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Old 14th March 2007, 21:06   #1
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Default Discuss how to build a Car PC....

Since a long time i am researching on Car PC. Anyone interested to discuss on this topic starting from HW, SW, Frontend, How to Build etc etc. I saw some where in this forum some one asked "Why the heck you want a PC in the car". Thought to start with answering this question.

Quote:
Source : TechBuilder

Car PC Benefits
The public's attitude about what belongs in a car, coupled with technological advances that have made components like displays more compact and robust, have transformed cars and SUVs into rolling infotainment centers. Not long ago, a video display in a car would turn heads; today, it's commonplace. Global positioning systems (GPS) that were once deployed exclusively by the military now listen for bleeps from space from consumer dashboards. DVD players, surround sound, and video displays have all become popular selling features for auto makers. Add to that the high-end options: satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, rear-view cameras, vehicle diagnostics and sensor monitoring, Wi-Fi, smart alarm systems, and more. As a result, consumers seek new possibilities for their mobile computing needs.

Car dealers and makers of satellite radio, GPS and media players are targeting a growing consumer market with individual infotainment products. But a well-built car PC can run all of these and more. It can also help consumers with route planning, Web browsing, personal scheduling, gaming, and general computing.

System builders should consider consumers to be just part of whom you should pitch for offering a road PC. There are also hardcore mobile computing applications you could offer, such as digital video recording for police vehicles with broadband connectivity. Also, consider inventory and transportation tracking systems for trucking and delivery companies that provide businesses the advantage of being able to pinpoint where their products and materials anytime anywhere. Let's take a look at some approaches to getting a PC on the road and choosing the right components.

Thank You...
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Old 15th March 2007, 11:24   #2
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I have seen laptops used in the car & several custom made PCs as well. which one is a better option ?
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Old 15th March 2007, 11:48   #3
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is that possible say a home pc runs on 230v and a laptop on battery's hence the battery would be one overloaded battery.
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Old 15th March 2007, 13:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
I have seen laptops used in the car & several custom made PCs as well. which one is a better option ?
There are different pros and cons using laptop vs Mini ITX based custom made PCs.

Laptop Pros :

1. It comes as a complete box, no need to install or assamble the parts to get it work.
2. Small size comparing with desktops.
3. It has a in-built battery, which can help to keep sometime the laptop running after the ACC is off.
4. It is more durability as most of the parts are designed to be used in roughed scenario.
5. Can be easily removed when not in use. Specially in India the security is a more concern.
6. One of the very good feature I love in laptop is the temperature monitoring. When the system is too hot, it can shutdown the system to prevent any damage to any parts. Summer is a big problem in India.
7. Consumes low power.
8. Option of connecting multiple screens, VGA, S-Video or Composite.
9. Now a days most laptop comes with built in Bluetooth, WiFi, or even some new laptops are now having a built in EDGE / 3G slot. Just insert the SIM into it and start surfing.
10. Some built-in OS features can be useful in laptops than desktop like Suspend feature.

Laptop Cons :

1. Comparing with Desktops, Laptops are more expensive.
2. Require a docking station or Port replicator, if someone wants the easy remove flexibility. Again more cost.
3. It has limited expansion option comparing to the desktops.
4. Powering a laptop is difficult.
5. Rare spare parts.


Desktop Pros :

1. Cheaper than laptops.
2. No docking station required. Saves $$$.
3. Spare parts easily available and cheap too.
4. Some desktop mother board supports boot on power. So by ACC on the pc boots automatically.
5. Drivers for the HW are easily available.
6. Fun Building Yourself.

Desktop Cons:

1. Bigger in size.
2. Can't remove and carry when not in use.
3. Gets over heated easily.
4. Expensive Powers Solutions.
5. More Power required.
6. Makes Noice comparing with Laptop.

I hope I have covered most of the things. Anyone want to add something.

Thank You...
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Old 15th March 2007, 13:43   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawan View Post
is that possible say a home pc runs on 230v and a laptop on battery's hence the battery would be one overloaded battery.
There are different power solutions for laptops and desktops. For Mini ITX or Nano ITX boards we can use DC to DC PSU, which can be installed inside the pc enclouser to power the desktop. For laptops we can use either inverter and use the OEM laptop adapter to power it or can use DC to DC Laptop power adapter.

What I believe in your port you are talking about overloading the car battery. Not really, it will not overload the car battery to run car pc. Most car pcs require 80 Watt to 150 Watts to operate(depending upon the HWs you install). I believe the car battery can handle this. Most of the people who are installing a car PC are using the same car battery to run the car PC and some people are installing a second battery for more backup time. Installing a second battery can overload the alternator of Car. Engine Gurus can throw some light into this.
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Old 15th March 2007, 14:22   #6
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Are these mini itx & nano itx boards available here in india ? & the power supply for these ?
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Old 15th March 2007, 14:38   #7
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as ankur stated in his thread these boards are avalable in india but they are very much expensive when compared to the dollar prices.....
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Old 15th March 2007, 14:46   #8
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I think Ankut speint close to 20,000$ in getting that CarPC in his car.... I think the most difficult thing would be to get the low power consumtion motherboard. Tried a lot at NehruPlace market but couldnt find it. It will be awesome to get a CarPC but my palio Dash has no space whatsoever to put a touchscreen LCD
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Old 15th March 2007, 21:56   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Are these mini itx & nano itx boards available here in india ? & the power supply for these ?
Hmmmm..Not easily, but if there is a passion there is a way. I know one person in Mumbai who imports all the car components and supplies in India. Infact I contacted them and got the price range.
Quote:
as ankur stated in his thread these boards are avalable in india but they are very much expensive when compared to the dollar prices.....
LBM, not expensive now a days, it's close to the $ price now. The mini-itx board starts from the price range at Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 11,500. PSU will cost between Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 6,000.

Car PC based Vehicle Infotaiment Systems | iRide Technologies. Mumbai, India is the site whom i contacted for these parts. Some parts (like motorized touch screen) listed at their site are not available now, but they told these will be available by end of March. I am not sure whether this source is reliable or not. They say they will provide one year warranty on every parts. End of march I am planning to visit Mumbai and will go to their office. Will post my experience about them then.
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Old 15th March 2007, 22:11   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rishibravo View Post
I think Ankut speint close to 20,000$ in getting that CarPC in his car.... I think the most difficult thing would be to get the low power consumtion motherboard. Tried a lot at NehruPlace market but couldnt find it. It will be awesome to get a CarPC but my palio Dash has no space whatsoever to put a touchscreen LCD
$20,000 ?????????? Rs. 9 Lakhs????. Not at all...It might be $2,000. If we get the parts in India as listed in iride.in site, the complete setup should not cost more than Rs. 55-60 K. Just an average estimate(taken as higher side) :

ITX Board : Rs.12,000
PSU : Rs. 6,000
Touch Screen : Rs. 17,000
RAM : Rs. 3,000
HDD(100 GB) : Rs. 7,000
GPS : Rs. 5,000
OBD : Rs. 6,000
Enclosure : Rs. 3000

You can install a touch screen in Palio. Need little mod to the dash.
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Old 16th March 2007, 11:50   #11
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Sorry if i sound stupid, i do understand there is something in it for these boards to cost that much, but why cant we use our regular boards & power supply (with a convertor) ?
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Old 16th March 2007, 12:37   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Sorry if i sound stupid, i do understand there is something in it for these boards to cost that much, but why cant we use our regular boards & power supply (with a convertor) ?
No, the question is not stupid, it's a genuine one. Most of the people want to know this. Here you go...

Why Mini-ITX?

Mini-ITX is an ultra-compact motherboard developed by VIA Technologies, a Taiwanese company known for innovation and high-quality manufacturing. The highly integrated features of mini-ITX mainboards are ideal for building systems that are powerful, quiet, and small. These boards also pack all the punch of a full-sized PC while running far cooler and more quietly. These features have made mini-ITX solutions the most popular choice for embedded applications and appliance computing—in short, any place where space is an issue.
We'll add to this compact, solid mainboard a road-worthy case, rugged hard disk, and a power supply built to handle special automotive needs, such as battery drain. Put it all together, and you've got one solid Car PC that's ready to hit the highway in ways that no desktop box or notebook could.
As with any technology, there are tradeoffs. So let's talk about the pros and cons of implementing a Mini-ITX solution for the road. I think you'll agree that the pros far outweigh the cons! Here's a brief summary of the highlights of working with a mini-ITX:

1. Ultra Compact: Offers a 170 mm x 170 mm (roughly 6.7 in. x 6.7 in.) form factor.
2. Highly Integrated: Boards carry an onboard processor and integrated I/O.
3. Power Efficient: Low power consumption, cool operation.
4. OS Compatible: Systems support Microsoft and Linux operating systems.
5. Modular: Integrates with industry standard components.
6. Secure: Mini-ITX boards feature onboard encryption technology.
7. Quiet: Smaller means less noise, and fanless mini-ITX offer less noise with greater stability.
8. Compatible Interfaces: Supports SATA drives, DIMM memory, PCI cars, and both USB and Firewire peripherals.
On the flip side, here are a few limitations on the technology which you should consider before implementing a mini-ITX solution:

1. Not Upgradeable: To reduce the cost of manufacture, CPUs are permanently installed on the mainboard. The ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket on most modern motherboards makes up a significant part of the manufacture cost. In VIA's EPIA (Embedded Platform Innovative Architecture) architecture, the company integrated the mainboard and CPU and removed the socket to streamline production and reduce costs.
2. Limited Expandability: Typical cases have limited real estate—that's the cost of going "small." Power supplies can be as small as 60 watts, limiting the addition of peripherals. Also, these boards have minimal PCI slots available.
3. Higher Cost: The cost for an integrated mini-ITX mainboard is likely to be higher than a comparable ATX motherboard/CPU bundle.
While there are certainly some cons to going with mini-ITX, I believe the technology is sound. That's why I recommend it as the virtual heart of this build.


Source : Techbuilder.org
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Old 16th March 2007, 13:04   #13
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Hi Sys_Whiz,
Nice information there, even i am on my way for a car pc install in my ford fusion, got my carpc from iride.
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Old 16th March 2007, 13:17   #14
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Quote:
CPUs are permanently installed on the mainboard.
That explains the higher cost of the motherboard. For 12,000, what kind of processor are we looking at embedded in the MB ?

And, the HDD, is that a 2.5" or smaller ?
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Old 16th March 2007, 13:26   #15
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there are flash HDD also available in the market which are shock resistent.....no moving part inside....
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