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View Full Version : anyone have pc's in there cars ?


leejsmith
11-19-2003, 02:50 PM
i am currently using a hp jornada with a gps module and pocket streets and it works ok but the screen is a bit small.

does anyone have any experiance puting pc's into cars ?

i am looking at a via itx system and have also seen a opus 12vdc - atx psu specificaly for use in cars. on top of that a very nice 7 inch touch screen display and it would make a very nice in car multimedia / gps system.

cybrsamurai
11-19-2003, 03:13 PM
Thats a cool idea. I think im going to scrape some cash together and start up a new project :)

leejsmith
11-19-2003, 03:28 PM
this is the psu i was talking about

http://www.opussolutions.com

and an example of the touch screens

http://www.i-zone-3.com/components.htm

even better these are very very good prices

http://sales.mini-tech.com/index.php3

7inch touch screen 1027x768 £162.

xerka
11-19-2003, 05:21 PM
For awhile I played around with having a computer in my car, but gave up after not getting decent sound and my screen sucked. I was using a small fm broadcaster. If I were to get a new stereo I would wire it directly to it. Here are some useful links that i have used:

http://thisstrife.com/carproject/index_chapter_4.asp

http://mini-itx.com

If you want to buy that really nice touchscreen monitor directron sells it:
http://store.yahoo.com/directron/700tsv.html

Caeberos
11-19-2003, 05:23 PM
www.mp3car.com

Good Luck

imagex
12-09-2003, 05:33 PM
Hi all,

Its been along time since I've been in here and alot has changed, I am now co founder and CEO of Hybrid Mobile Solutions, Inc. We build in car computers! I've had one in my car for over a year now and about 20,000 miles on it. we are now finishing up our software interface, heres and preveiw, http://hybrid-mobile.com/a.html and we also started a forum on our site: http://hybrid-mobile.com And BTW I'm still water cooled but not in the car "yet" lol

superart
12-09-2003, 05:38 PM
heres something good.

http://www.via.com.tw/en/VInternet/carpc.jsp

imagex
12-09-2003, 05:48 PM
The main thing is to use a good XVGA monitor not the cheap composit junk and also a pc thats at least 18v dc or best 12v dc so you wont need a inverter.

superart
12-09-2003, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by imagex
The main thing is to use a good XVGA monitor not the cheap composit junk and also a pc thats at least 18v dc or best 12v dc so you wont need a inverter.

What do you mean?

imagex
12-09-2003, 07:29 PM
I was looking at some of the links up in this post and also read someone saying that there screen sucked, so I thought I might let them know that a XVGA screen " has a vga plug on it that hooks to the computer and not a RCA plug" is the only way to go to get a good picture.

Damn, it's been so long since I posted I'm rated a noob again!

superart
12-09-2003, 07:35 PM
No, i meant, what do you mean by a 12v or 18v PC. Dont all PCs use the same voltage?

imagex
12-09-2003, 08:16 PM
Oh, no most atx mobos dont run dc at all, very few mini pc's out are 12 or 18 dc. with 18 volt its not to big of a deal to convert from 12 volt a laptop adapter for about $20 will do the trick and if it's 12 volt theres nothing to do but hook it up to you cars 12 volt sysytem. Useing inverters has allways been a draw back to in car computers they cost , take up room, create more heat and only are like 70-80% effective at converting power " power loss".

superart
12-09-2003, 08:38 PM
so waht do most mini PCs run off of?

imagex
12-09-2003, 08:57 PM
most pc's and mini pc's are 110 volt ac "house voltage" the power supply converts it down to the voltages the mobo uses +12,-12,+5,-5,and 3.3 volt.

superart
12-09-2003, 09:02 PM
Yea, but the PCs themselves dont run off of AC, they run DC. The PSU is there to convert from the household AC to DC for computer use.

imagex
12-10-2003, 10:18 AM
yes thats right, but most of the psu are 110 volt ac, and you would need a inverter to run them in a car. I have done months of searching manufacturers and there are some 12 volt ATX power supplys but they do cost around $100 and there not small.
What I was saying was the easiest smallest way to have a car pc is to use one that is already 18 or 12 volt dc, There are a handfull of models that do. We at this time are using the TX-3 :18 volt, 1.2 gig cpu, 256 meg ram, 20 gig hd and a dvd rom.

Also I have checked into making a 12 volt psu, you would think at first this would be easy but atx mobos run many voltages one is 24 volt that is center tapped so you have 12+ and 12-, then 10 volt thats also center tapped to get 5+ and 5- these mainly run your drives , then the 3.3 for the mobo.

cybrsamurai
12-10-2003, 01:09 PM
imagex did you see this?

http://www.opussolutions.com/150watt.html

I think after christmas Im going to start my project. The only thing that I wonder about is the LCD screen. I don't know enough about them. Does anyone have a specific model recommendation?

imagex
12-10-2003, 02:50 PM
nice psu but its bigger than my whole computer that I use, we use 7" touch screens XVGA can handle up to 1600 res but thats only good for video we run mainly 800x 600.

theres some pics and spec's on my site and a few pic's of my install in the forum: http://hybrid-mobile.com

arken420
12-11-2003, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by cybrsamurai
imagex did you see this?

http://www.opussolutions.com/150watt.html

I think after christmas Im going to start my project. The only thing that I wonder about is the LCD screen. I don't know enough about them. Does anyone have a specific model recommendation?

That PSU is like 200 bucks...

punish3r
12-21-2003, 09:11 PM
Considering the amp availability on an alternator, you should be able to get away with a series of tight tolerance DC-DC converters for everything except possibly the screen (and maybe that too depending on which screen). Prolly cut your cost in half at the same time as well. my 2 cents.

imagex
12-22-2003, 04:37 PM
I started to do just that use dc-dc conveters but we ended up makeing a deal with a manufacturer that makes 18 volt dc systems an we use a laptop adaptor that cost about $20 to get the 18 volt up from 12, the screens we use are already 12 volt.

Avelinoribeiro
05-15-2004, 08:04 PM
Hi,

Go to www.cartft.com an see a lot of cool car computers.
I have a 7" TFT monitor with touch screen VGA, PAL, NTSC and remote control,
Mini-Computer PIII 800 - 256Mb Ram - 20GB running XP Pro. (with CarMedia Interface) Wifi, USB GPS (software are Route 66) and USB FM radio.
I have a Renault Laguna 2.0 Turbo modif. to 220 HP.
I removed the auto radio and insert the monitor with 4 ports USB Hub (for connect a CF card read and a Web Cam (Philips ToUcam Pro).

You can buy from CarTFT and you can pay by Paypal or credit card.

Sorry my English.

Regards

Avelinowww.cartft.com (http://www.cartft.com)

imagex
05-15-2004, 09:51 PM
hey guys, I had forgot about this Thread. Have a update for all of you with car computers, we've just released our touch interface, its still alpha and not ready to run in the car yet but we have a new build coming out in a few days that has been reworked down to the core :) theres a link on mp3car.com since were having the guys there test for us. http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=25785&page=1&pp=15

MadHacker
05-15-2004, 10:58 PM
Also I have checked into making a 12 volt psu, you would think at first this would be easy but atx mobos run many voltages one is 24 volt that is center tapped so you have 12+ and 12-, then 10 volt thats also center tapped to get 5+ and 5- these mainly run your drives , then the 3.3 for the mobo.

ok Just out of curioisty does anything actualy use the -12volts?
or is it just there to support some hardware that isn't used anymore?

jaydee
05-15-2004, 11:24 PM
ok Just out of curioisty does anything actualy use the -12volts?
or is it just there to support some hardware that isn't used anymore?
Fans and the 12V also is the source of the the other voltages if I remember correctly. I think the 12V is broken down into the other rails. That makes a smoother current or something. Been a while so I may be wrong.....

imagex
05-16-2004, 12:24 AM
12 volt is mainly used for your drive motors, hard drive & cdrom.

MadHacker
05-16-2004, 01:41 AM
Fans and the 12V also is the source of the the other voltages if I remember correctly. I think the 12V is broken down into the other rails. That makes a smoother current or something. Been a while so I may be wrong.....

12 volt is mainly used for your drive motors, hard drive & cdrom.

But what is the -12 Volts used for? as in negative voltage... :shrug:
is there anything that actualy uses it?

Groth
05-16-2004, 01:41 AM
-12 was used by ISA sound cards, don't know of anything that still uses it. -5 is still used by serial ports.

MadHacker
05-16-2004, 01:45 AM
-12 was used by ISA sound cards, don't know of anything that still uses it. -5 is still used by serial ports.
so for a new system to have in a car all you would realy need is 17 volts, +12 to -5
and if you don't need the cerial port all you would need is 15.3 volts, +12 to -3.3

Groth
05-16-2004, 01:54 AM
-3.3 ?? Never heard of that one.

Yup, you should be able to do it with just positive voltages for a legacy free board. And the center tap idea to get the negative voltages is overkill - easier and cheaper to use a small charge-pump to if you need the small amounts of negative voltages.

leejsmith
05-16-2004, 05:45 AM
i have an update on my car system. it's still work in progress and i think i am gong to change the pc but it all works.

7inch lilliput touchscreen
haicom serial gps (same one from the hp system i used at the start of ths thread)

HP E-PC e-vectra p2760a that work gave me to use on the project.
This is a small form factor pc that uses a 19v dc power block and i use a laptop car power block that also gives me 19v at 5000ma the pc only needs 3160ma.
The only thing i changed is the slim cd-rom for a dvd-rom.

A customer at work made a blanking plate to go in place of my dual din car stereo and i used velcro to attach the screen to it so i can remove it. as the dash is silver and the screen is too it looks ok.

For mouse if i need it i use a shuttle remote that came with my SFF XPC.

It's running xp with mediacar as an interface. Navigator gps software which is not the best but was only £35 and gives full voice navigation.

Media car works with a dlnk usb radio but i had trouble getting one so i used a wintv usb. This will also let me use the tv capture for rear parking camera or watching tv. I had to use radiator to get the wintv usb radio working in media car.

The last part was audio and i have a small 4x30w or 2x60w amp.

Now this all works apart from loads of engine noise on the audio side.
I dont know if it's from the power to the pc or the amp it's self but i have very little time at the moment.

I am still thinking of getting a via itx board and the opus psu instead of the hp e-pc. The itx board will fit inside the dual stereo's old home to make a very tidy installation.

imagex
05-16-2004, 09:56 AM
hey leejsmith, I also had alot of problems at first with noise, if you use a walkman instead of your pc you can see if its in your amps or the pc. I had some of both" alt noise and harddrive/ cdrom noise" , I ran 4 gage wire to the rear where my amps are "about 1500 watts :p " and I did both + and - lines and used a 1 farad cap that helps to filter noise also, then I used a ground loop isolator on my highs, on the pc side I use a soundblaster mp3 pro with usb run back to the amps, this way theres less audio cable to pick up any noise, one more thing that helps is I set my pc sound level to max and then set my amp gain to were its just below distorting " the higher your amp gain the more the inputs on your amp act like a mic. hope this helps :). as for radio support in the software were working on a usb tuner now also XM radio too. We have so many things to do as add-on's we'll be busy for the next 5 years, lol

bigben2k
05-16-2004, 11:46 AM
Putting a PC in a car is an idea I've toyed with for years, but I could never get passed the power issue.

How do you do it? Do you have to add an alternator and/or battery?

leejsmith
05-16-2004, 11:56 AM
hey leejsmith, I also had alot of problems at first with noise, if you use a walkman instead of your pc you can see if its in your amps or the pc. I had some of both" alt noise and harddrive/ cdrom noise" , I ran 4 gage wire to the rear where my amps are "about 1500 watts :p " and I did both + and - lines and used a 1 farad cap that helps to filter noise also, then I used a ground loop isolator on my highs, on the pc side I use a soundblaster mp3 pro with usb run back to the amps, this way theres less audio cable to pick up any noise, one more thing that helps is I set my pc sound level to max and then set my amp gain to were its just below distorting " the higher your amp gain the more the inputs on your amp act like a mic. hope this helps :). as for radio support in the software were working on a usb tuner now also XM radio too. We have so many things to do as add-on's we'll be busy for the next 5 years, lol


thanks for the sound tips.
I was thinking of using a sound proccessor from the pc digital output but it might be a little over my budget. the usb soundblaster is a good idea.

i dont think the amp i used to test is very good that could be my problem but i will test it with a walkman to see.

imagex
05-16-2004, 03:56 PM
ya the soundblaster mp3 is only abot $40 not bad at all.

To bigben: we use pc's that are dc micro atx, others do still go about it the hard way using inverters to power full size atx mobo, check my site to see some specs " we dont sell to the puplic yet still prototyping more software and hardware" http://hybrid-mobile.com

bigben2k
05-17-2004, 02:49 PM
Yeah, an inverter is a no-no: it's just too inefficient. A microATX would be ideal, I was considering the same, even one using the Epia processor, if necessary.

But how do you power it? If you use a direct line to the battery, you'll have maybe 14 volts, with a lot of bad nasty noise.

Sandman001
05-17-2004, 05:47 PM
USB and ethernet use -12V for something. I know they used to anyway. It's just a signal, ntohing big though.