Thread: Car PC
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#1: 01-15-2007, 07:56 AM
Car PC
 
 f1anatic
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Title: Das Cruise Meister
Location: Chicago
Car: Legacy GT & Forester XP & Jeep GC
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I am gonna try and make this the most authoritative Car PC thread on Legacy GT forums; linking to past attempts and other threads as well as offering advice on how to do one for yourself.

Obviously don't expect my work to be on par with either West Coast Customs or Unique Autosport...Heck not even Car Boutique of Schaumburg, IL but it is reasonable to say I came across most hurdles and since I have done most work myself - I have gained some knowledge. What I have done is neither the best and I hope nor the worst job one could do and like most people, I worked on a budget.

First - if you want in car navigation - the easiest and cheapest way is to get an aftermarket portable navigation: Garmin; Lowrance i-way; Tom-Tom - there's so many of them that you lose track of all those names. Some have big hard drives that allow you to store music, movies; they're portable and easily moved from car to car and certainly is theft-proof since they can be removed from sight whenever you park the car. Maps are easily uphgradeable...and I have not even scratched the surface for the list of advantages. Some disadvantages include usually listening to music/navigation thru an FM transmitter which is a pain in urban areas; small HD; small screen among others.

But what if you are a music buff and have 10 gb of music ? Or perhaps you spend a lot of time in the car that you probably want more from your car - perhaps ability to play DVDs (DANGEROUS) to your kid while driving; watch TV or need a back-up camera ? Perhaps you want to monitor some car parameters? Or you simply hate cables and things hanging from the windshield (which is illegal anyways in some states) ? What then ?

There are always a number of aftermarket manufacturers of extremely good navigation/car entertainment packages: Pioneer; Kenwood; Eclipse; Alpine and many of us have gone that route. They cost about 2000 dollars when done and certainly do the job better than anything else you will ever be able to squeeze in a car.

The alternative to aftermarket navi solutions is building a Car PC which has several advantages:
1) highly customizable (choice software, hardware)
2) ever improvable
3) cheaper to build
4) bling factor ? Think that Windows XP logo in the middle of your dash

I chose a Car PC because I wanted to try some unique features (navi, multimedia, TV, camera, OBD-2) that would have been pretty expensive to implement using the aftermarket infoteinment options available.

There are a few websites as well as a few threads that one should become familiar with, before attempting such a project.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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VENDORS

www.mp3car.com The mothership: will have EVERYTHING from the knowledge database to the hardware and software to purchase.
www.newegg.com For most computer cables, USB hubs, adaptors and everything else in between.
www.xenarc.com Makers of the Xenarc Monitors
www.mini-box.com
Car PC Automotive Computing Solutions
www.logicsupply.com Another great store for your micro computing needs (cases, drives).
www.gnetcanada.com 7 inch motorized VGA in dash display
www.globalsources.com In-dash Panasonic Car LCD Monitor
www.autonode.com 7" 1-DIN In-Dash Motorized VGA LCD Monitor
www.digitalww.com Yet another 7 inch in dash monitor
www.usglobalsat.com USB GPS units
www.tigerdirect.com USB touchpad controllers (also available from Newegg)
www.3dconexion.com Neat Space Navigator controller (to replace the mouse/touchpad) for your Car PC - similar to the I-DRIVE (BMW) or MMI (AUDI) controllers
www.ccstick.com Neat controller like AUDI's MMC or BMW's M-drive button for your Car PC
www.rallitek.com JDM, AVO, Rallitek (call it what you want) Clock Relocation Kit for the 05-06 LGTs

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2005+ Subaru Legacy GT Car PC Projects

Stage3Legacy's install - MP3Car.com Forums

JiMb0's install - Subaru Legacy Forums

foobark's install - Subaru Legacy Forums

NSFW's install - Subaru Legacy Forums

Seberry's install
f1anatic's install

BMac1203's install
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3 Solutions for an AUX input for the 2005-2006 Subaru Legacy GT
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Budget: $,$$$

f1anatic's cost breakdown: $1,000
Quote:
Xenarc 700 TSV touchscreen monitor $400
Toshiba Staellite 3005 (with bad monitor) 1 GHz, 512 Mb RAM; 60 Gb hard drive
$0
BU-353 GPS receiver $80
Front end Software: Centrafuse build 4.5 (c) 2006 $120
Navigation: iGuidance v.3 North America (c) 2006 $0
plenty of USB cables; one long VGA cable; 2 USB Hubs $50
Serial to USB adapter (for OBD-2)
Hauppauge USB TV tuner $0
Carnetix smart startup-shutdown controller $100
Tactrix Open Port for engine monitoring $120
Jazzy MT aux input to the OEM headunit $80
Adesso USB touchpad $50

If the cost is $0 it means I already had the unit or the software purchased prior to starting the CarPC project.


NSFW's cost breakdown $1,500
Quote:
My cost breakdown, to the best of my recollection:

$500 laptop
$400 screen
$250 bezel fabrication
$40 120v inverter (will toss this and use a 12v power supply some day)
$35 auto-on module
$50 (?) for a very long VGA cable (10ft or 12ft I forgot)
$130 for iGuidance software w/ USB GPS
$80 Tactrix OpenPort 1.3 OBD2 cable (no longer available, the 2.0 cable is $130ish)
Plus a couple of USB hubs ($15ish each) and a couple USB extension cables

I am not using the CarPC for music yet, only for GPS and engine monitoring.


You need to budget about 1300 dollars.
- Screen $400
- Computer $500
- Power Inverter $100
- GPS $100
- Software (front end & navigation - together or separately) $200

The prices are just to form an idea. At the time of print (29 December 2008) you can buy a BU-353 GPS from MP3CAR.com for $55
dollars. The screen that most of us have: Xenarc 700TSV is nowadays $365 and the Carnetix Power Inverter precisely $100. Most of us have an older laptop somewhere around or can get either a new one like this EEEPC can be had for as little as 220 dollars on Newegg but you surely can go overboard and spend a lot more. Navigation and front end software is another choice: there is the free Road Runner or the elegant, OEM-like Centrafuse which can be had from 125-250 dollars.

As you can see there is a lot of room for savings or spending when building a CarPC. You can easily overspend but you can certainly do it for 600 dollars. Listed above is just the price of the parts - tools and or custom labor performed by others is a different matter.
I wish you Great Success !
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Miscellaneous Threads here on LGT forums


Factory fit bolt in aftermarket screen, carputer, navi, video - Subaru Legacy Forums

The I just want to see pix of installs thread... - Subaru Legacy Forums

Dual HVAC, Double Din, XM, Back up Camera Finally Finished - Subaru Legacy Forums

How to remove the factory radio - PDF

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I will update this TOC as time allows.



About my system

Xenarc 700 TSV touchscreen monitor
Toshiba Staellite 3005 (with bad monitor) 1 GHz, 512 Mb RAM; 60 Gb hard drive
BU-353 GPS receiver
Front end Software: Centrafuse build 4.5 (c) 2006
Navigation: iGuidance v.3 North America (c) 2006
plenty of USB cables
Serial to USB adapter (for OBD-2)
Hauppauge USB TV tuner
Carnetix smart startup-shutdown controller
Jazzy MT aux input to the OEM headunit
Adesso USB touchpad with programmable buttons


I would like to thank all my forerunners in this field for inspiration and advice: Sebbery; Prelude/Stage3legacy ; Darkforx1; my Father who has lent me his tools and often a helping hand; the helpful people at MP3car.com.






Last edited by f1anatic; 01-08-2009 at 08:32 AM..
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