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Reload Thread: OT: Adding an onboard computer to my ride

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    LoneRanger's Avatar
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    OT: Adding an onboard computer to my ride

    I have an excess of old computer parts laying around my house, and I've decided to try to integrate some of them into my truck and possibly use it to replace my head unit.

    This is what I have:

    10gb Western Digital hard drive
    Diamond Viper graphics card
    Intel Pentium II 350mHz chipset and motherboard
    Fan-cooled power supply
    Adaptec DVD-ROM
    Generic Mouse/Keyboard control board
    4 Slot USB input
    Wireless Gateway keyboard and wireless Intel Laser Mouse

    I can take all these pieces and put them together to make a working computer for my home, so I figure with a power inverter and a custom MDF box, I can use them in my truck. However, I have a few questions that maybe someone here can help me with.

    1. Will viberations/magnetic field from the subwoofer damage the computer?
    2. Is there a graphics card or some other type of hardware that will convert standard monitor output to the yellow RCA wire I'd need to use a small LCD screen as a monitor?
    3. How big of an inverter would I need to run something like this?
    4. Can I build a computer box out of MDF if I use a ground distrobution block in place of the standard grounds that attach to the computer chassis and keep it cooled with a couple large fans?



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    LoneRanger's Avatar
    LoneRanger is offline Old Yamahas Give Me Wood

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    BUMP^

    somebody's gotta know something!



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    GSteg's Avatar
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    i wouldn't do it. computers aren't suitable to road vibration and such. but if you can make a super duper good dampening suspension for it. then go ahead



    Hello GSteg it appears that you have not posted on our forums in several weeks, why not take a few moments to ask a question, help provide a solution or just engage in a conversation with another member in any one of our forums?

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    saltyjesus's Avatar
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    go for it but remember a few things...
    one computers are delicate things and also contain magnetic parts that dont like to be around objects with big magnets (aka subwoofers). I think thats a very cool idea, but configuring it wont be as easy as it looks. Where are you going to put your monitor and keyboard? How will having a pc in your car help you in any way? If you did do it I would not reccomend using it to replace your exisisting head unit. If you do make sure you have one incredably awesome sound card. I assume you probably need a 300 watt inverter to power your computer, depending on your computer. plus then you need to power your monitor. I dont'w know man... not a bad idea, but I reccomend just making a router or secondary pc out of those parts



    20,000,000 car audio people can't be wrong

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    LoneRanger's Avatar
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    "Where are you going to put your monitor and keyboard?"
    Monitor will be mounted in the driver's side sun visor. The keyboard will go in a cubby hole under the "computer box" with the mouse. Also, you can power the monitor off the car's electrical system if you use a standard DC powered LCD.

    "How will having a pc in your car help you in any way?"
    I dunno.....how does having a subwoofer in your car "help" you in any way? I don't know anybody else who has a computer in their car, and I kinda thought it would be cool to be the first

    "If you do make sure you have one incredably awesome sound card."
    I have a ****** sound card....can anyone recommend a good one? Also, would like to know how to convert video signal from the graphics card to RCA level output so I can run it into the LCD.....

    "I assume you probably need a 300 watt inverter to power your computer, depending on your computer."
    I have a 300w Radio Shack inverter. It's supposed to only draw 20a off the battery at max power.

    ... not a bad idea, but I reccomend just making a router or secondary pc out of those parts
    Thought about that.........but the 350mhz is too slow to do anything i want to do at home.....but would be very nice to run a mobile Linux based system that serves only to play movies, music videos, MP3's and cool screen savers.




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    SKMexiFry's Avatar
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    Personally I wouldn't do it because that Audiobahn you have has a large magnet, and powerful magnets and hard drives tend not to go together very well. Also, it may not seem like that inverter draws a lot, but a computer like a desktop one can seriously put a hurt on your battery. That is why you see people with "computers" in their car using a laptop, because it doesn't need your battery to run.
    Last edited by SKMexiFry; 12-23-2002 at 11:56 PM.



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    might as well try it since it's just excess parts layin around the house...what could it hurt? hopefully it'll be sweet, sorry i cant really answer any of your Q's lol, im not smart i just have opinions



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    with the sub in the back it should do anything to the computer it has to be sitting right on top of it i mean all our cars have computers with metal around it try it it shouldnt do anythign with my experience only problems that occur is if the magnet is sitting on top of the computer screen or computer then your sol..........try it and let us know....i was thinking about how much them hd is a rip off i mean u can get the 10 gig for what like probably 20 bucks now plus the drive dam is the same if not less and they put in some **** that produces the sound dont know how they do that.....but if ya do it and get it in put some pic's up on the board for us too see..........




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    man, lack of punctuation kills me. Anyways, check out Creative for a sound card. DELL carries them because they are reliable and come with really good software to keep the sounds running correctly. They also come with ripping and recording software, I believe, depending on what Creative sound card you get.



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    with the sub in the back it should do anything to the computer it has to be sitting right on top of it i mean all our cars have computers with metal around it try it it shouldnt do anythign with my experience only problems that occur is if the magnet is sitting on top of the computer screen or computer then your sol..........try it and let us know....i was thinking about how much them hd is a rip off i mean u can get the 10 gig for what like probably 20 bucks now plus the drive dam is the same if not less and they put in some **** that produces the sound dont know how they do that.....but if ya do it and get it in put some pic's up on the board for us too see..........
    Man, that is one long sentence........



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    Originally posted by SKMexiFry
    Man, that is one long sentence........
    Yeah, that's why I put in the punctuation bit.



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    Sorry guys i talk like that well on the computers like instant msg's you know. Just carried over on to here. But i dont see a problem on there with the sub affecting the computer because it is going to be in the trunk if it is even in the back seat it should effect it at all like i said it has to be almost right on top of it.



    That better guys *LOL*




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    no trunk, unfortunatly.....it's going in the ranger, so being near the inverted magnet of the sub between the seats is going to be an issue, but I think we've resolved it. The box we drew up last night will put the hard drive under the driver's seat via a 3ft ribbon cable where it (hopefully) won't be effected by the sub's magnet. This will also provide for the later addition of hard drives incase more memory is needed (i love my mp3's!). The graphics card, sound card, motherboard, DVD-ROM, keyboard/mouse controller, and the USB slots will all mount in a center console fabricated out of fiberglass and MDF. I have a lot of time on my hands this time of year, and need to practice with fiberglass anyway. I'll post pictures when it's finished.



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    GiOdi's Avatar
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    For a sound card I would recomend a SoundBlaster Live!, or the Audigy2 depending on how much you want to spend. Both would do well for a line level output. They have signal to noise ratio of about a 100, the Audigy being better. I have a the Live! 5.1 and I use it to hook up to my home stereo and it's regulary bumpin at parties.




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    I agree with ChefJoe about the length of the IDE cable. While you *can* run a long cable, it's not a good idea, and will at the least cause a lot of error-checking and re-sending of data, which not only slows down the entire system, but also causes a fair bit of hard drive thrashing. The hard drive you have, I'm assuming is operating at 5400rpm. As long as you give it some room to breath (ie. 1-2CM all around), there should be no overheating concerns. If it's running at 7200RPM, you should probably still be ok, but you should definately keep an eye on temperatures during heavy use to see if a cooling fan might be needed, since no other airflow would be available in that location. If it's an older hard drive and is noisy, you may want to consider that factor.

    As far as the magnet from your sub interfering, that can *probably* be resolved simply by using a well-built metal casing that is EMI shielded. This is what most computer cases are now built with to protect them from all sorts of things, including the subwoofers that more and more people have with their computers.

    The inverter won't run your battery dead unless you leave it on for a long time with the engine off (just like any other electrical device). A 350W power supply only draws a small amperage load (I don't have the numbers handy), and shouldn't be a problem. If you have the knowledge and resources, you could rig up a DC-DC supply that would bypass the AC component entirely (computer power supplies convert AC into DC anyway). I don't know of anybody personally who has done this, but I'm sure it's been done by somebody. Of course, this wouldn't be an easy task, but would probably be cheaper than the inverter, and also more efficient.

    If you're not planning to do any games, go to newegg.com and get the cheapest ATI card with S-Video output (I think it's about $40) and use that. Go for the cheap logitech RF wireless keyboard/mouse setup, or if you are willing to spend the money, get one of the newer ATI All-In-Wonder cards that includes a remote. This would make it very convenient to just move through your MP3s or videos.

    As for a sound card, you could use an SB Audigy2, but I think if you're overly concerned with sound quality, check out what M-Audio (www.m-audio.com) has to offer. They have substantially better SQ, and a lot more features. Their Revolution cards are in a similar price range as the Audigy2, and if you can afford it, the Audiophile 2496 is hands-down the best sound card available without spending a ton of money. That being said, for MP3's, an SB Live! will sound the same as the M-Audio Audiophile 2496, because MP3's just aren't nearly as clear as CDs.

    And no, I wouldn't suggest replacing your head unit with a computer-based unit, because there will be times when you don't want to have to boot the PC and use the clunky controls it gives you. Sometimes, you just want to hit play and be done with it.

    Hope this all helped.



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