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Thread: Hello, I'm new, searched, forming a plan, your opinons?

  1. #1
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    Red face Hello, I'm new, searched, forming a plan, your opinons?

    Hello everyone. I've been reading for a while and finally joined up.
    After much research and reading through the forums, I've decided that I'm going to try my hand at doing this thing. Please give your feedback and suggestions as I am in the early planning stages and would like to do a nice clean install that actually looks and works well.

    Because I have it lying around, Iím going with a Dell Latitude C510/610 PIII 1 GHz, with 512mb of ram and a 20G hard drive. And before you ask, yes, I do have the Dell C/Port II Docking station. It is the PRX model at an input of 20v and 4.5A max. I also like the idea of being able to remove the laptop as a "real" computer when needed, or when I want to bring it inside for updates or whatever. Oh, and wireless is built in, and I have a 4 port usb2.0 hub and usb2.0 pcmcia card. Laptop currently has only a CD-rom in it but I believe I can easily lay my hands on a DVD player (goota love the ability to swap the bays out too). I've also got a floppy, a 250 zip, and extra battery that will fit that bay, but I doubt I'll ever have a need for them in the car.

    I'd like to keep my Aiwa CD/MP3 head unit but I'd also like to add an in-dash touch screen and I'm not sure if both will fit in there in my '04 Saturn VUE. Might have to modify the opening then, because I'd really like to have both.

    Don't want to go the inverter route, but power concerns me. I can work with house wiring but I only have basic knowledge of car wiring. If I understand everything right, I'll need to add an OPUS 120 PS and a CARPC EZ SDC tapped in to the docking station's power button??? Ideally, I'd also like a driver accesable three way switch, working similar to the way all of our car dome lights work. One setting is off regardless of car running or not, second setting lets the computer power up/shutdown with the car, third setting lets me start it up/run the laptop to its own battery with car off. Sound all right so far?

    Expect I'll have to add an external USB sound card for decent tunes. Any SoundBlaster model will do? XM is going to require an XM direct setup, but although Iíve installed one in my wifeís car to the radio, I'm still a little fuzzy on how I'm going to do this with the laptop.!? As for GPS I understand that both USB and serial setups w/ software are available for less than $100. I'm also interested with the idea of OBD-II, but only if I can get a tripometer type read out (MPG, mile until empty, gallons remaining till empty, etc.), but I don't have clue where to start with this and most of the searches I have done bring results way over my head.

    Looks like Frodo will be my front end, booted to as the shell, but with the ability to launch windows as an application.

    As I said, just starting to plan it out, gathering up all the needed supplies, doing my research, and now asking for your opinions and thoughts. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    Real Saturns aren't made by GM! Keep 'em plastic forever.

  2. #2
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Just get the 12v adapter off ebay, think I payed $20-30 for it. Don't see why you would need an OPUS, but maybe that's just me.

    I originally was going with a similar setup. Dell CPTV with that dock. I just abandoned it (last week) as the dock audio doesn't work under linux and never noticed the normal headphone jack was missing the Left audio channel. . I even tried cutting out the speakers and going with a speaker to line circuit, but still not good enough, so I got a new dell (Inspirion 8600)

    Here's detailed pics on modding the PDX docking station from when I did it.
    http://www.dashboardmonkey.com/Butto..._trunk_install

    There's also a smaller dock (port replicator) if you don't want the PCI slots.

    If you are using the PDX, why not just get a PCI sound card?

    update
    If you have an internal modem and your BIOS supports it, probably could go with "Wake on Ring" to turn it on instead of hacking the power button, mine had the option, but not the modem. I bought one but if you don't get it from the factory, the solder pads aren't there on the motherboard

    The only hard part of getting the laptop to start is you can't just jump out the button, has to be a somewhat short pulse. (At least on mine). If you simulate holding the button down by just jumping it out, it reboots over and over, just like if you held down the actual power button. You can use an RC circuit like the lilliput auto on that's been posted here over and over.

    Also, shutdown is easy, there's an option for turning it off X minutes when it goes to battery, so when you remove power, takes care of itself.

  3. #3
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    I wouldn't recommend planning on using it for multiple things cause that makes them less stable. I really really recommend cleaning the computer down to only necessary stuff.. that will help reduce crashing and increase performance.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info so far but I'm a little confused...surprizing from a new guy right?

    Quote Originally Posted by shotgunefx
    Just get the 12v adapter off ebay, think I payed $20-30 for it. Don't see why you would need an OPUS, but maybe that's just me.

    Here's detailed pics on modding the PDX docking station from when I did it.
    http://www.dashboardmonkey.com/Butto..._trunk_install

    There's also a smaller dock (port replicator) if you don't want the PCI slots.

    If you are using the PDX, why not just get a PCI sound card?
    With the 12v car adapter, even hardwired, wouldn't ib be just like using a cigarette lighter adapter? No control over shutdown and startup, just power on/power off when car starts/turns off. And yes, while I can tell windows to shut down the laptop after x minutes of no external power, that is still not enough control. Won't I also need the OPUS to help power the XM, GPS and whatever?

    Also my dock is the PRX not the PDX. Basically it just duplicates the the connections on the laptop, no additional drives, bays or PCI slots that I am aware of. But then again I have never cracked it open, please tell me otherwise if I am mistaken. Thanks for the link to those pictures, very very informative.

    Quote Originally Posted by dmcdlrn
    wouldn't recommend planning on using it for multiple things cause that makes them less stable.
    I'm not. Just like to have Word, email and web if I need it somewhere and I'm not able to get to another computer.
    Real Saturns aren't made by GM! Keep 'em plastic forever.

  5. #5
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedy vue
    Thanks for the info so far but I'm a little confused...surprizing from a new guy right?



    With the 12v car adapter, even hardwired, wouldn't ib be just like using a cigarette lighter adapter? No control over shutdown and startup, just power on/power off when car starts/turns off. And yes, while I can tell windows to shut down the laptop after x minutes of no external power, that is still not enough control. Won't I also need the OPUS to help power the XM, GPS and whatever?

    Also my dock is the PRX not the PDX. Basically it just duplicates the the connections on the laptop, no additional drives, bays or PCI slots that I am aware of. But then again I have never cracked it open, please tell me otherwise if I am mistaken. Thanks for the link to those pictures, very very informative.
    ....
    Using the 12v hardwired is exactly the same as just plugging it into a lighter socket. For me, setting X minutes to shutdown when on battery power in the BIOS was more than sufficient control for shutting down, for my needs.

    I have Sirius, but I just used the included 12v plug. Used an Add-a-circuit to wire it off a circuit that was only powered with the key in. What's your GPS require for power?

    My mistake, read it as PDX. I have the PDS and PDX. The PRX was the only one I didn't buy. Looks like the same thing as the PDX without the PCI slots. If so, I'd imagine it would be pretty similar for jumping out the power button if not the exactly the same.

    As far as power though, if you used the CARPC EZ SDC for startup/shutdown, what do you need the OPUS for? Maybe I'm missing something.

  6. #6
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    The 12v adapter on ebay are VERY noise prone. Plus it drops out on crank. I would recommend picking up a carnetix 1900 (or was it the 1290?). The unit will supply a dedicated 20v directly into the docking station. It will survive crank, provide a shut down controller and even a secondary 5v output for accessories. I also recommend tapping into the power button of the docking station for its turn on. The unit will turn the laptop on and off this way.

  7. #7
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Albers
    The 12v adapter on ebay are VERY noise prone. Plus it drops out on crank. I would recommend picking up a carnetix 1900 (or was it the 1290?). The unit will supply a dedicated 20v directly into the docking station. It will survive crank, provide a shut down controller and even a secondary 5v output for accessories. I also recommend tapping into the power button of the docking station for its turn on. The unit will turn the laptop on and off this way.
    Maybe I was luckly, but didn't have any noise issues (as far as music).

    As far as surviving crank, if he's powering other stuff off it, that makes sense.

    Maybe I'll look at the CNX-P1900 a little harder myself.

    I was working on a circuit to just hold off powering up the lilliput and amp until the engine was cranked, but maybe I'll look into this instead.

    I guess with the dc plug adapter being 30-40, 100 isn't so bad, especially with all the other functionality (and time saved )

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by shotgunefx
    As far as power though, if you used the CARPC EZ SDC for startup/shutdown, what do you need the OPUS for? Maybe I'm missing something.
    I'm very new to this so I might have it wrong...I though the OPUS would supply the proper power, CARPC EZ would let me start it up and shut it down without actually having to reach the computer. So the CARPC EZ act as the power supply and star up/shutdown? I'm sure it's an overly basic question asked over and over, but I thought I was starting to get a grasp on this only to be easily confused from the get go.

    Looked up the carnetix 1900. A very interesting piece of equipment. From the documentation I read it looks like it could power and start/shutdown all my components from the laptop to the touchscreen and even my usb items (with the add-on).
    Real Saturns aren't made by GM! Keep 'em plastic forever.

  9. #9
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    I'm not that familar with the CARPC EZ, just checked it out when you posted it.

    It's not a PS. I was getting that you might not need a power supply, just grab the laptop adapter, most screens, satellite radios,etc that I've had (or seen) come with the 12v plug. Seeing I only have experience with the laptop setups, I don't know a hell of a lot about the Opus units. But a laptop needs ~19-20v, I thought all the Opus supplies were 12v. So I was getting at was that I don't see why you would need it for a laptop application.

    The Carnetix OTOH looks interesting. I'd think you could use the pulse for startup and you take care of the other issues like the amp, etc and most importantly crank.

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