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Thread: Using laptop and correctly booting unit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Using laptop and correctly booting unit

    I am thinking about installing a laptop in my car as the CPU, instead of using PC parts to makeup my carputer. Are there any downfalls to using a laptop over a PC ? It seems like it would be easier to use a laptop but I see more of the PC's being used.

    I'm trying to think of how to conquer the following problems.

    I think that I can use a power invertor to supply the power, but I don't know how or what to use to correctly power up and turn off the unit.

    I think that I can hook up a bluetooth or USB hub and run infrared/wireless/bluetooth kb/mouse to interface with the unit (good idea?)

    To solve the problem of a screen on a console in front of me, do the 7 in. LCD's that are popular have a VGA input that I can use with the laptop or is something else required?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.

    Will the FM Modulator that I can just patch into the antenna work for playing audio over the speakers work?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    I guess I should have only posted the first question on problems turning the laptop on and off correctly since this was in power supplies.


  3. #3
    Low Bitrate
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    Welcome to the wonderful world of!

    I cant really think of any particular downfalls to using a laptop over a desktop other than from an insurance point of view a laptop is considered to be temporary, and may not be covered.

    Almost all laptops have VGA outputs so that you can plug it into a normal monitor, or in our case a VGA lcd touchscreen.

    It should be possible to buy, for roughly $50, an in-car laptop power supply which would be more efficient than an inverter, which converts 12V to 240V (or 120V for yanks) and then converts it back to 12V. You can either plug this into your cigar lighter, or hardwire it to the battery.

    As for turning it on, most shutdown controllers (which auto turn on or off the comp) are made for desktops, so i'm not sure of your options other than the power button!

    As for input, some people use wireless kbs and mice, touchscreens are great, i found a usb roll-up keyboard on ebay for 20.

    For sound you can either use an fm modulator, which does what you described, one of those ****ty tape converter things, or if your head unit supports it, a direct rca input.

    Hope this helps, some.

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate kiltjim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    PA, USA
    You are doing exactly what I am doing, so here's my two cents.

    To turn it on, I actually opened up the case, and soldered two small wires to the button terminals, then wired those to a small jack on the outside of the laptop case. Then the jack was wired to an extension cable of sorts with a momentary switch on the other side. It was pretty simple.

    As for the rest of it, it sounds good. Good luck, just be careful with the soldering.
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