Thanks for the comments. The install is still a bit rough around the edges, but I wanted a system that I could thrash, and not spend too much time and money on. In terms of the boot times, my partner in AutoCPU used to be a developer with MS, so he has some tricks. Let’s just say he is still working on the boot time (in terms of 100% repeatability and stability) and has not told me his secret. It has been a systematic approach that has required a re-install with every test. As soon as I know what the future direction of the company is, I will gladly share our story.
Yes, the drive is IDE to USB, and I’m on my third unit. I have yet to find a quality conversion board that can withstand high-impact and temps. Verdict is still out on this particular unit installed, but again, since everything is “removable” I can swap the drive quickly.
In terms of hiding wires, I built a fake wall between the seat back and the trunk and left the cross member for chassis rigidity. Here is the kicker, I have a Radio Shack 12 plug power strip with all transformers in place, just like home. We put in power extensions so that I could quickly take out a unit and replace it. Wire doesn’t really care about voltage. This is not the way that I would want to install a customer car, but it does protect all systems connected to the computer.
Also, I installed a circuit breaker to cut all power to the carputer in case I need to park for more than a few days. No problems so far… My remote starter (Clifford) has a remote switch to turn on the unit when I get close to the car, so that when I get in, everything is on and functioning.
In terms of thieves, I purchased a extension on my car insurance and insured the value for $5000 in case of that situation. I would rather pay an extra $30 a month and just not care about it, plus in case of an accident, I know that I will get the full value of the car.
Thanks again, and yes, I will add a link to my site for MP3car.com