CarPC install

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Hi,
I was chatting to Roman about CarPCs this morning which prompted me to
post the following link to one in an LC:
http://www.cartft.com/community/Story/sahara
Basically a CarPC is a PC built in to your car for providing
navigation, entertainment (mp3, DVD, CD, Radio) as well as email,
blogging, downloading and editing photos from digital camera, OBD, etc.
Roman raised concerns about cooling and the ingress of dust into the
box, but you can actually buy the components seperately (motherboard,
etc) so could well build a sealed box that doen't need a fan within it.
It's certainly something I'm looking at for my next LC.
--
Regards,
Julian Voelcker
Mobile: 07971 540362
Skype: julianvoelcker
Cirencester, United Kingdom
1994 HDJ80, 2.5" OME Lift
 
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Speak to Jon Wildsmith.
He builds his own and has used them for ages.
Pete
 
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There are 5 car PC's I've built out there including my own, 2 of them in
80 series Landcruisers (LC content) :) None of them have an easy life
all being in much abused 4x4's, they've only been subjected to the UK
climate but it is hot here sometimes. We've had no hardware failures and
some of the machines have been going nearly 4 years (of course now
they'll all stop working!).
If you choose the components sensibly you shouldn't have any heat
problems. Dust should only be an issue for CD/DVD drives and if you're
that worried about it use an external USB2 drive you store in a zip lock
bag or something. Saying that we get a lot of dust in the motors in the
summer green laning and it hasn't been an issue. Obviously the screen
needs cleaning more often if it's dusty.
Best regards,
Jon.
-----Original Message-----
From: [Email address removed] [mailto:[Email address removed]]
On Behalf Of Julian Voelcker
Sent: 21 September 2006 13:31
To: [Email address removed]
Subject: [ELCO] CarPC install
Hi,
I was chatting to Roman about CarPCs this morning which prompted me to
post the following link to one in an LC:
http://www.cartft.com/community/Story/sahara
Basically a CarPC is a PC built in to your car for providing
navigation, entertainment (mp3, DVD, CD, Radio) as well as email,
blogging, downloading and editing photos from digital camera, OBD, etc.
Roman raised concerns about cooling and the ingress of dust into the
box, but you can actually buy the components seperately (motherboard,
etc) so could well build a sealed box that doen't need a fan within it.
It's certainly something I'm looking at for my next LC.
--
Regards,
Julian Voelcker
Mobile: 07971 540362
Skype: julianvoelcker
Cirencester, United Kingdom
1994 HDJ80, 2.5" OME Lift
 
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Hi guys,
A lot of dust while green laning? That's cetainly a serious issue, But
you should try heat, low humidity, static, vibrations AND billowing
dust at the same time for several weeks :)
Considering the price of s/h toughbooks and hammerheads on ebay I am
wondering if it makes sense to build your own car pc?
--
Rgds,
Roman (London, UK)
'92 HDJ80
 
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Hi Jon,
What sort of spec machines are you putting together, re MBs, drives,
etc? Would be interested in hearing more.
Have you played around with any of the FM radio cards?
Also have you played around with any of the front end applications like
the Media Engine?
I looked in to it pretty seriously a couple of years back, but never
got around doing anything about it.
Whilst I appreciate dust in N. Africa can be a problem, you should be
OK blowing it out with an airline every so often.
My biggest concern would be the longevity of hard disks when driving
over corrugations for extended periods. Always considered trying to
keep the drives centrally in the vehicle and having some level of RAID
setup with the drives in some form of cradle - most likely complete
overkill.
I had considered Roman's option of getting a second hand tough book, or
something similar but would be concerned about spares, etc. At least
with building my own from the board up it is easier to get what I want
and ensure that spares are easily available.
--
Regards,
Julian Voelcker
Mobile: 07971 540362
Skype: julianvoelcker
Cirencester, United Kingdom
1994 HDJ80, 2.5" OME Lift
 
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Julian,
You're right about the hard disk, but I don't think you need to worry
about the spares.
In the ruggedized computers the hard disk is suspended in some kind of
soft foam, which is not hard to emulate. What is, is building a unit
that is completely sealed yet can radiate the heat.
As for the spares, you wouldn't carry them with you (except for a
spare hard disk for backups). These things don't break easily and
there's still so many used toughbooks around which can be canibalised
if need be.
--
Rgds,
Roman (London, UK)
'92 HDJ80
On 9/21/06, Julian Voelcker <[Email address removed]> wrote:
 
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Hi Julian,
You could of course install XP/your desired OS to a flash device, available
for around =A358.00 pounds for a 4GB (www.7dayshop.com).
This will of course rely on the mortherboard being able to boot of a flash
card/USB device. See the below link for more information.
http://www.weethet.nl/english/hardware_bootfromusbstick.php
Of course if you want to carry around your entire DVD collection then you
will need a big flash device ;-)
Regards
Martin.
 
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On 21/9/06 17:40, "Roman" <[Email address removed]> wrote:
The geek in me is quite interested but I'm left asking why do you want to do
this? Navigation? Mapping? Entertainment? Photographs?
Personally I don't like to cram the dash/cab of my cruiser with too much
clobber. If something should happen and the car rolls, drops a few metres,
stuff will fly and there are all already plenty of sharp edges. We shouldn't
expect the worst but we must certainly prepare for it.
For navigation I was happy to use my Garmin GPS 276c and have software to
hook it up to a Mac. Decided not to use computer mapping as we both prefer
to look out of the windows.
For entertainment I have a good Pioneer stereo that plays all formats. And
we read books. And we talked.
For photographs, I shoot on film and for my other half and her Ricoh
digital, we downloaded onto a small Mac, iBook, the same as used for hooking
up to the Garmin. The iBook was in a small cheap computer bag, had no
preferential treatment - that was reserved for my cameras - and survived
with no ill effects. I've since upgraded to a MacBook pro but the little 'un
still goes on.
My big reservation is space. The packaging inside an 80 is pretty poor
compared to a more modern car. The straight 6 takes up huge amounts of
bonnet space, the interior is relatively cramped and worse if you leave a
rear seat in for a guide etc. (I had to move the drivers seat rails back to
accommodate my lanky legs and I'm not that tall at 1m 87cms.But the
installation Julian attached looks good and in those cars, there is a more
space to hide stuff.
My other reservation is about how all this additional stuff will keep my
mind off other things - Im constantly looking around for photographs to take
and I mark things on my gps when I see them. That's all I need.
I'm rambling now...
Jeremy
 
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Jeremy,
A nice ramble ;-)
Ideally it wouldn't take up much space, the main unit is not much bigger (in your terms) than a Mac Mini and can often get slotted in where the main hifi is and replace it. Then it's a case of a small 9" touch screen bolted to the dash or to the ceiling.
OK, I would probably end up with the drives being stored seperately, but it can all be tucked away.
On the navigation side I have Autoroute that gives standard satnav functionality for the whole of Europe, Memory Map with the whole of the UK in OS format and then also Marocco.
Like you I would far rather watch the view as opposed to being ruled by a satnav, but a computerised version is a lot better than your average hand held garmin because of the high quality built in maps.
Cheers,
Julian
 
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I looked into this a few months back and even contacted some suppliers that
do bare bones systems but then got my hands on a UMPC to test and have since
been on the lookout for a bargain. A USB FM radio tuner, TV Tuner and
External HDD and maybe a Wireless mini PC attached to a USB hub tucked away
in the centre console or under the dashboard would make a neat little
solution which only requires a single USB cable to attach to the UMPC, also
it can be taken out of the car if needed (security?). I think some have TV
out features so you can run a couple of headrest screens.
The only draw back is upgradeability (Is that a word?) but with more and
more external devices having their own processing power that should not pose
much of an issue.
Just my $0.02
Anjam
 
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The answer for me is trip planning and then navigating that trip. I
often end up having to plan a day or three's laning on the spot and
having my map and database of lanes along with me makes it possible.
Having the computer show me where I am leaves much more time for looking
out the windows than paper maps allow me.
Having gone to the trouble of putting a computer in the car I may as
well also use it for music.
For photos, I don't mark the place on the GPS, the computer is tracking
where I am and will later use that information to place my digital
camera pictures on the map for me.
I do tend to mark the location of public toilets manually, for those
times when ladies or children are with us ;-)
Best regards,
Jon.
 
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VIA 1GHz motherboards don't produce much heat and are plenty powerful
enough for sat nav or playing media and are quite cheap. 256MB RAM seems
to be enough, 40GB 2.5" hard drive.
No.
I have no experience of desert corrugations but based on the abuse I
know mine gets I would guess they won't be an issue.
What do you do about the screen with that solution? You're either trying
to find somewhere to mount a laptop which isn't ideal, or still having
to buy a separate screen. I presume the laptop screen probably isn't a
touch screen as well. The screen is a big percentage of the total cost
of a system.
Best regards,
Jon.
 
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On 21/9/06 21:03, "Julian Voelcker" <[Email address removed]> wrote:
I think the fact of the matter is that I would love such a setup - I'm not a
Luddite after all as I spend so much of my working life surounded by these
machines.
I'll keep an eye on what is going as I may end up doing it but not before a
long range fuel tank and a drawer system - a lightweight one.
Jeremy
 
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On 9/21/06, Jon Wildsmith <[Email address removed]> wrote:
Jon,
This is why for me a ruggedized tablet PC is such a good idea. It's
got a 10" touch screen but it's hardly bigger than that.
It is removable and easy to be stored in a safe box or to be taken to
a hotel room for downloading pictures, or to an internet cafee.
If it only does navigation, data storage and networking, who cares if
it has a powerful processor or a blinding fast graphic card?
--
Rgds,
Roman (London, UK)
'92 HDJ80
 
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On 22/9/06 09:31, "Roman" <[Email address removed]> wrote:
What is available Roman?
Jeremy
HDJ81 + stuff but with no pc
 
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On 9/22/06, Jeremy Llewellyn-Jones <[Email address removed]> wrote:
Jeremy
There are a few models in the market but the real choice is limited to
what's available second hand on ebay. New ruggedised machines cost an
an arm and a leg because such computers are aimed at the military and
field work segment which normaly buys at wholesale prices.
If you buy secondhand you don't risk much because the pcs are built
like a brick shithouse and can take a lot of abuse without getting
damaged.
Six months ago I picked up a Walkabout Hammerhead 3 for less than 200
quid. I only replaced the hard drive with a 60 Gig one (I carry
another 80 Gig drive as spare/backup drive with the system and
applications pre-installed) and that's it!
--
Rgds,
Roman (London, UK)
'92 HDJ80
 
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Good enough spec for navigation purposes apart from the lack of a USB port.
 
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Ahhh... sorry, maybe not. I must learn to read properly!
233 MHz and a monochrome display. I think not!!
Pete
 
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