2004 Nissan Sentra - Mac mini with Lilliput EBY-701
I just got the CarPC bug a couple of weeks ago. Never thought I'd be installing a computer in my car, even though I'm an IT guy and gadget freak. Anyway, here we go!
I had an old Mac mini Core Duo 1.66 MHz with 512 MB RAM and a 60 GB hard drive, so I started doing some internet research. A co-worker told me about MP3Car.com (thanks Kid Cameron!).
After researching what front ends were available for the Mac, I settled on ICEł. All the rest of the Mac front ends are either not available (dead links), haven't been developed/updated in a long time, or I just didn't like the interface.
**UPDATE** AMP does work, I just didn't know what to do.
I have spent most of my time so far trying to figure out how to use ICEł and other software to do everything I wanted.
I decided I'm going to ease into this very slowly and spend some time with a working model in my car that is not permanently installed until I'm sure of everything.
Next up - In depth on ICEł
Mimo 720-S for a CarMac? = FAIL
Another co-worker let me borrow his Mimo 720-S to use for testing with my Mac mini (Thanks David!).
This Mimo 720-S has only one USB port to handle the power, video and the touchscreen data connection. It seemed like this would make for an easier car install.
It worked pretty good, but there were some caveats.
1.) It uses the DisplayLink drivers to handle video over USB, and they only support barley acceptable 2D graphics.
2.) The touchscreen driver costs $30.00, so had to use the trial drivers. They timed out after 100 touches, then you had to unplug it and plug it back it.
3.) It won't consistently work as the only monitor for a Mac mini. Right when I think I would have it, I'd sleep the Mac and wake it up and the monitor would never come back on.
I ended up buying a Lilliput EBY-701 from MP3car.com and it has been great!
Defining the goals of my project
I initially thought I just wanted to be able to have my whole music collection in the car. I decided after reading about and seeing videos of other CarPCs, that there were a few goals for me to figure out.
1.) GPS navigation
2.) Hands free phone calls through the computer.
3.) Music library playback control.
For # 1:
I am still researching the GPS navigation solution. It looks like it's going to be running Windows as a virtual machine in VirtualBox with a GPS software product. I'm leaning towards iGuidance with a GPS receiver.
For # 2:
BluePhoneElite seems to be the best solution for Mac. Stay tuned and I'll post more on my trials with it interacting with ICEł.
For # 3:
Here is where there are several options, but ICEł stands out on top for me. After I figured out how to use AMP, it comes in second place, and I like that it will read your iPhoto database and let you navigate through your pictures.
There is always iTunes, but the interface is to hard to control from a 7" touch screen in the car. Front Row doesn't respond to clicks or touchscreen input, so it's out.
Comments requested by anyone with thoughts or that may know of other solutions.