: Carputer...

10-21-04, 06:59 PM
Anybody ever heard of these projects or actually attempted to plan/ accomplish this?

10-21-04, 09:01 PM
What is it a computer in your car cause I got one of those :hmm:

10-22-04, 12:00 AM
I've been obsessed with the idea since I stumbled across a site today at work. Here are a few sites to get a feel for these computers...



Interesting to anybody?

10-22-04, 12:21 AM
i wouldn't mind having one except for the fact that i live in the hood' and it wouldn't last one night here.

other than that, seems cool as hell.

10-22-04, 08:24 AM
i've been waiting to do that for years. just don't know the best way to go about it. check out this place..


10-22-04, 12:01 PM
Those Are Tight, Id Get The "lt1" :yup:

10-22-04, 10:10 PM
Kinda cool, I guess I would just get a Nav/Stereo thingy or a Laptop. So it runs of windows and what not?

10-23-04, 06:32 AM
I've been planning on installing one whenever I gather the funds. I'd opt to build it myself, though. I've been in research far before you could buy these systems.

If I place the computer inside the car I would opt to us a Mini-ITX Form Factor motherboard. Otherwise, I'd just use ATX/Micro-ATX and mount the system in my trunk with a heating/cooling source being as the sysem will be built into a steel case resembling nothing with all wires hidden.

System will include, as of right now:

* GPS naviagtion
* Digital Jukebox
* Radio Reception. AM/FM/XM
* Wireless link-up with home network for tranfering music and such
* GSM/CDMA wireless internet card (Cellular)
* Video Playback. DVD, AVi, DivX, etc
* OBDI data compliments of ALDL.
* Voice recognition
* Interface with Mobile phone, possible via bluetooth. If not, then Cradle.
* Touch-screen interaction

The following are features I plan to add depending if I can found the approriate hardware:

* Car alarm system With suspension of various systems to prevent theft.
* Possible removal of ignition switch, instead replaced with computer controlled interface with PIN.
* Control over Windows, Locks, HVAC, etc
* Remote control of all connected system via Wireless Internet Link-up. Such as, killing fuel system. (My version of Lo-jack)

There are other things I wish to add, but I have a mind blank right now.

I have found some software out there that is ment for car purposes. It has voice recognition, among other things. Chances are I would program the entire software suite myself, though.

Whenever I get around to purchasing and installing, I will spend a massive amount of time making the system "invisible" to outsiders. I will likely have the display covered by a factory-style panel of some sort. System itself with more than likely be bolted into trunk with a Laptop CD-ROM drive converted for use with USB (the Slide-in style...like CD Decks) mounted in a Custom-made Din with various controls for the computer itself such as power/reset/status.


Whether or not you opt to build or purchase, do you best to purcahse a VGA display. Most purchased sytems will include a display connected via NTSC/PAL which sounds all good, but the thruth is it is aweful. NTSC only runs at a resolution of 648 x 486. The lowest resolution I would recommend is 800 X 600.


Being as the image must be converted to function on the lower resolution, it tends to get warped and fuzy. The display is borderline aweful for everything minus video playback. You "can" get good ones, but you will be paying hundreds of dollars, just for the converter. With that, you would just be better off spending a little more for a VGA display. You would be much happier in the end.

10-23-04, 10:09 AM
Wow. did you decide on the specific hardware yet? Question: would you have to pay for the gps service then? Would you be charged with the cellular card use? I HATE touchscreens! After having to configure 8 Tablet PC's at work and after 2 years of using handsprings...its easy, but annoying as hell. I was planning on using some type of ball to control the system, even though it may be a bit more difficult. How were you planning on connecting the system to the sound system and how about power? A power inverter of some sort?? How long has this project been in the planning for you, Trench?

It'll run any OS you want...I guess I'd put XP on there for ease of use, but thats just me! :)

10-23-04, 07:32 PM
I do know what specific hardware I need, I just have not focused on any specific brand names. The GPS is free because all it requires is a receiver (US Military pumps out the signals for free) and appropriate software. The Cellular internet, however, I would need to pay for. :banghead: Cingular charges $70/month for the type I need; havenít checked with other providers just yet.

Touch screens are beautiful when the software in use is designed for it. I can only imagine how much of a pain in the ass it would be to configure a system via that route. The software I would design/use would be meant for it. I would, of course, have a RF keyboard and mouse stashed away, though. A ball cursor would actually be cool, for a secondary control, only. Otherwise, I have a harsh dislike for them.

As for connecting it to my system, I would of course be going all out. At current rate I will not have any typical Head Unit. Instead, I will have amplifiers set for my speakers. Using an internal sound card would work just fine, but I'm in this for high fidelity! I plan with a USB sound board running to them via RCAís. They are external and provided extremely nice sound, so much nicer than internals. So much more expensive, too. heh

As for powering it, using an inverter is just too much of a waste. I would opt to use 12V-12V ATX power supply (They do make them, just really difficult to find). They condition the power and all that. Either that or I will scavange some laptops for their supplies.

As for the OS, I will probably run XP Media Center Edition. Linux is very good for these types of applications, but I have never gotten into it so I know very little of it.

10-25-04, 08:34 AM
sounds cool, but also sounds like you're adding a lot more to a car than you would ever be able to use. good luck though.

10-25-04, 03:35 PM
I'll fully agree with that. I like features, though. heh. I am also the type of person who likes to challange ones self.

10-25-04, 04:05 PM
This has been in my plans for several years now. Budget is the main concern for me, that what is slowing everything down...
But hell yea! I always wanted to build a system simular to that. My idea was to integrate a computer with a PLC (programmable logic controller), which could be set up to run anything electrical i.e. windows, AC, lights... even give readouts of various vital pressures and tempertures of an engine and transmission, when connected to proper transducers and temp probes.

Of course, a computer would take care of the rest - MP3s, GPS, WiFi, DVD (I can go on an on)

But anyways, thanks all for the links. It always helps to see what other people has done to avoid potential pitfalls.

I hope someday I'll get to construct something like that. It's money and time I lack right now with my Wife and a seven month old baby sitting at home :helpless:

10-25-04, 04:28 PM
all i want is dvd, and mp3. the rest would be nice, but other than maybe gps, i wouldn't go to too much trouble for anything else.

10-25-04, 04:35 PM
hmmm, Do you know where I can check out these PLC's? That sounds like what I have been looking for.

10-25-04, 04:49 PM
hmmm, Do you know where I can check out these PLC's? That sounds like what I have been looking for.
Industrial automation products. Can be very pricey. I just have access to older stuff at work, can't afford retail prices.

Ebay is a good place to look too, under Business and Industrial.

10-25-04, 11:45 PM
Trench - got any links for the gps service talking about the military pumping this service out??

So is there then a need for the cd deck or would the songs be played through the deck or just off the soundcard to an amp? How would this work?

10-26-04, 12:04 AM
I've been considering building a carputer for around $250 (would cost more but I have some parts leftover), or picking up a Boss in dash DVD player with built in 5ch amp. The carputer would be more cool and I could jump between mp3s easily and play games, but the Boss already has an amp. It's gotta be 5.1 either way. Oh yeah, the ability to upgrade to have the computer monitor vehicle statistics and possibly run a megasquirt is a major plus for the computer.

Trench - got any links for the gps service talking about the military pumping this service out??

The millitary has satellites up there that send the signals. Just buy a handheld reciever or one that plugs into a computer and it will work.

So is there then a need for the cd deck or would the songs be played through the deck or just off the soundcard to an amp? How would this work?

If the computer has an FM tuner card, there's really no need for a head unit. The 1/8" mini jacks that soundcards use can be split into RCA cables and then run to an amp.

10-26-04, 02:42 AM
Exactly what DavesDeville said. :)

The 1/8" mini jacks will work just fine. And are of course the easiest method of hooking everything up. For the best sound you should buy an external USB soundcard with RCA outs. Only draw back is with these, you just may require an inverter. Bah.

Better sound, though.

You would probably be just as well off purchasing a USB card without RCA's.

10-26-04, 07:46 PM
The millitary has satellites up there that send the signals. Just buy a handheld reciever or one that plugs into a computer and it will work.

Got any suggestions for a cheaper/ but does the job model or brand?

10-27-04, 04:31 AM
Id probably mainly want MP3s, Video playback, GPS, and of course the WiFi to transfer files from inside the house (cool idea, you may just want to suggest this to some of the big name MP3 hard drive in-car guys like Alpine and Sony, whose traditional interfaces are cumbersome to use or just stupid, like Sony's ATRAC, which requires you to load a CD for all the songs you want to transfer).

So far as the Wireless Internet goes, theres a cheap way to do that. Connect an old SprintPCS handset with 3G CDMA Capability via USB, and add it to your account as a secondary line. Then, you can program a dial-up connection to use #777 on the USB connection as the outgoing number, leaving user and pass blank. This may not be the prettiest solution out there, but it could potentially cost about 35.00 a month vs at LEAST 70 plus usage, as Sprints Vision is unlimited.

10-27-04, 08:27 AM
Got any suggestions for a cheaper/ but does the job model or brand?
what did these guys use??


10-27-04, 11:02 AM
Playdrv4me, Sprint Vision offers actuall internet access in that method? (Not Dial-up) If that is how it is...I think I may have a new favourite buddy. :bouncy:
Any idea how fast it is, though? I know 3G is supposed to be impressive, but rarely is. Nextel is crazy, though. They are currently running market tests on cellular internet that truthfully can compete with broadband access such as Cable.

I have been considering switching to Sprint. This just may be the kicker.

T_Dogg8, it would appear they used Travroute. Don' t know much about them.

11-03-04, 11:35 AM
have you guys checked out www.mp3car.com yet?
That's the only place i go, all the information i need on carputers.
I also plan on putting on in my STS. I don't know about all the shit u guys want to do i'm going decently simple: mp3's, store CD's on HD, DVD's, GPS.
That's the main jist of it. I'll probably just buy and XEnarc monitor (ridiculously expensive) b/c of reliability and use an Opus to power it.
Still unsure of how to mount the screen in the car the best way with as little work as possible.