Touchscreen computer

I have decided that I am going to build a desktop computer for my car. It's going to have a 15 inch LCD screen (touch screen)... The computer isn't going to be too powerful, most likely an AMD Duron +1800 or so with 256MB of RAM. The total cost to put all of this together is $635.00... I'm going to use a mini-case to conceal the unit under a seat or something.

Something I never quite understood is WHY someone would go out an buy one of those in-car DVD players for +$800 that only plays DVD's/music, when you could have a whole computer, touch screen, DVD player, Windows Media player, the ability to connect it to GPRS on the road and download iTunes music, connect to a GOOD GPS system, for a much lower price? Not to mention the LCD screen is 15 inches, versus the 6-8 inch car screens (the 15 inch car screens go for a whopping $1,500)!

I'm still debating on this project, and I will let everyone know what happens, and if I do it :lol:
 
I have decided that I am going to build a desktop computer for my car. It's going to have a 15 inch LCD screen (touch screen)

Sounds great Robert;

What model screen are you going to be using? I'm looking into something similar..

..as for your question, I'm assuming the answer might have something to do with the compactness of those in-dash units.. no need to have another box anywhere else unless you're incorporating a bunch of features other than DVD and music playing. I would assume that we're talking about different crowds when looking at what to install. There was a thread here a while ago about some compact PC installations too.. some of which would also fit in the dash.
 
if you can put all the above together for under $700 Im sure the rest of us want to know about it. I just priced out a 7" touchscreen LCD for $300. That's nearly half the budget already and only half the size you want.
 
Wow. I'm seriously out of the technology loop when it comes to that stuff. What benefits does the touchscreen give you? Would it basically eliminate the need for a mouse in most instances?

I've wanted to do something similar, but couldn't find a good place to keep the mouse & keyboard handy. Too many radios in my standard cab F150.

Thanks for any enlightenment!
 
Wow. I'm seriously out of the technology loop when it comes to that stuff. What benefits does the touchscreen give you? Would it basically eliminate the need for a mouse in most instances?

You're right Ben; your finger (or a stylus in some cases) is used to direct the cursor; you could have a real clean install if you could have nothing but the screen in front of you. You can also use a "virtual keyboard" for those times you need to type something in, although it's not as good as the real thing. If the cost on these has dropped considerably then I might look into this for a future installation.
 
Awesome! Thanks John. Finding room for a single 12-14" display is much more plausable than an entire laptop. 2 people plus radio's, laptop, GPS doesn't work in my truck for anything more than a couple hours. It's just too cramped for the passenger.

This will be under serious consideration for a winter upgrade.
 
Sounds great Robert;

What model screen are you going to be using? I'm looking into something similar..

I am going to get a basic 14 inch LCD from NewEgg. I have been looking at several different companies which make touch screen conversion kits. I have seen these in action, and they seem to work pretty good. I have never personally set one up, however, so I am not sure of the difficulty involved. They use the same technology as standard touch screens, and they include the drivers/etc.. All you need to do is calibrate the screen. The conversion units run for $160.00 (the LCD is $129.00).

The computer isn't going to be too powerful, just an AMD Duron 1800 or so with 256MB DDR RAM, DVD ROM, etc.. It will also likely need a video card, or else GRLevel3 won't work. The slim case is $79.99, but it's dimensions are only 15" (height) x 12" (width) x 3.8" (thickness). I'm thinking the total price range will be between $675-$725 range (I didn't add in the video card in my previous estimation). That includes everything - Operating system, touch screen, computer, etc..

So, it's not really the screen that I'm saving price on, it's the computer system...
 
Interesting idea... I priced out a good-enough system from NewEgg and ZipZoomFly, and came up with the following costs:

case: $100
CPU: $80
Motherboard: $50
RAM: $50
HDD: $60-80
DVD-ROM: $30
Video Card: $40
Optional - TV/Radio Capture Card: $100

That comes out to $520, not including the LCD. I just checked TigerDirect, you can you can get a Dell 15" LCD touchscreen for $379, so you could end up with a system of comparable price to (or cheaper than) the Pioneer, Kenwood, etc, DVD systems, but with a whole lot more! The wheel is spinning in my head, and I may just have to check this out later this year... I suppose I'd need to find a multi-way support system / arm to move the monitor for different viewing angles, etc. I'd also opt for a quick-release system so that I can put it away when parked in sketchy neighborhoods...
 
Interesting idea... I priced out a good-enough system from NewEgg and ZipZoomFly, and came up with the following costs:

case: $100
CPU: $80
Motherboard: $50
RAM: $50
HDD: $60-80
DVD-ROM: $30
Video Card: $40
Optional - TV/Radio Capture Card: $100

That comes out to $520, not including the LCD. I just checked TigerDirect, you can you can get a Dell 15" LCD touchscreen for $379, so you could end up with a system of comparable price to (or cheaper than) the Pioneer, Kenwood, etc, DVD systems, but with a whole lot more! The wheel is spinning in my head, and I may just have to check this out later this year... I suppose I'd need to find a multi-way support system / arm to move the monitor for different viewing angles, etc. I'd also opt for a quick-release system so that I can put it away when parked in sketchy neighborhoods...

Hehe, you could have some fun with it too. I have an older 4:1 Cambridge Soundworks speaker system that I retired when I upgraded to 5:1 on my desktop computer. I am thinking about resurrecting it for the chase van when I get the computer in there. That thing has a decent base speaker with it.
 
I am thinking about just removing my car radio, and using the computer as a complete system (computer will have an FM tuner card). Do I just need to get a 4 channel amplifier, hook it up to the power, connect the speakers to it, and then plug the computer into it (like the image below)?

I found this image in another forum:

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I bought a cheap AIWA CD Deck with an aux input. The aux lets me run any audio through the car speakers, be it a scanner, ham radio, or computer. Also being able to toggle from the deck's radio/cd/aux doesn't tie the computer up.

Another perk to using a regular CD deck with an aux is that you don't need the computer when you just want to listen to the radio, ie the off season.
 
Robert,

You and the diagram are correct. If you plan on adjusting the sound between front & rear, or right & left, the orientation of the red/white RCA cables will make a difference.

If you want to adjust levels from front to rear, plug the cables into the RCA splitter as depicted by the diagram. If you want to adjust from left to right, plug both red's into one side of the splitter, and both white's into the other.

You'll probably also want to run your own wires from the amp to the speakers, vs using the factory wiring harness for the radio. It'll be very easy to return the vehicle back to stock condition if you ever choose to.
 
Thanks for the information guys! I figure if I'm gonna do this, I might as well take out my ancient radio and just use the computer for music or whatever.
 
I think the computer/sound system is a good idea, but I wouldn't follow that diagram too closely without examining the sound card first. If your sound card has multiple outputs on it already (4.1) then you don't need the extra y-cables; use 2 of those 1/8" to RCA adaptors and then run RCA cables to the amp (or simply replace all that with 2 1/8" to RCA cables). This will allow you to use the PC's controls to adjust the Front/Rear fader control. I was thinking about something similar, but I was also thinking that it would be nice to have a "control head" (similar to the Soundblaster "live" setup) that would replace the standard car stereo unit; this would include the volume, balance, fader etc. controls. Several ways to go on this.. but it could offer some neat benefits.

Some thoughts on the points that Aaron mentioned above on grounding; I would recommend that you use a "ground loop isolator" for the RCA inputs to the amp; these go inline on the RCA cables and eliminate the ground noise problem (available at Rad Shack or stereo shops).

Interesting stuff!
 
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