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Thread: Some questions on a 1 DIN project

  1. #1
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    Some questions on a 1 DIN project

    I'm in the early stages of planning for an in dash PC project. I build and maintain desktop PCs and rackmount servers everyday so I'm quite familiar with the internals of a computer, but I've never really dealt with any of the small form factor stuff (except for an EPIA board which I hated). Now my plan is to build a 2 DIN solution, 1 DIN being the computer itself and the other a motorized LCD / Touchscreen.

    While I see that there are plenty of 1 DIN computers based on the VIA C3 processor, my experience with the VIA procs is limited to a 1GHz C3, which performed like a 600 MHz Celeron, needless to say I was not impressed. I'm not looking for anything crazy fast but it needs to be a "fully functional" PC

    The definition of "fully functional" is that it must be able to run XP Pro with multiple apps running in the background (ie Winamp, Norton AV in Auto protect mode and Norton Ghost) while runing GPS/Navigation software and not have the music skip when someone opens notepad. It also needs to be able to play DVD video (though obviously not at the same time).

    Now, I've done my research and I've come up with a list of requirements for the basic hardware that would be needed in any PC, the specialized stuff like the DC2DC PSU, I have no clue on. I'm also not very familiar with the small form factor stuff (Asus and MSI don't make Mini ITX ) so I don't know what's good there either.

    CPU: I've decided on either an Intel Pentium M or an AMD Geode NX (I can't really find too much info on the NX it's pretty new but it looks really nice on paper a performance rating of 1500 on 6 watts with an actual clock of 1 GHz).

    Mobo: Needs to be ~170mm x 170mm or smaller (Mini-ITX) with onboard Video, Audio (preferably 5.1), LAN, USB (2.0 Prefered), IDE and use either DIMM or SODIMM memory modules. I could really use some advice on this part because I have no clue as to which brands are reliable and perform well.

    HDD: This is going to be a 2.5" laptop drive, just haven't decided how much storage I'm going to "need".

    ODD: The box itself is going to need a DVD-ROM drive (I've got a Plextor USB DVD Burner I can use should I need to burn discs). I use Plextor drives in all my PCs but they don't make a slimline so again any advice would be appreciated.

    PSU: I really have no clue on what I need here. I don't want to use an inverter so I guess that means a DC2DC PSU, beyond that the only thing I know is that I want plenty of spare "Just in case" wattage.

    Case: I'll probably end up building this myself, no fancy readout or anything, just an LED power switch, a reset switch and a HDD activity light. Does anyone know what the maximum depth is for a head unit (I'd pull mine to find out but it got stolen about six months ago and I never got around to replacing it )?

    Is there anything else I'm going to need?


    Thanks in advance for any help you guys can cive me.

  2. #2
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by don-m
    The definition of "fully functional" is that it must be able to run XP Pro with multiple apps running in the background (ie Winamp, Norton AV in Auto protect mode and Norton Ghost) while runing GPS/Navigation software and not have the music skip when someone opens notepad. It also needs to be able to play DVD video (though obviously not at the same time).
    The only comment I have forr the first three paragraphs (snipped for brevity) is that NAV is a bloated piece of crap. But to each his own.

    CPU: I've decided on either an Intel Pentium M or an AMD Geode NX (I can't really find too much info on the NX it's pretty new but it looks really nice on paper a performance rating of 1500 on 6 watts with an actual clock of 1 GHz).

    Mobo: Needs to be ~170mm x 170mm or smaller (Mini-ITX) with onboard Video, Audio (preferably 5.1), LAN, USB (2.0 Prefered), IDE and use either DIMM or SODIMM memory modules. I could really use some advice on this part because I have no clue as to which brands are reliable and perform well.
    You're going to have much better luck with the pentium M. The Geode NX is designed for singe-board computers, which means the price tag is likely to be very high. IT's also very new, so the price is going to be even higher. My searching couldn't locate any Geode products available to consumers at this time.
    Granted, Pentium M boards aren't exactly cheap, either, but they're far more accessible.
    Logic Supply has a few, as does the the mp3car.com store.


    HDD: This is going to be a 2.5" laptop drive, just haven't decided how much storage I'm going to "need".

    ODD: The box itself is going to need a DVD-ROM drive (I've got a Plextor USB DVD Burner I can use should I need to burn discs). I use Plextor drives in all my PCs but they don't make a slimline so again any advice would be appreciated.
    The panasonic slimline drives with slot-load are the favored drives. There's not a lot of manufacturesd making slimline slot-loading drives, unfortunately. The general consensus that slimline tray-load drives are too fragile for vehicle use.

    PSU: I really have no clue on what I need here. I don't want to use an inverter so I guess that means a DC2DC PSU, beyond that the only thing I know is that I want plenty of spare "Just in case" wattage.
    Good luck with the 'just in case' wattage. DC-Dc power supplies don't supply 80 gazillion watts like a desktop power supply can.
    Right now the best product available is the Opus 150w. Zootjeff's DSATX will supply 220w, but it isn't readily available, as it's in beta testing. If you suck-up to him and dcompliment him in his swingin' duds, he might hook you up with a beta test unit, assuming there are still anyavailable.
    There's also a Keypower 250w unit, but it doesn't have some of the features the Opus and DSATX have like shutdown controller, batter protection, etc.

    Case: I'll probably end up building this myself, no fancy readout or anything, just an LED power switch, a reset switch and a HDD activity light. Does anyone know what the maximum depth is for a head unit (I'd pull mine to find out but it got stolen about six months ago and I never got around to replacing it )?
    It varies from vehicle to vehicle. I'd measure the depth in your dash to be certain rather than rely on didgy information.

    Is there anything else I'm going to need?
    Patience. Money. Rogaine to grow back the hair you pull out in frustration. More patience. More money. Cables. Solder. More patience.
    How do you intend on getting audio? Are you intending on using a headunit or not?
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



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  3. #3
    FLAC arebelspy's Avatar
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    I'll go ahead and add...

    Quote Originally Posted by don-m
    Does anyone know what the maximum depth is for a head unit (I'd pull mine to find out but it got stolen about six months ago and I never got around to replacing it )?
    It's different for every car. If your H is already ripped out, take a tape measure and measure how much space you have back there so you know how deep you can make your pc.

    -arebelspy
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    A ton of thanks for all the great info. It sounds like the Pentium M is probably the better option right now. Also the info on slot loading over tray was very helpfull, I was just going to go with wichever was easier to get ahold of, I didn't know about the fragility issues with the tray loaders but it makes sense.

    Basically the only part I'm still having questions on is the PSU, the 150 watt Opus you mentioned looks good but it's just physically to big for a DIN unit would the 120 watt version have enough power on its own or would I need to add a secondary unit? I don't need massive amounts of extra power, but I'd like to keep the peak power requirement at under 80% of the PSU's max.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarquePervert
    How do you intend on getting audio? Are you intending on using a headunit or not?
    I was going to just go straight from the PC to an Amp. One of my friends uses that type of setup for his desktop sound system (using car audio components) and it works fairly well, so I figure I'll just copy that setup.

    And I agree NAV is extremely bloated, normally I wouldn't have included it but I convinced one of my college instructors to let me use this as a course project (meaning I get credit) so I have to meet his requirements.

  5. #5
    Maximum Bitrate LagunaICE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by don-m
    Basically the only part I'm still having questions on is the PSU, the 150 watt Opus you mentioned looks good but it's just physically to big for a DIN unit would the 120 watt version have enough power on its own or would I need to add a secondary unit? I don't need massive amounts of extra power, but I'd like to keep the peak power requirement at under 80% of the PSU's max.
    Think about PW-80. Fo single DIN solution, this is IMHO the only option avail.
    BTW I doubt you will be able to fit even a 2,5" HDD in a single DIN unit (unless you are planning making it extremely deep), take a look at CompactFlash solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LagunaICE
    BTW I doubt you will be able to fit even a 2,5" HDD in a single DIN unit (unless you are planning making it extremely deep), take a look at CompactFlash solution.
    I thought about using CF but it just doesn't meet my requirements, the capacity and transfer rates are too low and the price is WAY too high, I can get an 80GB 2.5" drive for less than a 2GB Flash card.

    I measured the depth in my dash and it looks like I'll be able to go back about 8" (~200mm) and still have room for cables. I'm still in the early planning phases, before I actually order anything I'll be mocking everything out with foam to make shure it will all fit, and if it won't then I can alter the design and only be out a couple cents rather than a couple hundred bucks. It may turn out that I'll have to remote mount some of the larger things, but I'm going to do everything I can to keep it all in the DIN.

  7. #7
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LagunaICE
    Think about PW-80. Fo single DIN solution, this is IMHO the only option avail.
    BTW I doubt you will be able to fit even a 2,5" HDD in a single DIN unit (unless you are planning making it extremely deep), take a look at CompactFlash solution.
    You're high. Psss it this way.
    A 2.5" HDD is only about 4" long. 5"? Still, plenty of room to fit in a DIN opening in a dash. Hell, even a 3.5" drive will fit in the vast majority of DIN openings with no problems. Granted, that's not going to be practical if you're trying to cram everything into a single DIN space....
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



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  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate LagunaICE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarquePervert
    You're high. Psss it this way.
    A 2.5" HDD is only about 4" long. 5"? Still, plenty of room to fit in a DIN opening in a dash. Hell, even a 3.5" drive will fit in the vast majority of DIN openings with no problems. Granted, that's not going to be practical if you're trying to cram everything into a single DIN space....
    ?!?!? Yes, of course, you can fit even a 5,25" FDD if you want. But nothing else.
    Talking about standart depth single DIN, there is simply not enough room to fit Epia motherboard (what else then Epia, right?), PW-80 (smallest option in this case), slimline optical and yet to have laptop HDD in it (unless you want HDD to hang out of the chassis.

  9. #9
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    ummm....

    Quote Originally Posted by don-m
    The definition of "fully functional" is that it must be able to run XP Pro with multiple apps running in the background (ie Winamp, Norton AV in Auto protect mode and Norton Ghost) while runing GPS/Navigation software and not have the music skip when someone opens notepad. It also needs to be able to play DVD video (though obviously not at the same time).
    Do you mind if I ask why you have such heafty requirements? I know alot of people have been looking for a solution which almost seems OEM, while you seem to be going in the oppisite direction.

    Why do you need an AV? Will you be connecting to networks on a regular basis or maybe sharing disk? Also why do you need ghost? Build one good image with only the drivers you need and if you need to restore restore from that. There is a lot of discussion about that here. I think cutting that out will kill your demand for processor speed right away. Also do you plan on using a front end like RR or FP? If so I think you can also drop the winamp reqirement, or you may just want to look into other music players with a smaller footprint such as foobar2k. You might have a bigger plan that I can not see but I fear you may be trying to pack a whale into something ment for tuna.

  10. #10
    FLAC jbors's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LagunaICE
    ...
    Talking about standart depth single DIN, there is simply not enough room to fit Epia motherboard (what else then Epia, right?), PW-80 (smallest option in this case), slimline optical and yet to have laptop HDD in it (unless you want HDD to hang out of the chassis.
    There is no "standard" depth for DIN. In my projects I was able to fit EPIA M, PW-70A, SlimDVD, 2.5'' into a "standard" DIN space (depth 178mm). See no issues doing it. I was even able to fit M1-ATX in there. Wouldn't say I recommend it though
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