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Discussion Starter #1
Whats up TI? I've been looking on the internet regarding my screen and was trying to choose the CD/DVD Player when i came across something called a "Carputer". At first I thought it was some kinda joke but sure enough people around the net are hooking up PC Computers in their car. I'm thinkin about doing this because i would have DVD, MP3 (Whole Lot!), Music Videos,GPS (on those trips to get your engine for the swap!) as well as almost flawless sound quality (Expensive Soundcard!) Has anybody ever heard of this or had any experience with it? I think it would be a good, custom upgrade to the teg.listening to music while the video plays and/or an animation in the background blows my mind!. Lemme get some opinions.
Thanks Guys!
 

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I've thought about building one. My big concern is that it would take a while to boot (since I wouldn't buy state-of-the-art components just for my car). It would also be a pain to shut it down correctly when turning off the car. My average trip time is under 15min. Three of that would probably be waiting for the thing to start up.

Perhaps the best way to do it would be with a Palm/PocketPC unit. That would be more startup/shutdown friendly, but wouldn't have as much functionality.

-Nate
 

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all u need to do is get a power converter that will support a home computer, and if i was doing it i'd prob hook it up 2 constant power so that if u do shut the car off before shutting down the computer u wont harm anything
 

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I've done this - kinda...
I used a laptop - My laptop will work when it is closed and can send out RCA wires to the tv's or head unit.
I purchased a usb cable+software that hooks up from my laptop to cellphone from FUTURE DIAL (or radioshack) to give you wireless internet.
stick that in your car and your good.
I've done it on long drives, Great for DVD's + music if you have good laptop/cellphone.
 

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Our last 6 or 7 page about computers in cars can be found here. Hope you find some of those ideas interesting.
 

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PS: the cable is like 30 bucks, software is like 20.
if you have internet on your phone, its free to use, but eats up your minutes so wait until night/weekend. then totally free.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
thanks fellas for all the feedback, im goiong to attempt to do an install like this one.

http://home.broadpark.no/~ebolsen/carputer.html

and see what happens. I'll keep yall updated. I've already oredered a motherboard and case and im now looking for the software that will match my preferences
DVD,MPEG,DIVX,MP3 etc.

Any Suggestions would be greatfully appreciated.
 

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Just get a computer with XP that can go into standby (not hibernate) rather than turning it of completely. Standby is the same thing you're laptop does when you close the lid with it on. It powers down, but when you open the lid it comes back in about 5 seconds.
 

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or buy a barebones system from stanford university's wearables lab. they draw so little power, you can just leave it running all the time.
 

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my friend put a computer into his car...he molded in a 11" lcd screen and put it where his radio and stuff would..and the computer itself is molded into the back seat panel behind him...it doesnt take long to load either...i think he has like windows 95 but hes got a program that will automatically bring up the folder where his music vids are its pretty cool
 

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as far as power use a relay to turn the computer on and off...the only thing that the power button does is connect two contactas on the motherboard...if you spliced into those and used a relay that was open when the ignition was on and closed when the ignition wasn't hot
 

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My carputer project is on hold until I return from deployment......
But it will be neat!
 

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ok after reading all 7 pages of the first post and the pages on this one, seeing the monitor that Z posted, Im having all kinds of ideas Im thinking I know what my tax money is going to, I live in my car quite a few days (no not literally) but well I do spend all kinds of time in it. And man seeing this im having ideas all kinds of ideas for my old dell laptop i got running openBSD on... that or my new laptop, my big deal would be the ability to make it removable or to a point where i could take it out of the car. Im thinking then I wouldnt really have to worry about constinant power because well i could take it and charge it. The IP bus of my pioneer head unit and XM radio... again all kinds of ideas all kinds
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks guys for all the info. My project on the carputer starts when it frekin get hot outside. Its freezing (12 Degrees) and I ain't no cold person. I'll keep you guys updated and have some pics up hopefully, in early to mid march.

Again Thanks guys/gals for all the info, I REALLY appreciate.
 

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Ok,
So as i was sitting at my local coffee house tonight,
I thought about this some more,
do you guys think it would be feasible to more or less pull the whole fast and the furious thing with the lifting of the seat for the computer? The reaason I ask this is because well I think if so you could put a docking station for a laptop there and have that hardwired.
That way the laptop could removable if you were going to be away from the car for long periods of time.
more or less what I though is create an aluminum box that it would go in to support the possible weight of a passenger if one would sit on the seat and them put padding around it.

See you guys give geeks like me ideas and I think about it until i figure something better out... anyone opinions?
 

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About the startup/shutdown problem, the obvious solution is to not use hard disks. They don't exactly like the shock or temperatures that they would be subjected to in a car anyway. Make a bootable CD with Linux on it (there are distros meant to be used this way), and store your mp3s and whatever on a Compact Flash card. If you mount (or remount) the Compact Flash card in Read-only mode, you can simply kill power the instant that you want to shut it down.

I would use an old Pentium laptop with a cd-rom drive, sound card, and PCMCIA Compact Flash adapter. A laptop is easy to store under a seat or something, has low power requirements when the case is closed (ie LCD is off), and is much more easily adaptable to the car's power supply. For an interface, laptops almost always have ports for SVGA and/or TV out, and PS/2 mouse input. You should be able to find an LCD touch screen that will hook up in this way.

As for the software, there's plenty of open source stuff out there, so you just need a simple GUI front end for a user interface. I would just use HTML with large images that are linked to various functions. Or you might even be able to find something already made for this specific purpose. Freshmeat.net is very useful. I would suggest using mpg123 as the mp3 player, since it's command line based and very easy to use.

Alternatively, you could actually do all of this with a Mac laptop and use HTML, Hypercard, or something else for your user interface. I don't know about MacOS 8 and up, but the older versions will boot from a read-only disk with no problem. I really don't think you could get a normal version of Windows to run very well from a CD or other read-only media...

You could solve the startup/shutdown problem by leaving the thing running all the time, or by using suspend or hybernation modes, and then you could use Windows, but that's going to be a can of worms... Remember how hot it gets inside your car during the summer. Extreme cold isn't good either, but I guess at least the thing can kind of keep itself warm. In both cases, it is even worse for a hard drive than the other components, and the same goes for the shock that the thing will see, so that's why I say not to a hard disk. CDs and DVDs are fine because nothing touches the disk and you aren't writing to them. Solid state media such as Compact Flash is easily the best choice for this use.
 
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