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Thread: Carputer Features/Recommendations

  1. #1
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    Carputer Features/Recommendations

    Hi guys, I'm new to the forums but I am experienced with building PCs/Servers. I also have a home HTPC that I put together which is similar to a carputer project.

    I would like to get my feet wet with carputers but I would like to start out using existing equipment to be sure that the carputer can do everything that I want.

    These are the features I am looking for, please let me know which of these can be done easily, which are still being developed and not quite ready for primetime, and which cannot be done at all right now.

    DVD Player
    AM/FM Radio
    Sirius Radio
    IPOD Control including Video playback and Album Art
    Bluetooth Integration with my Blackberry
    Navigation
    Multiple (at least two) Video/Audio Zones
    Rearview Camera
    Traffic Updates

    Right now I want to put this in a '99 Expedition. I am not sure how long I will be keeping my current vehicle, so I do not want to make any modifications to the dash so I want a screen that I can mount to an air-vent, or put in a cup-holder mount, etc. When I get around to buying a new car, I would like to have a 10" screen for the dash, but for now maybe I'll go with a descent 7" screen that I can move to a headrest when I buy a 10". Any recommendations for a descent 7" screen that can be used in a headrest later on?

    Thanks for your time.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by rexpedition99 View Post
    DVD Player
    - easy
    AM/FM Radio
    - the HQCT is about the only option out right now that's a solid solution. There will be other options in the near future.
    Sirius Radio
    - easy
    IPOD Control including Video playback and Album Art
    - easy, but why use an iPod in the car when you can have an unlimited amount of media?
    Bluetooth Integration with my Blackberry
    - not hard - if you're wanting the two to communicate, that's already possible just like with your laptop. If you're wanting it to all show up on the PC and tell you who all is calling, etc...that's still in the works
    Navigation
    - easy
    Multiple (at least two) Video/Audio Zones
    - easy - just need multiple monitors and cards to support that.
    Rearview Camera
    - easy
    Traffic Updates
    - being worked on

    I'd really suggest reading this thread: New to CarPCs? Don't know where to start?

    Then moving onto here: Attention Newbies! A FAQ to the FAQs

    This forum probably works much the same that your Home Theatre PC forum works. There's literally an encyclopedia's worth of information to be found on here. It's a hobby that requires a good amount of time in reading...and reading and reading and reading....

    Once you get it in and working, you'll wonder what took you so long to decide to do it!

    And welcome to the forums!
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the fast reply.

    I already checked out the FAQ and have been reading for awhile.

    I am planning on starting with a laptop that I currently own and moving up when there are performance problems. I have already read about the power-up/down issues with laptops, but I am willing to work-around that with an external switch.

    What do most people use to power the output of the soundcard to the speakers? I will probably use a wired FM modulator in this car, but what is the most common? Amp? Aux Input?

    Also, I forgot to mention that I would like my carputer to have a TV Tuner, would this be a PCMCIA or PCI card in the PC/Laptop, or are there LCDs with built-in TV Tuners?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by rexpedition99 View Post
    I already checked out the FAQ and have been reading for awhile.

    I am planning on starting with a laptop that I currently own and moving up when there are performance problems. I have already read about the power-up/down issues with laptops, but I am willing to work-around that with an external switch.
    Then you are on a good start!

    What do most people use to power the output of the soundcard to the speakers? I will probably use a wired FM modulator in this car, but what is the most common? Amp? Aux Input?
    Just beware that the FM modulator will severely degrade the quality of your audio. They aren't exactly known for excelent signal quality. However, since this is a temporary install, I can understand it.

    As for what most people use, it really varies. A lot of us aren't using head units at all. For those folks, going through a processor (like the Alpine PXA-H701), or from their sound cards direct to your amps is how it's done. For others using a head unit, going through the aux in is how it's done many times.

    Also, I forgot to mention that I would like my carputer to have a TV Tuner, would this be a PCMCIA or PCI card in the PC/Laptop, or are there LCDs with built-in TV Tuners?
    I don't know of any VGA LCDs on this scale that offer TV tuners built in. I'd think you would have to get a card for it. As for which one? I'm not really sure on that. Someone else will have to chime in.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    As for what most people use, it really varies. A lot of us aren't using head units at all. For those folks, going through a processor (like the Alpine PXA-H701), or from their sound cards direct to your amps is how it's done. For others using a head unit, going through the aux in is how it's done many times.
    Wow, $400 just for the amp. That's a little discouraging. I forgot to ask about Dolby surround, but I guess that answers that question as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    I don't know of any VGA LCDs on this scale that offer TV tuners built in. I'd think you would have to get a card for it. As for which one? I'm not really sure on that. Someone else will have to chime in.
    Anything with a built-in DVD player?

  6. #6
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    ummm - 400 for what amp? there is no amp in there. It's a processor.

    If $400 for an amp scares you I have to ask what you think you're going to spend.

    Currently, there isn't anything with a built in DVD player.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    ummm - 400 for what amp? there is no amp in there. It's a processor.

    If $400 for an amp scares you I have to ask what you think you're going to spend.

    Currently, there isn't anything with a built in DVD player.
    Sorry for my naivety, after a second look I can see what you are saying.

    I was hoping to spend as little as possible (aren't we all), but at the very least I was hoping to spend less than what it would cost for an all-in-one system.

    $400 for just the sound processor, plus an amp (which sounds like it will be more than $400), plus the PC, touchscreen, GPS antenna, Sirius PC adapter, AM/FM tuner, Software, DC power-supply, etc. Looks like it will be close to, if not more than an all-in-one.

    Unless you can offer any less expensive options...

  8. #8
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    what is your price limit?
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    what is your price limit?
    No limit per say, but I can get an all-in-one depending on brand for between $500-$1000.

  10. #10
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    an all in one your talking about & a carpc are 2 very different things... if your only reason to go for a carpc is cause it's cheaper then you are in for a rude awakening... sure a carpc can be built for a bit less cash, but the overall cost's of a carpc are much higher than an all in one...

    an all in one can be installed in one afternoon & then that's it... a carpc can take months of researching tweeking & then redoing what ever it is you learned that you did wrong the first time around cause you didn't know then what you know now, etc... & then theres the inevitable frustraitions involved at times... & then theres the fab work & tools that may be involved there....

    just cost alone is not a good reason to go with a carpc in my humble opinion....

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