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Thread: My 2006 Scion xB (portable) Carputer setup! w/pics!

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    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    My 2006 Scion xB (portable) Carputer setup! w/pics!

    Well, finally, I took some pics of my "carputer"... As I've said a couple of times on this forum, I live in NYC, and there is no way in hell I'm leaving a computer in my car...

    My only requirements for a carputer were:
    1) easily portable - I can mount and dismount the unit within a minute
    2) when i disconnect everything, my dashboard looks STOCK!!!
    3) i wanted gps, video, mp3s and a usb web/backup camera (im gonna do this mod last)

    This isn't a "true" carputer setup because it's removable and not permentantly mounted in my xB, but this is what i wanted. this solution saves on space (so i dont have an ugly case hogging up precious space), this is entirely removable, when the laptop is not mounted, the interior of the xB will look absolutely bone stock, and on and on... there were a ton of reasons why i went with a laptop over the desktop alternative. I liked this solution better - so if it's a carputer - or not (because all it is is a laptop inside of my xB) - it doesn't matter to me! i accomplished what i wanted to!



    Here is a quick rundown of the setup...

    1 - These are the only cables that my current carputer setup needs: The power cable for the laptop, the USB GPS locator and the auxillary audio cable w/ gold plated ends.



    2 - this is the laptop i am using - its an ibm x41 laptop - tiny as hell, 12.1" screen, without battery, it weighs about 2.7 lbs!!!!



    The main reason why this unit is perfect for this setup - when you fold the screen back, it goes back an entire 180 degrees!




    I start off by connecting the ac invertor to the cigarette lighter. I also stick the "brick" portion of my laptop power supply into the cubby hole located under the temp controls...



    With the laptop screen folded back 180 degrees, i now place the base of the laptop between the cubby door opening and the door itself. I now simply connect the power, usb gps locater and auxillary cables and that's it! i now have a carputer!




    This is what it looks like when i close the laptop screen...







    For now, the setup is a little ugly for 2 reasons:

    1) the USB GPS locator wire is all over the place. im using the suction cup to hold the locater against the windshield... a little ugly.... same with the aux audio cable - i just have it running from the connecter (by the e brake) to the laptop...

    my solution for the cable mess? I EVENTUALLY want to run the 2 cables into the dash and under the carpet (for the audio)... I will drill a hole in the bottom of the small cubby hole above the glove compartment... eventually, i want the 2 wires to be retractable and accessable like this:



    This way, when im not using them, they can stay inside the cubby! everything will look stock!!! and when i am using these cables, only about 8" of them will be visible - the rest is inside the dash! mad clean!

    2) for now, the laptop is just leaning against the temp controls. ghetto? yes. but i am trying to find a piece of plastic (even like black bunjee cord) to hold the laptop against the temp controls tightly (relax, this is only my temporary fix). i would hook the 2 ends of the cable/cord to the 2 air vents and the main body of the cable would be on the laptop, beneath the monitor (since it sticks out over the base).... i know, this is the ugliest part of the installation but since it's a temporary fix, i accept it. =] functationality over looks at this point.

    The temporary solution to "brace' the laptop should look something like the following -



    The dealer can kiss my *** for asking me for $2,900 for navigation installed. I am using microsoft streets and trips 2006 with gps locater. It's not as good as the factory navigation - i admit this freely - but for $105 (vs. $2,900) - it's not so facking bad. not to mention, i have over 900 songs on it, 100 music videos, like 5 movies, episodes of beavis and butthead, topgear, etc all on this unit with a crapload of diskspace to spare!

    -----------------------------------------------------

    I am, however, still in the process of making a nice mount for the unit - which will be based, again, within the cubby hole.

    All the mount will be is a bended piece of metal that is about 6" wide - enough to hold my 10" wide laptop. The sheet of metal that i am using is very flexible - you can bend it by hand - but sturdy enough to keep it's shape. this is the sheet of metal i am planning on using-



    When I am done with it, it will look like the following. The metal mount is shown in my half-assed drawning in red... Please use your imagination and read everything on the picture - it'll make it a lil easier to understand - I HOPE!



    After bending to the desired shape, I am going to cover the metal with a black fabric so it wont scratch up the laptop or the cubby hole - plus it'll match the interior.

    Let me know what you guys this so far! haters and people who like my setup and plans should be free to comment! it's all gravy!

  2. #2
    Maximum Bitrate sfay93's Avatar
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    If your metal is "very flexible" and "you can bend it by hand" I'd say throw it away and find something a lot stiffer/thicker. Your 2.7 lb laptop will weigh much more under heavy breaking and acceleration and will easily bend your mount.
    7" Lilli TS, Soyo K7VME, Semperon 2200, 160GB Maxtor, 512mb PC3200, Deluo GPS, Panasonic Slim DVD/CD RW, Linksys WMP545G , Opus 150w, XMDirect, XP Pro, FP, IG [XXXXXXXXX-] 90%
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    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    mount

    Quote Originally Posted by sfay93
    If your metal is "very flexible" and "you can bend it by hand" I'd say throw it away and find something a lot stiffer/thicker. Your 2.7 lb laptop will weigh much more under heavy breaking and acceleration and will easily bend your mount.
    Thanks for the suggestion! When I get around to it, i was going to bend it into the shape that i wanted and then do a couple of trial runs (on bumps, accelerating, brakeing, etc.) just to see how it stands up. The piece of metal bends via hand presssure but it takes a lot of pressure to bend it. I don't know how i can convey how strong it is via text, i am almost sure that it'll do though. If it doesnt, no problem, back to home depot i go!

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    Constant Bitrate romul's Avatar
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    i like the idea of having a perfectly movable laptop.. although the placement doesnt it make it extremly appealing and some laptops might be to heavy/bulky for this method, but its very good idea none the less.


    Question:
    Since you are building a mount for it why dont u make the mount so the laptop can sit like it would at a desk at an angle of 90 degres, wouldnt it be better to type?

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    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by romul
    i like the idea of having a perfectly movable laptop.. although the placement doesnt it make it extremly appealing and some laptops might be to heavy/bulky for this method, but its very good idea none the less.

    Question:
    Since you are building a mount for it why dont u make the mount so the laptop can sit like it would at a desk at an angle of 90 degres, wouldnt it be better to type?
    It would be better to type (by mounting the laptop in sort of an L shape) but the when i would put the car into park, i have the feeling that the shifter would hit the mount/laptop. I can mount it higher but then the top of the monitor would block a portion of the windshield. plus, i dont plan on typing up essays or anything like that. i've been using the setup for a couple of days now and the biggest thing i've had to type was an address into streets and trips. it was a little annoying but how often am i going to do that? not very often at all. everything else i access (mp3s, movies, etc) are all done via the mouse.

    i agree about the loss of appeal by having a laptop hanging off of the dash. the sole reason why i went this route was because i had the unit to begin with in the first place. secondly, although i have a ton of computers laying around my apartment, i still wanted something that i can remove ENTIRELY within a couple of minutes, throw it into a bag, and run off with. i leave everything else - ac inverter, laptop power cable, GPS and audio cables in the car (hidden in the cubby holes) and just tkae the 2.7 lb laptop with me!

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    Low Bitrate silveralt's Avatar
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    This is exaclty what I'm doing for now. I just used industrial strength velcro. Works perfect! It looks great at night, too. Noone would ever know it is just a laptop.

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    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silveralt
    This is exaclty what I'm doing for now. I just used industrial strength velcro. Works perfect! It looks great at night, too. Noone would ever know it is just a laptop.
    l0l - awesome, i was considering velcro also as a fix until i get my mount built... heh, i havent had this setup running at night though... it must look awesome... having a 12.1" monitor runnig and having your entire interior glowing! lol!

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    Low Bitrate silveralt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by breaker021
    l0l - awesome, i was considering velcro also as a fix until i get my mount built... heh, i havent had this setup running at night though... it must look awesome... having a 12.1" monitor runnig and having your entire interior glowing! lol!
    Mines 15.4 I have had people pull up next to me and give me some nice comments on it. Looks great in my car. And as far as the glow goes... It illuminates the whole car if I turn the brightness all the way up.

  9. #9
    Variable Bitrate breaker021's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silveralt
    Mines 15.4 I have had people pull up next to me and give me some nice comments on it. Looks great in my car. And as far as the glow goes... It illuminates the whole car if I turn the brightness all the way up.
    damn dude, that's insane!

    i have another laptop with a 15" too but the screen doesnt fold back all the way and it's like 11 pounds! hahahahaa!

  10. #10
    Low Bitrate silveralt's Avatar
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    Only downside is that it doesn't have the cool factor of an in dash screen. Oh well. Gets the job done for me! I might buy a screen with my tax return tho!

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