I have been wanting to do this to my grand cherokee for awhile. I want to have a pod for the screen tho. Might make a fiberglass pod that fits in the little flat unused spot on the top of the dash. I have a CD changer that I don't use, so I might put the carputer there. I thought about putting it under the drivers side rear seat too, but thought about the heat issue too.
yeah, i eventually want to make sort of "hood" out of metal or fiberglass that extends the black area (where the current radio, a/c, etc is) upwards above the dash a bit so everything would look integrated. then i would have room to either go with a 1 or 1.5 din radio and the 8" screen all in there... or if i go completely carputer and ditch radio, i could fit a 10" vertically in there, that could be pimp ;)
i've decided to definitely run the computer in the cubby where the cd changer used to be, i don't want to have to worry about the heat issue under the rear seat, and there is some crap i keep under the rear seat already anyway that fits better there than in the cubby.
got my RAM mounts in the mail yesterday. went and bought some screws and washers today for the VESA mount.
it's funny how big and heavy-duty the mount is compared to the delicate little screen, but since it's going to be bouncing around off-road, i think the 1.5" ball based RAM mounts were the right way to go...
mounting the touchscreen
so got the touchscreen mounted and tested it out for secure-ness this past weekend in joshua tree national park.
so my dash has a 1/6" layer of vinyl, then nearly 1/2" of foam, then underneath all that is finally a solid 1/16" or so thick piece of plastic tray that actually holds everything together. this presented a couple challenges.
first, i chucked up a hole punch into a drill and used that to spin a nice clean hole through the vinyl and foam because i was worried a normal drill bit, or even a unibit, would tear the vinyl. this worked perfect for cutting down to the plastic. then i used a normal smaller drill bit to drill a hole just the size of my screw through the plastic base.
then i tried to just mount the ram mount with some nice black countersunk allen-head screws i got from ace, but that of course compressed the foam and pulled the ram mount and vinyl down into a depression that i thought would rip the vinyl in the sun over time.
the solution was to use some nylon spacers about 1/2" long around the screw so that the ram mount is pushing against those, and those are pushing against the plastic base of the dash. this way the ram mount sits nice and level with the rest of the dash but is still very secure.
here's the holes with the nylon spacers, ready to mount the ram mount:
the ram mount all nice and tight:
and finally how everything came out:
first tests with screen
i went ahead and just zip tied my GPS puck to the dash and ran the laptop in the passenger seat for the joshua tree trip so i could get some initial impressions of the setup... here's what i found
- the screen is very secure even at high speed offroad, glad i went with the giant ram mount
- having a huge screen compared to a normal hand held gps is heaven!
- my gps and something else were having a conflict over IRQ or something and causing google earth to bluescreen within a few seconds of trying real-time sync, and causing ms mappoint to loose the gps signal within a few minutes every time... this should be a relative ez fix, i think it's the modem in the laptop and i can just disable that
- can't get the friggen cartft touchpanel drivers to work, so my touchpanel experience was crappy... i've tried the win 7 beta drivers and the win vista x64 drivers, but all i get is "no more controller"... nice error msg. i am going to email cartft for help.
- my fat finger isn't so precise with the touchscreen, especially bouncing around. i think i will definitely need to rig up a permanently mounted input device to go with the touchscreen. probably go with something like this mounted in the center armrest: http://www.stealth.com/peripherals_1...tingdevice.htm
- the sunlight readability on my touchscreen is as good as i've seen anyone elses (that's not transreflective)... however, it still leaves something to be desired. i think i'll live with it for a year or so but definitely be saving up for a transreflective screen.
- ms mapoint works well for on-road nav, and if i have time to pre-cache the area i'm going to then google earth is a great asset for offroad, but i need a primary offroad nav app and i don't think i want to pay garmin, so i still need to find out more about overland navigator or if anyone knows of an alternative. something that could do realtime and show the free topo maps at http://gpsfiledepot.com would be ideal.
I've looked at the IBM x series too, also Dell (the good ones with outdoor screen are hard to find). Hope you get your issues solved. Do you remove your screen when you park the car somewhere?
Thanks anyway. Very interesting, keep us posted.
the project is currently stalled out... i have a problem with this laptop and vista or win7 and the globalsat MR-350P.
out of 3 programs that i currently have that can talk to the GPS, 2 of them don't work. the SIRF test utility is the only thing that works consitently. MS MapPoint (Streets & Trips same thing) will get realtime GPS for a couple minutes then just stop receiving anything from the GPS. Google earth will get realtime for a couple minutes and then blue screen with multiple_IRQ or similar driver resource type error msg. i have no conflicts in device manager, yet obviously there is some sort of resource overlap. the MR-350P uses a Prolific USB-Serial driver and i have tried multiple driver versions to no avail. i have tried using every COM port to no avail. the main thing i think is causing conflict is the built in modem... it's the only other thing that uses a COM port.... and even when disabled in device manager, COM3 still shows (in-use). i have also tried disabling nearly every other device except display and keyboard in device manager to no avail!
unfortunately, the bios for my TX2500Z has absolutely no settings worth a damn, no way to disable any devices from the bios level. also the modem is built-in to the mainboard so i can't just remove a card to kill it. the laptop uses an InsydeH20 bios and i can't find any alternative hacker bioses to replace it with that will work with this laptop.
i have tried fresh installs of win7 64 & 32bit, and vista 32bit. apparently win7/vista both dynamically allocate all IRQ's and memory address stuff and you can no longer manually set any of that. it's supposed to "just work" and find conflicts automatically, but clearly something isn't working right with this glorious system.
right now i am about to install XP and see if i can find the conflict since i believe XP will let me manually adjust IRQ's. if i can verify that it is the modem and gps conflicting, then i guess i'm pretty screwed. i'll either have to run XP (which i detest after having had win7 on my desktop for along time), or try and find another GPS which doesn't use virtual COM ports.
any ideas are welcome!
also, does anyone know if Holux GR-213u (GR-213-USB sometimes called) uses up a COM port or do the drivers strictly work as a native USB device?
well XP SP3 won't even install on this laptop, bluescreen's while loading files before even getting to any of the setup UI... probably because the laptop uses AHCI instead of ATA, but again there's no way to change that in the BIOS.
so to recap:
- xp won't install on the laptop, no bios settings on laptop, no alternative bios out there
- the GPS device works fine on my desktop with win7, google earth, and mappoint, and sirfdemo (so it's not defective)
- yet GPS works on laptop only with sirfdemo (in vista or win7), but bluescreens in google earth and looses connection in mappoint after few minutes... WTF!!!
at this point i feel that my only option is to spend $40 an try a different GPS manufacturer with completely different drivers and see if that works. if not, then i'll have to stall the project completely until i can afford a dedicated pc for the car.
Go with a BU-353. Everyone uses them, including me. I used a Holux and retired it because it was just pure $h!+ IMO. Never used the MR-350P, so I cant comment. If your having so many issues, it must not be any good.
i doubt that there is any difference in the 353 and the 350p, i bet they have same exact internals and i already know they both use the same prolific chipset driver for the virtual com port.
Originally Posted by ZX1Cruizer
in fact i did some research and downloaded drivers and nearly all the major manufactures use the same prolific serial-to-usb drivers, some repackaged some str8 from prolific.
the good news is that prolific released a new driver last month! and the better news is that with the new driver, MS Streets & Trips now works fine and no longer looses the gps after a few minutes.
google earth however, still blue screens. i don't know if it even matters what driver/gps i have... i think the way google doesn't make you pick your com port, and instead *intelligently* figures it out for you may just not be working with my laptop, the modem on com3, and windows 7 all combined... i wish there was a manual setup for google earth gps so i could tell it not to scan the com ports like i think it's doing.
may be moot point, i've ordered delorme topo 8.0 national and as long as it works, i think i might just be fine with it. for $30 you can get a year of unlimited satellite imagery downloads for it, and so that'll probably be my satellite imagery solution for now... much easier than running a google earth pre-cache flyover program anyway! we'll see how delorme works out.