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Old 12th June 2009, 16:02   #1
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Default ICEing the Honda Civic - Part II (Carputer)

After having a very success+full and pocket+emptying experience of ICEing my Civic in 2006, I have now finally decided to continue with the next round (i.e. have finally saved some money to splurge again)...

In summary my initial setup consists of
Hertz 165HSK 6.5" Components
Audison LRx 1.400 - 1 channel 900W RMS Sub amplifier
Audison LRx 4.300 - 4 channel 400W RMS Sub amplifier
Adire Brahma 15" Sub woofer with XBL2 technology in sealed configuration
Loads of Dynamat Extreme

While it may look otherwise, it's configured more towards SQ than SPL. I later rewired my Subwoofer-Amp configuration to 300W only. Both amps still run very low gains. Overall I am very satisfied with the outcome.

you can read about the same at http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/ask-gu...nda-civic.html

The setup started with 20k budget and keeping the team-bhp tradition consumed 9-10 times of that! The stock alpine player with 6 CD changer remained the weak link in the chain. For more than a year and a half I was living with a makeshift external HU, but now I finally decided to fulfill the long pending desire of setting up a car computer in my Civic.

Time is still a rare commodity, so progress might be slow, but there should be lot of fun & learning on the way, like it always is on Team-BHP.


Objective of Car PC
1. Ease of having whole Media Library in one place - Primarily audio, but some video won't hurt

2. GPS - again essential for my long drives, I do not need driving direction, just live position overlay on map is good for me

3. With Kids growing up, basic In-car gaming / movies will keep them occupied on long tours

4. Connectivity on the go (internet) - For me while I wait in the car for whatever reason.

5. OBD - Engine interactivity is fun to have

6. I would like to do Audio tuning over PC without spending a fortune, if it works out well, fine, else I would invest in a dedicated processor hardware.

The guideline remains the same - to have a value for money Car computer to meet the above objectives, stock look will be on priority.
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Old 12th June 2009, 16:16   #2
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With my initial research my required equipment list looks like this

Motherboard- Zotac 9300 itx

Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 2.8GHz-3mb-1066MHz or
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 3GHz-6mb-1333MHz

HDD - Seagate® Momentus® 7200.3 - ST9320421AS 320gb

RAM - 2 GB

Sound Card - ASUS D2X

OS - Windows XP

Frontend - Centrafuse

Power Supply - Opus / M2-ATX

LCD touchscreen - heavily confused between Xenarc ($300+), Lilliput ($200+), Unbranded ($100+)




I need help in deciding on:
DC-DC intelligent automotive Power Supply
My consumption on Zotac board would be around 90Watts and with all peripherals and monitors max 150W. I need to decide between Opus (250W or 360W) and M2-ATX (160W).

I also want to understand that will going for higher power PSU add more load on battery (assuming same power is consumed by the PC), because Opus 250W is $183 and Opus 360W is $188.

Opus seems to be more reliable but is more than 2 times M2-ATX.

Please help...

Any help in deciding on touchscreen LCDs will also be highly appreciated
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Old 12th June 2009, 16:22   #3
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i don't much about carputer,

but get a good screen which makes hell lot of difference , specially strain on eyes while working !!
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Old 12th June 2009, 17:05   #4
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How about picking a Asus EEE Box instead, it is one box solution for all computing needs. It may not be that much powerful, but still a nice compact box which can be hidden anywhere without too much wire clutter.
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Old 12th June 2009, 18:38   #5
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Where do you *get* an EEE Box in India?
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Old 12th June 2009, 19:10   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ST7677 View Post
I also want to understand that will going for higher power PSU add more load on battery (assuming same power is consumed by the PC), because Opus 250W is $183 and Opus 360W is $188.
Computer PSUs are all SMPSes. They generally have around 80% of efficiency for the newer ones. They also consume only as much power as demanded by the connected load. So you could put your rig on a 1000W PSU and it'll take only ever so slightly more power than if you were running it on 200W because of it running in its less efficient utilization range (PSUs like to be loaded above 50%).
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Old 12th June 2009, 19:44   #7
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Thanks friends for your responses....

Quote:
Originally Posted by chirag_bir
but get a good screen which makes hell lot of difference , specially strain on eyes while working !!
Problem with LCDs is that - here you pay for the brand on top, rather than the brand of LCD panel actually inside. From what I know there are only 3-4 big reputed companies which make LCD panels, and all others use it.

Secondly on car computer, strain may not be so much of a concern as one would only occasionally glance on it, unlike on a laptop. Things which might be more important in this scenario is Glare, visibility in sunlight, ability to adjust brightness for night time, auto power on off, touchscreen accuracy, power consumption, etc, etc.

And since there are no comparative reviews on different LCDs in market, I am not able to judge how these LCDs perform against the above criteria and is it really worth spending 3 times money on Xenarc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ashthedivx
How about picking a Asus EEE Box instead...
I evaluated Asus EEE box. It is terribly underpowered for multi tasking and running even slightly heavier applications.
I intend to use my car PC for ASIO VST plug ins (though I do not have a clue about them at this point), so I figured I would need at least something as powerfull as a P4 or more.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortalz
Computer PSUs are all SMPSes. They generally have around 80% of efficiency for the newer ones. They also consume only as much power as demanded by the connected load. So you could put your rig on a 1000W PSU and it'll take only ever so slightly more power than if you were running it on 200W because of it running in its less efficient utilization range (PSUs like to be loaded above 50%).
Thanks Immortalz, are you 100% sure about this? This would mean that (in case of Opus) I should go for 360W PSU rather than 250W one, since it is only $5 more, even if my present requriement is only about 150W. Correct?
I want to reconfirm as battery power is such a valuable resource in car with ICE + Carputer, etc.
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Old 12th June 2009, 19:57   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ST7677 View Post
Thanks Immortalz, are you 100% sure about this? This would mean that (in case of Opus) I should go for 360W PSU rather than 250W one, since it is only $5 more, even if my present requriement is only about 150W. Correct?
I want to reconfirm as battery power is such a valuable resource in car with ICE + Carputer, etc.
Yes, I am.

For example, in my computer, I used to have a 480W SMPS. I recently replaced it with an 850W one when the old one blew. My UPS still gives me exactly the same backup time (18mins). Pretty quantitative that result I think. BTW, these are branded heavy-weight (literally :P) PSUs which actually give the wattage the sticker says.
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Old 12th June 2009, 21:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Where do you *get* an EEE Box in India?
Well, it very well available in leading computer markets. Atleast in Delhi, it is very well available in Nehru Place. Online it is available @ Gadgetguru.com, Indiatimes.com etc.
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Old 13th June 2009, 00:04   #10
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@ST7677. welcome to the carputer world.

For LCD. I would say if you are tight on budgate don't spend on xenarc. Go For Shark. It uses Samsung Panel. and pretty cheap too.
new 8 inch Desktop TFT LCD Monitor w Touch Screen + VGA

For PSU. Go for OPUS 360W. worth spending on it.

How and Where are you going to mount your LCD ?

And the mobo you have chosen Zotac is pretty good. You have to remove Wi-Fi module to install your Xonar PCI-X Soundcard.

You didn't mention the case. Which case you're' going for ?

USB HUB? Powered ?

Last edited by nisarg86 : 13th June 2009 at 00:19.
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Old 13th June 2009, 00:53   #11
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Nisar Ji, is Shark panel available in India anywhere, looks very good and affordable !
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Old 13th June 2009, 01:12   #12
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Regarding the PSU, go ahead with the OPUS 360. Its worth every penny and give lots of headroom for future expansions. M2's does not like being pushed to the limits and their track record is pretty spotty on high power setup's.

Keep in mind that Opus power supplies are huge and wont fit in any standard off-the-shelf CarPC cases that I'm aware of. You could try some HTPC cases though.

Regarding the LCD's, you get what you pay for...I have 2 Sharc monitors (8" and 10.4") and I'm not happy with it. Though the Samsung panel is reasonably good, the circuit boards are extremely shoddy in construction and build quality. I suspect whether they would survive our roads for long. Also the sunlight viewability would be a concern unless you have dark tints. Dont even get me started on the glare part. At some angles, I could use the Sharc screens as mirrors...lol. While the holy grail here is Transreflective monitors and SAW touchscreens, they cost an arm and a leg!!!

You are gonna have one hell of a time integrating the monitor onto Civic's funky dash. Look for 2-Din Dash kits for your model/

Plan well. Good Luck!

Last edited by Digital Vampire : 13th June 2009 at 01:22.
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Old 13th June 2009, 11:44   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nisarg86
@ST7677. welcome to the carputer world.

For LCD. I would say if you are tight on budgate don't spend on xenarc. Go For Shark. It uses Samsung Panel. and pretty cheap too.
new 8 inch Desktop TFT LCD Monitor w Touch Screen + VGA

For PSU. Go for OPUS 360W. worth spending on it.

How and Where are you going to mount your LCD ?

And the mobo you have chosen Zotac is pretty good. You have to remove Wi-Fi module to install your Xonar PCI-X Soundcard.

You didn't mention the case. Which case you're' going for ?

USB HUB? Powered ?
Thanks Nisarg!
Regarding case and USB hub, I am yet to figure out lot of these things yet.

Case:
This will be going in a Civic, and my PC will be under the drivers seat. So I need a case which is 7" x 10" x 3" size. Height of 3" is fixed others can increase upto an inch.
Also I do not know the exact size of Mobo with stuff attached to it, so once I finalize these components procure them, cabinate will be decided.
From the cases what I have seen so far, I am not sure if I would get anything ready made, so I might have to get it fabricated.

Q: I have a 21" x 21" steel sheet lying with me, can a case be fabricated out of it?

USB Hub:
Wondering why would I need one? This board has got 6 USBs on the interface plate and a header for 6 USBs more. Am I wrong in assuming 12 USBs available, if not, then I don;t think I would need more for now...

Mounting LCD:
I would have liked a bigger widescreen touchscreen LCD screen (may be 9.2"), assuming I could fit it (with more fabrication), but I guess these are not made any more.
So I am planning to replace my stock HU with a 7" LCD by using this attachment.
(There may still be some thing fabrication required)
Attached Thumbnails
ICEing the Honda Civic - Part II (Carputer)-dash-panel-front-view.jpg  

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Old 13th June 2009, 12:21   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghpk
Nisar Ji, is Shark panel available in India anywhere, looks very good and affordable !
Hi, Can you please tell me what would a Shark 7" touchscreen cost, and where can I check it's specs. If any one has it, can you please post a review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital_vampire
Regarding the LCD's, you get what you pay for...I have 2 Sharc monitors (8" and 10.4") and I'm not happy with it. Though the Samsung panel is reasonably good, the circuit boards are extremely shoddy in construction and build quality. I suspect whether they would survive our roads for long. Also the sunlight viewability would be a concern unless you have dark tints. Dont even get me started on the glare part. At some angles, I could use the Sharc screens as mirrors...lol. While the holy grail here is Transreflective monitors and SAW touchscreens, they cost an arm and a leg!!!
Thanks for your views DV, however glare and visibility under bright conditions are standard problem in car environment, have you compared this with any other screens. From what I have read Lilliput and even Xenarc have similar issues. Xenarc being slightly better as it has anti-glare coating. I am searching for relative performance between these screens to see if it is worth spending 2x or 3x.

Also I was wondering if there are any after market solutions (like anti-glare screens) available, which can be used without effecting touchscreen capability.

BTW, there are 7" Lilliput Transreflective LCDs available at $400.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital_Vampire
You are gonna have one hell of a time integrating the monitor onto Civic's funky dash. Look for 2-Din Dash kits for your model/
I am planning to use a 2-din dash panel kit like this (mirror image).
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Old 15th June 2009, 00:53   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ST7677 View Post
Thanks for your views DV, however glare and visibility under bright conditions are standard problem in car environment, have you compared this with any other screens. From what I have read Lilliput and even Xenarc have similar issues. Xenarc being slightly better as it has anti-glare coating. I am searching for relative performance between these screens to see if it is worth spending 2x or 3x.

Also I was wondering if there are any after market solutions (like anti-glare screens) available, which can be used without effecting touchscreen capability.

BTW, there are 7" Lilliput Transreflective LCDs available at $400.
I have extensively evaluated Lilliput EBY and Xenarc for an embedded project. Xenarc is definitely the better of the lot by far.

The main source of glare is the touchscreen foil. Barring a few exceptions (high gloss types), the LCD panel by itself is not that reflective and less of a problem. In Sharc's case, the glare is horrible due to cheap quality touch screen. Lilliput and Xenarc uses much better touch screens.

Regarding after market touch screens, I'd have suggested SAW Touch modules, but since we are talking VFM, your best bet is a 3M LCD anti-glare film/sticker (sorry forgot the correct PN, but it is from the Vikuiti series). I haven't really fixed this overlay film to an LCD yet, but the initial impression with samples received from 3M has been satisfactory.

If you are after Transreflective monitors don't fall for the cheap ones. Ensure that you get the ones in which the touchscreen (if capacitive or resistive) is optically bonded to the LCD panel. Makes a lot of difference.

After playing with a few ordinary touchscreens (Lilliput, Sharc, Xenarc, Dynamix...) and comparing them to my laptop (Panasonic Toughbook with Transreflective panel), I'm more than convinced that I need a Transreflective panel with SAW touchscreen for my ride. I'm waiting for the approval from my Home-HQ for Vitamin-M

Last edited by Digital Vampire : 15th June 2009 at 01:08.
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