In-car computer

In my current build plans for my chase truck is an in-car computer. This computer will only really be used for GPS, video recording, and Mobile ThreatNet. It's an older IBM desktop (circa 1999), but I will upfit to Windows 2000 at least. I have already designed a fairly sweet flat panel screen mount, but I have the harware design down pretty well. My question regards the software.

1 - Will Microsoft Streets & Trips overlay with the WXWORX?
2 - Do I have to order the full XM package, or just a special WX only item?
3 - Do I need an XM capable head unit, or does the Baron system have it's own reciever?
4 - Do I need any other software to overlay radar and GPS with each other, or will the Baron software do that?
5 - Is WXWORX even worth the price (ie, does it refresh quickly and is it accurate)?

Thanks!
 
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Here are a list of FAQ's on their website that will answer some of your questions.

http://www.wxworx.com/support/techfaq.php

The GPS should overlay right onto wxworx map.

Most people are happy with the $30 Mariner? package.

IMO, the 2 times I have used wx worx (borrowed from a friend) it is pretty much worthless as far as looking at radar. It is really only good for initiation. I could never get the warnings to work, and I never had GPS for it. It is very smoothed over, and will make a crap storm look good. The 900 or above price tag, is pretty high, and you are probably better off getting GRLevel3 or Swiftwx and getting an aircard or tether your cell phone to your laptop/computer for a connection. My .02 cents.

In my current build plans for my chase truck is an in-car computer. This computer will only really be used for GPS, video recording, and Mobile ThreatNet. It's an older IBM desktop (circa 1999), but I will upfit to Windows 2000 at least. I have already designed a fairly sweet flat panel screen mount, but I have the harware design down pretty well. My question regards the software.

1 - Will Microsoft Streets & Trips overlay with the WXWORX?
2 - Do I have to order the full XM package, or just a special WX only item?
3 - Do I need an XM capable head unit, or does the Baron system have it's own reciever?
4 - Do I need any other software to overlay radar and GPS with each other, or will the Baron software do that?
5 - Is WXWORX even worth the price (ie, does it refresh quickly and is it accurate)?

Thanks!
 
In my current build plans for my chase truck is an in-car computer. This computer will only really be used for GPS, video recording, and Mobile ThreatNet. It's an older IBM desktop (circa 1999), but I will upfit to Windows 2000 at least. I have already designed a fairly sweet flat panel screen mount, but I have the harware design down pretty well. My question regards the software.

4 - Do I need any other software to overlay radar and GPS with each other, or will the Baron software do that?
5 - Is WXWORX even worth the price (ie, does it refresh quickly and is it accurate)?

Thanks!

I'll address a small portion of this by discussing the desktop in a car topic. Back when WX-Chase was the main way we communicated about these topics we had in depth discussions about desktops in vehicles. I won't go into my setup now, but the short of it was this.... I build an IBM PC (final version 1 Ghz Pentium III) designed to run an Intenet browser, 15" flat screen, DeLorme Street Atlas w/GPS, get wireless Internet, WI-FI and do maps like Digital Atmosphere. The machine I build was designed to be low power consumption (run 30 min off the battery) and still get those tasks done without crashing. It was a great success over the years. This all worked well until the new versions of DeLorme and Threatnet came out that demanded more power. At that point I gave in and bought a 2.6GHz P4 laptop that I use today. It's my opinion that an old PC would be taxed to the limit by these programs and may occasionally lock up or run very slow. Restarting programs or rebooting while going down the highway is a pain I wished to avoid. Before you sink too much into an old system make sure it will handle the software requirements of "today's chasers." With regard to processing video, anything less than a 2 GHz machine won't do a very good job and will be slow/ drop frames.....another thing to consider.

As for Threatnet being worth the money, that's a whole different discussion. It's cheaper than cellular once the initial investment is made. I use the full program $100/ month in the spring and switch to a Marine program $29.95 a month in the off season. I have my pet complaints about Threatnet, yet I still use it. Do you need it, depends how good you are. I've seen people that struggled for years missing tornadoes, after Threatnet they become an overnight success. Both cellular and WI-Fi have holes and Threatnet will provide the "situation awareness" needed to know where the storms are all the time, especially at night. It also creates a large number of false meso/tornado signatures.....but we all have to learn how to work through that.

Gene Moore
 
I have the WXWORXs system Brad..to answer your questions....

1 - Will Microsoft Streets & Trips overlay with the WXWORX?

No it won't. you will have to buy the street level mapping upgrade on when you get the software. You can use a separate GPS antenna, or there is a program mentioned on this forum that will split the GPS signal so you can use a single GPS unit for your mapping and WXWORX at the same time.

2 - Do I have to order the full XM package, or just a special WX only item?
You can order any package you want. Compare the features. Some of them, like the wind shear, you only get on the Responder Package.

3 - Do I need an XM capable head unit, or does the Baron system have it's own reciever?
It has it's own receiver, which is the costly part. Usually somone sells there system on the forums here over the winter time, and you can catch one on eBay now and then. Used ones run you about $700-900 new ones are usually just at or a little over $1000. That is on top of the monthly subscription fee.

4 - Do I need any other software to overlay radar and GPS with each other, or will the Baron software do that?
See my answer to #1

5 - Is WXWORX even worth the price (ie, does it refresh quickly and is it accurate)?
Time wise it usually about as accurate as any other level 3 radar, it's not "real time" but delayed a little bit from the time the radar scans until it's processed and delivered through the satellite. As Gene said, it a bit of a "dumbed down" radar image. It doesn't offer a high level of colors, and the ones that are offered are smoothed over. You almost have to learn how to read it a bit differently that regular radar to get the most out of it.

It's biggest appeal is that you can get the satellite data anywhere in the US. You would get a much better radar product using GRLevel3 and a feed from AllisonHouse, but you will have to get a cell data connection to get that feed via the internet.

While the cell data networks are improving on the plains, there are STILL some pretty large holes where you can't get it depending on your carrier. For instance with SprintPCS, you can pretty much count out all of the western part of KS, except they have put up a couple of new towers around Dodge City.

So weight your options with where you plan on chasing the most and what cellular data is available there.
 
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You can use Franson's GPS Gate to accomplish #1.

http://www.franson.com/gpsgate/

Free is better......

I downloaded a free version of that from Barron's ....or DeLorme....ummm bet DeLorme?? Search those sites and I bet you will find it!

I'll add, running both those programs at the same time plus Firefox with 6 weather tabs going.....better have lots of RAM.
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gene
 
I considered a dedicated PC for the car to handle all storm chasing applications and peripherals as well as all audio and video. It sounded good in theory, but the need for all the cables and a standard keyboard, mouse and external monitor to use it made it impractical for space, power and mounting reasons. Not saying it can't be done, but it's too much work compared to just getting a Jotto desk and using a laptop. Plus, if I get a tricked-out computer to do all that stuff, I would want to be able to use it other places than just the car.
 
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