After much looking at other peoples projects and the prospect of having a whole computer at my fingertips while on the road caused me to start my install.
This was to be a project on a tight budget.
Firstly i sourced an old computer ($120). 2.4GHz Pentium 4 with 512mb Ram, 40gb HDD CD Drive and DVD Drive.
Next ordered the screen. A cheap 7" touch screen thanks to ebay ($230) should be arriving within the next day or two. As well as that ordered an M2 ATX power supply with the times shut down procedure.
Tried a Ubuntu linux install it was nice and quick but could get things running that i wanted and couldnt find a front end that i liked.
Decided to go with a XP Home install. Loaded Road Runner front end on and then included the simplistique (thanks to this forum) skin. Next step was to get drivers and other things running (waiting on internet).
Next step was to organise peripherals. Ordered a bluetooth dongle (tested front end on laptop and liked the phone feature - tested with centrafuse demo and assuming Road Runner is the same). As well as that looking at usb gps recievers. May also need to use my extrenal HDD for music.
In the Car:
Have modified the dash to accomodate the head unit and the screen. The head unit was moved down and the cigarette socket and electric mirror switch moved (visible in photos to come). This will allow the screen to fit.
The idea behind keeping the head unit was to put off buying an amp till later. Also allows the radio and other HU features to be used and not always the pc (e.g. for short trips). If possible the screen will be removable so that i can use the headunit for music and passengers can watch a movie.
Also have a spare wireless router lying around so am contemplating setting up a network. The router will be hard wired to the car pc and then i will be able to wirelessly access it from the laptop and upload data.
Retaining the Headunit also allows me to use the functionality that the 4.5" touch screen has. This H/U has the ability to connect a reversing camera and a video input from the mp3 player or external ipod. I will wire it up in such a way that the HU screen will appear on the 7" screen when the pc is not in use. Bit complicated but makes sense in my head - will upload photos and more details when it happens.