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Author Topic: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?  (Read 5824 times)

Glitch

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Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« on: July 25, 2010, 10:25:16 AM »

I'm doing a carputer build for a friend and he's on a really tight budget. Initially I was thinking about a mini itx with a 775 chip but the power draw will be too high. I've come to the realization that building a machine is gonna be too expensive.... So I was wondering if anyone had any experience with any of the pre-built Atoms boxes.

I saw the zotac Mag and it seems to be a good little box. Has anyone ever used it? Also what Os win7 32 ultimate or xp pro 32? Power wise and good inverter recommendations.
The budget is $250 usd for the pc since he wants a 19" lcd in there on rail system in the roof. I've found a good ASUS led monitor with a low wattage. Not sure how to go about this rail thing where the monitor will be on tracks sliding back and forth but I'll worry about this later.

Asus monitor

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-VH198T-19-Inch-Widescreen-Monitor/dp/tech-data/B002WSPAKI/ref=de_a_smtd


Zotac Mag

http://www.amazon.com/Zotac-MAG-Intel-NVIDIA-HD-ND01-U/dp/B0030UH2J4/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=INV0VFIUDGO9P&colid=3V68L90ESNWMX


Also I'm looking a the MAG internals and I can see its very cramped. Maybe I should make my own case out of acrylic with a nice 120mm fan for intake and maybe a 80mm for exhaust  ;)
« Last Edit: July 25, 2010, 10:56:10 AM by Glitch »
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blafrisch

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Re: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 06:29:28 PM »

What does he want to do with this PC? 

Does he want it to power on when you turn the car on?  The he'll need to buy a startup controller.

How will he turn the monitor on?  Most aren't as customizable to turn on immediately after receiving power like an EBY701 would be.

I'd highly recommend a Carnetix DC-DC power supply to power the PC.  But a 19" monitor will likely only have an AC power input.  Inverters are by and large inefficient and provide very dirty power.

I'd recommend Windows XP just because it's a lighter weight OS.  Do you have any idea what software will be run on this PC though?

Will he want GPS?

Will he want DVD playback?

Will he want Internet access?

How is he going to input to the PC?  Regular keyboard/mouse are far too large to be practical.  Will the monitor be converted to touchscreen?

How is he getting the audio to the car stereo?  Auxiliary input?  Is this already existing or does he have to buy a new input device or new head unit?

If this is the first car PC that you've built, double whatever your budget is.  That will likely be your final cost after you figure out all the things that don't work well together.

I can't think of anything else to ask right now, but there is a lot to think about.
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Glitch

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Re: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2010, 05:09:02 PM »

1. Yes power on when the car is started is needed.

2. The main use for the pc is music, video playback including DVD playback and Internet access. He wants to game moderately but I've convinced him the power requirements will be pretty high and it would just complicate the build.

3. Monitor turn on, I guess he'll just have to press the power button. Monitor does use AC. I remember seeing  15" LCDs running off 12volt DC but can't seem to find them anymore.

4. For input looking at car head unit style mce usb ir remote and a dinovo mini

5. He already has a pioneer head unit/amp/subs so I'm guessing I'll just use the aux input

6. No need for touchscreen or GPS

This is my first carputer build so maybe I guess about this too fool-hearty. Never had any experiences with inverters but always saw them. The power supplied by them wont be good enough for atleast the LCD?


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blafrisch

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Re: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2010, 09:10:44 PM »

1) A Carnetix DC-DC unit like the 2140 or the 1900 would probably be the best bet for powering the PC then.

2) If he wants it for music, how is he going to see the PC if his only screen is a 19" screen?  Or will he only use it from the rear of the vehicle?  I've seen some large screens in a dash, but 19" would take the cake.  Light gaming like SNES or N64 emulation is likely doable.  DVD playback will be no issue.  Is there a plan for Internet access yet?  I have a rooted Android phone with Wifi tether for mine, that's the simplest solution that I've tried so far.

3) An inverter is probably fine for the monitor.  I would definitely stay away from it on the PC though because you will experience issues in the audio such as ground loops.  No, a ground loop isolator is not a good solution to this, good wiring is.

4) Sounds good on the input front.  Pricey, but good.

5) Aux input is also the preferred way so that's good.

6) I figured touchscreen was out.  No GPS is one less expense.

I was a little frightened by the $250 PC budget.  DC-DC PSU + Inverter + DiNovo + MCE remote is probably over budget already and there isn't even a PC included in that price.  I'd recommend doing a lot of reading over at mp3car.com for more info.  I haven't really posted over there in a while, but they were very helpful in the past and there is tons of useful information there.
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Glitch

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Re: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2010, 11:05:20 AM »

1) A Carnetix DC-DC unit like the 2140 or the 1900 would probably be the best bet for powering the PC then.

2) If he wants it for music, how is he going to see the PC if his only screen is a 19" screen?  Or will he only use it from the rear of the vehicle?  I've seen some large screens in a dash, but 19" would take the cake.  Light gaming like SNES or N64 emulation is likely doable.  DVD playback will be no issue.  Is there a plan for Internet access yet?  I have a rooted Android phone with Wifi tether for mine, that's the simplest solution that I've tried so far.

3) An inverter is probably fine for the monitor.  I would definitely stay away from it on the PC though because you will experience issues in the audio such as ground loops.  No, a ground loop isolator is not a good solution to this, good wiring is.

4) Sounds good on the input front.  Pricey, but good.

5) Aux input is also the preferred way so that's good.

6) I figured touchscreen was out.  No GPS is one less expense.

I was a little frightened by the $250 PC budget.  DC-DC PSU + Inverter + DiNovo + MCE remote is probably over budget already and there isn't even a PC included in that price.  I'd recommend doing a lot of reading over at mp3car.com for more info.  I haven't really posted over there in a while, but they were very helpful in the past and there is tons of useful information there.

I was looking at this psu and was wondering if it would be good.The specs sound good but unsure about the quality

http://www.short-circuit.com/product/M2-ATX-P4.html


Yes the 19" is set to be the main screen right now but there might be a 7" in the dash down the line. He wants the 19" to be in the general area of where the rear view mirror is. I know sounds crazy, this is why I haven't really focused on the mounting of the lcd.

Haven't really thought about the wifi that much. Are you using the phone as a router?

The budget of $250 was basically for the pc components (board/cpu/hdd/case/ram/psu) but I've now seen $600 is more realistic. He already has the dinovo/optical drive/mce remote.

I'll check mp3car when i get home


« Last Edit: July 28, 2010, 11:19:31 AM by Glitch »
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blafrisch

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Re: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2010, 12:29:59 PM »

I have an M1-ATX sitting around collecting dust.  It still works reliably.  I used it in my original carputer build.  I'd recommend that if you are going for a PC with an ATX connector.  Some of those prebuilt ones don't have ATX, just the external power brick which is where a Carnetix 1900 would be more useful.  If you are going the path of ITX motherboard and such, then the M2-ATX or DS-ATX (I use the latter with my PC) would be your best best.

Haha, I figured that's what he was picturing for the monitor.  I'm pretty sure someone on mp3car has done that actually.  I'll post it here if I come across it.

Yep.  Using this app on my HTC Hero.

$600 is definitely a better range to be considering.  This isn't a cheap hobby.  :P
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Glitch

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Re: Prebuilt Carputers/Htpc any good ideas?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2010, 03:09:05 PM »

Decided on the M4 ATX, the specs sound good. Thanks for tip about MP3car, I've gotten tonnes of ideas. Btw closely following your build  :thumbsup:
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Chieftec Dragon (slighty modded)
E8400 w/ Freezer pro 7
Evga GTX 260 SC @ 650/1150 Mhz
4 Gb G. Skill DDR800 @ 4-4-4-12 2T
Ga p35 ds3l
Seagate 250GB HDD
Seagate 320GB HDD


IT AIN"T OCed IF IT AIN"T A LITTLE UNSTABLE
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