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Thread: 2001 Toyota Tacoma 8" screen and laptop

  1. #1
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    2001 Toyota Tacoma 8" screen and laptop

    Alright, i've planned most of the process out. I'm bidding on a new dash piece, i just won this 8" lilliput touch screen, and i'm about to win a GREAT deal on this laptop.

    The laptop is going to fit perfectly inside my glove compartment, and i'll be relocating the ac controls lower in the dash to accomodate the screen. Power will be through a simple converter hidden behind the dash. I will mount a power button next to the emergency lights.

    I'm a delivery guy, so i'm constantly turning my truck on and off. I figured the best way to power it would to be have the computer run off the car's power (charging the comp. batt. at the same time) and when i turn the truck off, the computer remains on using it's own battery. Then when i'm done for the night and i'm at home, i can just hit the off switch on my way out of the truck, and let it shut down on it's own. Simple enough.

    Next comes the accessories. I won't be using a mouse since it's a touch screen. The keyboard will be recessed in my sun visor, i'm still undecided on which one i'll use though. Wireless internet (it's awesome i already have it on my dad's laptop) will be through Verizon Wireless using their broadband access and an Air Card. It's $60 a month, but it downloads at about 100kbps, and i can tune in to shoutcast stations with hardly any buffering.

    Sounds processing will be through a Alpine CDA-9856 that i just bought with Ipod and Aux plug ins. I've been using my dad's laptop for the past few days and it's awesome, the only bad part is the head unit displays (AUXILLARY) on the screen when i use the laptop for music. I wish it would display the song name, that'd be PERFECT. Is that even possible? Doubt it.

    That's all i can think of now. Building will start as soon as the screen and dash piece come in. Installation as soon as the PC arrives. That is all!

    Here is what the dash looks like originally, hardly any room to add a screen without relocating parts. It progressively gets smaller the lower down, so the biggest screen you can mount is 6.5" or 7" double din units (I had one for a while, but it was stolen. That's actually why i started looking in on mp3car.com)


    I attached a quick photoshop of what i expect it to look like. The screen size should be about right, although i think it might stretch just a little lower.
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  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate rigg419's Avatar
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    that would look very nice, I also considered doing this in my taco, but having never done anything like this before, it took me a month just to get everything working on my simple install. If i got as ambitious as you, I'd probably have gone through 3 bezels by now and I'd still be installing components lol

  3. #3
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    Ha well i haven't started yet, so we'll see just how smoothly this goes over. I've already run into a few problems. The top of the screen will have to be recessed a little, with the bottom matching up to the rest of the dash. I want a good viewing angle. Plus i drive my truck every day of the week for work, so it's hard to take anything apart to work on it. As soon as the screen arrives (sometime next week) i'm going to remove the bezel and start molding it in, so i'll have a nice hole in the dash of my truck until i finish. So you can imagine i'm going to try and get this done asap lol

    Plus i am thinking about selling this truck for an S runner. There's one for sale on CT with a ton of go fast **** on it. Luckily it's the same interior color as my current truck so a swap wouldn't be too rough (I'm talking about the bottom part where i'll be placing the HU). I saw in your work log you don't have a radio, how do you control volume? I never listen to FM radio or play cds.. should i get rid of mine too?

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    hey Bazzy,

    if you want to relocate the ac controls, the factory wires are not long enough. i was thinking about this but now I am installing it in place of the double din radio. My head unit is going to be in the ash tray+ cig lighter location. 7- 8" screen will fint in double din location with some cutting and modification without the tc frame.

    hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate rigg419's Avatar
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    kepping or getting rid of the radio is obviously a pretty personal thing, so I can't really tell you what you should do.

    All I can say is that I don't ever miss it except for those times I need traffic info, or when laker games are on (it's funny, I'll never watch them on TV anymore, but I would still totally listen to them if they were on the radio for some reason.

    It's interesting you asked how I control the volume, because it bears directly on your decision whether or not to have a radio in your setup. If I had a single DIN radio with an AUX standard mini jack on the back, I could just plug the audio out from my macmini (or my old laptop) right to the AUX of the radio and.... boom, thar be sound with no fuss & no mess. But, since I went with no radio, I had to:

    1. Buy an amp
    2. wire the amp to the Tacoma's speakers
    3. plug the other end of the amp into an external USB soundcard i bought (This part is not required, but produces better sound than integrated analog audio on either the laptop or the mac mini)

    The reason I put myself through all that was that in the end, I wanted the best sound out of the carpc that I could get, and they way I did it will produce better sound than going through an analog AUX on the back of some headunit (unless you had two SPDIF devices talking to each other, that may be just as good as direct audio, but I'm not sure if you can even buy a SPIDF headunit)


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    Well i'll just have to extend each wire of the hvac controls so i can move them to the bottom like my illustration. I think i might get rid of the head unit since it would be a very difficult task to fab a place for it... just to control the volume. The problem with THAT though is i'm using a laptop for the pc part, so i can't just slap on a sound card to the motherboard like a desktop unit.. or can I? I'm not very familiar with laptops

  7. #7
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    yup, usb sound card will be your option then.

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate rigg419's Avatar
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    exactly, the creative sound blaster usb for like $50 is what I have and it works great. Keep in mind you'll also need an amp if you ditch the head unit. The stock Taco speakers will be wasted on any really high end amp, mine is only 200 watts and works great

  9. #9
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    Well i'm putting the project on hold. I'm currently trying to get rid of my truck for a newer one, same model. Hopefully when i get the truck i am looking at, i can start the project again. Gotta save some money in case it goes through lol

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate rigg419's Avatar
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    I know exactly how you feel. Now that my install is more or less done, I want an 07 Taco with 4 doors.

    the trouble with having all this awesomeness in a 2 door truck is that you can only share with 1 person at a time (no one rides in my backseat), and I want to share

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