With pc's becoming ever so quicker and compact, and the plain fact that most specialized gadgets (like gps, mp3 players, and portable dvd players) always seem to have something lacking, it is becoming more and more evident to me that in-car pc's are the way to go. one computer system could do everything you want in a car, and for much less then all the specialized gadgets combined. not to mention the hassle of managing 4 or 5 different pieces of gear in your car.
after pricing out nano-itx boards and necessary hardware, i came to the conclusion that a simple used laptop would be best. now a days pci slots are never necessary, and as long as the laptop has some decent speed it should be fine regardless of its features (as they would all be added by usb)
a quick check on ebay shows in-dash motorized 7" touchscreen lcd's for about $300. its a lot of money, but figure the only other options are $1k dvd/gps players from pioneer and the like, and i dont want all the money sitting in the radio slot where people tend to go first when stealing things. the laptop i figured i could use would be a dual-core machine for about $600, which would play most current games great because of the tiny 7" screen.
the laptop could fit under the passenger seat, out of sight. with a vga, audio and usb wires going to the dash. also i could easily fit in a power button in one of the blank knockouts in the dash. my car has a double-din setup, so i could put a cd-rom drive underneath the lcd drive, with some sort of anti-vibration of course.
also, a separate isolated car battery would be ideal. that way the laptop could just be set to shut down after an hour or so of no activity. another benefit to a laptop would be that you could pull it out when needed, say if going on a hike and you wanted the gps.
music, movies, tv, wifi or cell internet, gps, most all windows games (with xbox 360 wireless controllers),... anything a high-end home pc can do but for half the price, since its only pushing 800x480 or close to that. i figured one could install an in-car pc for about $1k us, maybe add a couple hundred more for the peripherals that would be wanted.
has anyone here done something similar? this isnt a project i will be doing soon, but maybe by the end of summer. at the very least it would be really nice to have my entire music library automatically sync up to my car over wifi at night, and never have to worry what ill want to listen to during the day.
Last edited by krupted; May 13th, 2007 at 10:21 AM.
With all the thieving b@stards around these days I don't leave anything valuable in my car now, and I leave my glovebox open to show that there's nothing in there. In some parts of the UK they will break in to your car simply because they can see the mark on the windscreen where your sat-nav bracket was stuck to the screen (just in case the sat nav is still in the car somewhere). Sad but true.
Windows 7 x64 Ultimate Edition, Gigabyte Z77-D3H, Ivy Bridge i7 3770, nVidia GTX480 1.5Gb, 16Gb Corsair 1600MHz, Creative X-Fi, Seagate 500Gb SATA II, DGM 23" Widescreen TFT
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction" -Blaise Pascal
well my work leads me to a different jobsite everyday, and usually i am able to listen to whatever radio i want. also, there are many days im the only one around, meaning i can blast it. the milwaukee radios are okay, but they dont rock out like i want. also, i am just too damn lazy to take out my ipod and sync it up all the time to get new songs on it. i would much rather do it wirelessly with the boombox sitting in the truck. also, this would have an fm transmitter so i could listen to the music in the car as well, so its a good alternative to installing a pc in the car even though i wont have in-dash screen use. (i could put a screen in and a vga connector on the dash! )
ps, i would think a 7" screen would be sufficient, no? the one im eyeballing does cost more then the cheap composite signal ones, this one is a vga 800x480 display, so i would think i could use the desktop okay without zooming in....