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Car PC


armadaender
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Ok, here's the run down of what I want to do:

I have a pc sitting in my basement back home collecting dust and I want to use it as a car media center pc. Only problem is that the pc's processor is old (approximently 500mhz celeron with 256 mb of ram if I remember correctly) so a version of xp pro corporate probably wouldn't run efficiently on it without much tweaking.

What I'm thinking of is using a distro of linux for the OS but I don't know what one would run well on these limitations and have the necessary codecs (or capable of obtaining) to play wma, mp3, ogg, divx, avi and the basic others. I've tried googling this for quite a while but with no luck. I was thinking Ubuntu because it's so easy to use and update but then again I'm not expert.

If any of you guys and gals have any suggestions/comments/anything that could help and/or words of the wise if you've done such a project before, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you all in advance for your time.

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/me points out problems befor even taking a look at the software

You shouldn't use a normal computer hard drive in a car. It will get easily broken, insted use a laptop hard drive, they are desighned to be running while moving.

How do you intend to power the computer? I know the hiest volltage requiered is 12V so it can easily be run from a card battary. I belive there are power supplie for computers that are specificly desighned to be powered from car battarys. (Google says: http://froogle.google.co.uk/froogle?btnG=S...X+power+supply)

/me starts thinking about the software

You most definitly do not need Windows, and should not use windows. You realy could do with a small touch screen monitor, so you can browse the music avalable and click on one to play it, even though KnoppMyth was desighned with TV/Movie playback in mind, it is still capable of only been used for playing music. Would need a bit of modifying how ever to make the file name readable on a small 6" - 8" monitor.

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You're right in that regard and I have considered what you mentioned as to what kind of hard drive I should use for this project as well as how I'm going to power the unit.

As for the os, I did manage to find knoppmyth mentioned elsewhere and they had agreed that is was good for easy media useage. However that is all, nothing close to people who are using it for mobile media applications as well as what they thought of it nor any problems they've had.

I'll keep looking around, thank you so much Sparda for your time and input.

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tip watch episode 2 of infonomicon pc , (bout car pc ....)

Infonomicon TV Episode 2

The Truck Computer part 1

droops shows what his truck computer looks like before its installed into the truck. this one was a bit premature as the new truck computer is a much better computer, droops is working on part 2, but he needs another alternator and is working on a good way of not destroying the hard drive that's in the new computer. a laptop hard drive would work well, but that's $$$$, so other avenues are being pursued.

u can get it from the archive -> *clicky*

and one of the the packet sniffers episodes deals with it aswell

/me points out problems befor even taking a look at the software

You shouldn't use a normal computer hard drive in a car. It will get easily broken, insted use a laptop hard drive, they are desighned to be running while moving.

How do you intend to power the computer? I know the hiest volltage requiered is 12V so it can easily be run from a card battary. I belive there are power supplie for computers that are specificly desighned to be powered from car battarys. (Google says: http://froogle.google.co.uk/froogle?btnG=S...X+power+supply)

/me starts thinking about the software

You most definitly do not need Windows, and should not use windows. You realy could do with a small touch screen monitor, so you can browse the music avalable and click on one to play it, even though KnoppMyth was desighned with TV/Movie playback in mind, it is still capable of only been used for playing music. Would need a bit of modifying how ever to make the file name readable on a small 6" - 8" monitor.

u can use a converter , and u can use windows tho why would u ?

that bout the little touch screen monitor is exactly wot droops does in the infonomicon tv ep 2 i mentioned above , check it out.

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DLSS - thank you so much for your help. I will be sure to look into your suggestions.

And in terms of powering the unit, I was either going to pick up an inverter as the unit only requires about 100w or get one of those DC-DC power suppliers (can't remember the name of the company). And for the head, a touch screen. I've seen quite a few for around 150 on ebay, ikesound.com, and other places around the web.

Again, thanks everyone for your input.

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I've looked into this a time or two, but because of lack of funds I quit. I'm starting a new job Monday and today I spent most of my time at www.mp3car.com because i'll have money now. They have forums and a store. I don't know if their stuff is expensive or not I haven't checked around to compare, but it's a good place to look around and get ideas.

I've also found this book Car PC Hacks and might pick it up. Read the customer reviews I think it's the 3rd one lists all the chapters. Sounds like it would come in handy when building a CarPc.

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I was thinking of doing something like this for a friend - I don't have a car yet, otherwise I'd go for it and he got bored and abandoned the project...

We came across similar problems - power and display being the main two... for power we were going to use an inverter and for the display we were either going to go headless (a royal pain when you're trying to navigate tracks) or use a small LCD...

Ideas I had for this one may come in somewhere for someone else so I'll mention a couple here:

For the screens, we didn't want to pay loadsa money, so I though about installing the guts of old pocket TVs in the front windscreen visors and possibly in the headrests powered by the ATX PSU and taking video from a TV-Out on the PC's graphics card via an RF modulator and for a more usable screen use a PSOne screen either from the Composite Out on the graphics card or perhaps the VGA hack I'd seen somewhere on the net...

We also considered Text-To-Speech instead of a screen but eventually that proved kinda tedious...

Control was going to be handled by a serial trackpad placed beneath the larger PSOne screen within reach of the driver and front passenger and a keyboard somewhere handy just in case it was needed...

For the OS, I was going to use Windows 98SE - reasonable compatibility, very easy to program for and very very fast on reasonably new hardware...

The GUI for the whole thing was going to be a custom front end (set as Windows shell) written in VB6.0 and this worked/looked great, and being custom I could make it look readable on such small screens... I even added the car logo for the car he was driving at the time :D

Shame it never happened, but I'll be picking up the pieces when I get me a car :)

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The GUI for the whole thing was going to be a custom front end (set as Windows shell) written in VB6.0 and this worked/looked great, and being custom I could make it look readable on such small screens... I even added the car logo for the car he was driving at the time :D

Shame it never happened, but I'll be picking up the pieces when I get me a car :)

So you have written the code for the front end? If so, I would love to take a look at it. I havn't played with VB since high school and I just 'picked up' a copy of 6.0. If you have written it and wouldn't mind me looking at it (I promise not to just take it and run if that's any consolation), my e-mail is armadaskier23@yahoo.com.

I was considering just running a striped down version of xp pro with one of those pre-made media player front ends that can be picked up anywhere on the web but making my own sounds like a fun project.

Here's a kind of tutorial/suggestion for what someone would need for building a carpc, I found it useful as it told of a few more problems that would have to be sorted out (start up times, shut-down/hibernation power usage, etc). http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1858835,00.asp

Thanks to everyone for you time!

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Sadly the code went in a HDD format but it's really not that hard to do :)

I might knock something together to show you the rough idea of what I did when I get a spare minute, I'll PM you or email you about it sometime soon... if I do get round to doing anything with it, the code is yours to do whatever with - providing my code isn't distributed online without credit to me anything code-wise that I post is free for whatever you wanna do with it :)

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I'm interested to know if it would be easy to create some thing similare in Linux. I know there are several GUI desighn tools for like C++ and Python for Linux. However, as well as having the GUI you have to have the code to match when it comes to these languages. Visual Basic is realy very easy.

This is how I think your program worked:

You had the windows media player plugin opened on one window (a hidden window) on the main button you have play, pause and stop and next and so forth as well as a list where all the playable files avalable where. You click on a file and pressed like submit and the program added it to either the play list or it just went stright off and played it. (I'm I close)?

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That's not far wrong :)

I never quite finished it but is was going to be a total solution, so it would've played videos and whatnot too... I might start up devving it again when I get more time :)

Edit: Sparda, gotta love that digital clock sig ;) the amount of times I've actually /thought/ that...

/me must get out more...

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Sorry for getting off topic, but may be you can answer this as my college visual basic teacher cannot.

In VB6 if you had say a text box (text1) on form1 then you had a button on form2. To modifiy what the text box says on form1 when the button on form2 is pressed you would simple put form1.text1.text = "modified text" in the button sub. This how ever no longer how VB .NET works (i'm like wtf?! MS broke most of the standerds they made up to make a more anoying programing language). Can you perhaps give an example (if at all posible) of how to get the same effect from VB .NET?

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Ok, well sriusly, it IS visual basic .NET. My whole class gave Tim (our vb teacher) so much stick after he made us use VB .NET having tought us VB6 last year (although i new VB6 befor last year, but to every one else it was a whole new bunch of bananas). How ever, this year was my first year using VB .NET, and my god, it's only real relation to VB 6 is the first 2/3 of it's name and the sytax style (not the actual sytanx) you know, it still follows the txtName.text = "bla" stuff, but forms can nolonger interact with each other which realy pissed me and every one else off. This makes form switching very messy. (sorry but i'm going to rant on)

ok, well it's not striktly imposible, but it's just anoying how form 'managment' as it can be said has changed. In VB6, if you had a form, you could only have one of that form. in VB .NET you can have multipule instance of the same form and even give it the same name (not sure exacly how you have several forms with the same name but there you go).

Ok, so in VB .NET you no longer just call the form as it where (you know, some thing like Form2.show), you have to create an instance of the form befor you can do any thing with it. This is done by: Dim crapform as new form2, now even though you create a new instance of form2 you will always refer to it as crapform becasue thats what we called it.

Now we have an instance of the form how do we display it (and hide the first form untill it's closed)?

In VB6 this would be easily done by

Form2.show

Me.hide

In VB .NET this doesn't work even slightly. So we have an instance of the form we want to show, to show it and hide the current form untill it's close you have to do

me.hide

crapform.ShowDialog

me.show

.showdialog treats it like a function, once the function has finished, it goes back to the rest of the program.

Now, with this new instance of the form you can modifie things on it from the form that created it's instance (text boxes etc). However, I cannot see how to modifie controls on the calling form. So now it's like a one way patch.

Form1 > Form2

Form1 can modifie all of Form2, but Form2 cannot modifie any of Form1's controls. I visual this as like a hyrarcical structur.

meh, rant on how to handle form switching in VB .NET over :p

Btw: To go back to form1 when Form2 is created and displayed by form1, just close form2.

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Sorry for getting off topic, but may be you can answer this as my college visual basic teacher cannot.

In VB6 if you had say a text box (text1) on form1 then you had a button on form2. To modifiy what the text box says on form1 when the button on form2 is pressed you would simple put form1.text1.text = "modified text" in the button sub. This how ever no longer how VB .NET works (i'm like wtf?! MS broke most of the standerds they made up to make a more anoying programing language). Can you perhaps give an example (if at all posible) of how to get the same effect from VB .NET?

I had a vb.net class over a year ago. Can't remember exactly what you have to do, but I think you need to add a module and have global strings that hold the values of the text boxes. Then you can use them on whatever form you are in. Hope that helps.

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yeah VB1 just about still works on XP but 32bit VB4 and above is prefered...

Ugh, my high school had VB4 for use in our computer programming class (and this was fall of 2002 mind you, cheap bastards wouldn't even buy VB.NET or 6, let alone VB5).

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