power wise you mean I may have trouble running all that under 150W? I was looking probably at doing just a regular PCI sound card, maybe even the Audigy Platinum in my computer now and put a cheaper one into that to replace. Is there a good way to figure out what situation I am going to be in power wise? Also can't forget the USB crap such as bluetooth and whatnot that will also need power.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    yeah ive only been here a while, i had the same plans as you, there is NO WAY you will ft that under 150w's thats more like a 300w project!

    http://www.jscustompcs.com/power_supply/

    this site shows you how to calculate how much power you will require. Hope it helps


    \-liverpool_rule

  7. #7
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    Thats a cool link, thanks!

    Heres what I am looking at now, some changes...

    Except I am at 174 watts before screen. I know thats the "maximum" and whatnot, so would I be okay in that case with 150 watts?

    I'm not sure how I could get it any lower, that's running (same as before except)

    Athlon Mobile Processor (35W)
    Chaintech Mobo (just needed new one to fit the new FSB)
    Maxtor 7200RPM 16mb cache 300gb HDD

    The 174W is assuming 2 sticks DDR, 2 USB devices, and an Audigy w/ front panel. I could probably knock it down to 1 stick of 512 for 10 less watts but that gets rid of the DDR benefit, I'd rather keep it at two if possible. And if we take out keyboard and mouse, and floppy drive that gets us 7 less. So assuming I keep 2 sticks DDR I got: 167 watts.

    Unless you think a 150watt cant handle that I need to knock out the audigy with front bay I guess and just simplify to a regular audigy which knocks out another 11 watts which gets me down to (with 2 sticks DDR) 156 watts. Is that acceptable?

    Though the screen is ~7watts so yea... not sure if I need to plan for the maximum spike (and I would assume it doesn't all spike at once even if something happens) so maybe that would be fine?

    Thanks!

    P.S Any answers to my audio questions would be greatly appreciated, Best Buy is running a good deal for two 12" subs, amp, and box for $350 ($200 off) so would like to take advantage of that if I know I can and it will all work together!

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    EDIT: For some reason the pictures wont work inside the [IMG][/IMG] tags, if someone can tell me how to fix that I would appreciate it, or if mod wants to edit the post so they work that would be appreciated. Thanks!

    --

    Pictures speak a thousand words...

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/1.jpg
    Potential area to install CarPC. On further examination though it may be too small, solution, compromise (build some into dash) or maybe build elsewhere. The idea here would be basically to build the computer into a "side" of plexi/lexan and attatch the "glass" so that it covers the bottom to top inside there, and a peice on other side as well. Some cool LED effects and booya!

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/7.jpg
    The double-din HU perfect for a 7" screen

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/8.jpg
    Most these controls should be able to be incorporated into the carPC... maybe a good spot to stick a HU if I still wanted one for FM/AM radio. I couldnt use my stick HU (would need single-din) but may work nicely.

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/11.jpg
    If it helps you to visualize what I was talking about, this is the stock amp that came with the "upgraded" sound system. Not sure if those plugs are universal at all or whatnot but there it is.

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/12.jpg
    Another shot, off-angled but shows the plugs better I think.

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/9.jpg
    Newly "cleaned" (aka wiped down) engine for fun. And don't judge the rest of the car, inside was cleaned recently but haven't gotten to my outside yet so thats why its dirty =P

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/10.jpg
    Car for fun.

    http://www.godivine.net/carpics/6.jpg
    Inside for fun.



    Yay. Thanks for any replies/help/answers. I hope to be tinting it this weekend. Also anyone that has done/looked into doing so, I was thinking tinting the SunRoof may help severly kill the glare on LCD, everything but windshield will be tinted severely, and I know I got a screen for my sunroof but it has vents in the front (wtf????) so light can still get through... so I guess the screen does.... absolutely nothing lol (okay it blocks most the light but IMO a screen is there TO BLOCK LIGHT... anyway...)

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    Heres my question that is time sensitive! It can be simplified as: (if you dont feel like reading all the posts):

    How do I work a CarPC setup on 2 amps, 1 4channel powering 4 speakres, and 1 2 channel powering 2 subs. I have searched and found no solution... I see a 5.1 setup in the FAQ to FAQS but my understanding is then the subs are really playing the "center" sound and not the Bass.

    Any help asap would be appreciated (want to take advantage of good sale here).

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate JaymzRR's Avatar
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    Gee don't all flock to answer at once... Thanks to those that have but really now come on I need some answers before I can get started... one thing about me is every detail needs to be confirmed before I start, not going to hit any roadblocks that I don't know how to fix or about them in general....

    so lets get the answers rolling ! =D

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