A little embarrasssed with my 'project' compared to all the other ones with fancy new dashes, etc., but it works!
Main reason for a carPC was the need for a larger screen for the GPS. We do a lot of serious offroading in the desert and GPS is a must.
When installing the kit, I did not want to make a lot of modifications to the car before testing everything in extreme conditions (desert driving with temperatures in excess of 140F/60C). I hardly have any tools, no workshops and the supply of these are very limited here.
For the screen I choose a Xenarc 8", since it was one of the brightest around. I did not use the touch screen version, because it will make the screen darker and will increase glare.
I mounted the screen in the empty DIN slot beneath the radio with two pieces of metal. The screen is attached to a ballhead that came with the screen. Added advantage of this position is the instant cooling from the AC. I had it mounted on the dash and within 30 minutes the screen was too hot to handle. The mount held up very well last weekend during a test drive. Jumping over dunes causes a lot of vibration and shocks, but everything worked fine.
Direct sunlight on screen, running NRoute
Direct sunlight on screen, running Ozi
On the console, I installed a mouse. It's the place where the right hand is most of the time when resting.
I have two keyboards in the car. A small keyboard with all keys in the back of the passenger seat and a mini keyboard for some fas tinputs in the front.
As GPS antenna I choose the Holux Slimline 236. This antenna is connected with the PC using bluetooth, but you can also use a datacable. The datacable also charges the unit.
A powered USB hub, mounted on the back of the center console for easy access, gives all the opportunity for other devices.
I chose the Ampie as PC housing and decided to order it with everything mounted and factory tested. Since I need to order everything form abroad, I wanted to limit risks of some items not working. Took me two hours to get the stuff released by customs. First time they saw a device like this and they were highly suspicious
The PC is mounted under the passenger seat. Still need to do some housekeeping on the wiring here.
The PC has it's own power supply. I have connected the screen and hub to another power supply. Not really necessary, but it's nice to have a spare. I have not connected the power to the ignition, but both supplies have that capability with auto shutdown controllers. Both power supplies are connected to a second battery.
The audio from the PC is routed with a device called Car2PC. Basically it cheats the car radio by imitating a CD player. A plugin for Windows Mediaplayer takes care of the controls, so you can still use the controls on the car radio.
As navigation software I use Ozieplorer with moving map and Garmin NRoute. Both work simultanious thanks to a little piece of software called GPSgate. It emulates Garmin to one COM port and NMEA to another.
I found NRoute great for the road. It comes with route planning, audio signals, etc. Ozi is nice for the desert.
Still to do:
- high speed internet access: waiting for a second SIMM card
- webcam for video streaming
Note: sorry for the sloppy pics