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Am considering new project to put a mini ITX computer onto rear bulkhead and replace my existing MUD console with a Lilliput 7" touchscreen LCD monitor. I will have to relocate all the stuff from the console but that is perhaps (?) the easier part - thinking of a pod to go where the ash tray is. Will probably dispense with the current radio/CD player since should be able to access functions through the PC. The main idea will be to run mapping software and also hopefully satnav for on and off road, data modes for radio and also, assuming I get a 3G dongle, keeping up with everything going on. A bonus would even be to put a webcam at the back as a parking aid!

Looking at a regulated DC supply direct (fused) from car battery using an M2-ATX board. I am hoping to be able to hard wire the screen into a suitably fused feed at the dash.

It has been suggested this is a more robust route than using a netbook.

Am interested to know if others have done this before and if so any gotchas to be aware of. I am slightly nervous that mounting on the bulkhead might give too much vibration but am hoping if I use silicone mountings for the hard drive then I should be OK.

So any thoughts or pointers would be very much appreciated

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I am slightly nervous that mounting on the bulkhead might give too much vibration but am hoping if I use silicone mountings for the hard drive then I should be OK.

The hard disk is really the only part that will be effected by vibration.

The 2.5" laptop drives are pretty rugged but if you are at all worried, you can always spend a little more and get a solid state hard disk.

You will also see a slight increase in performance.

for a power supply, I'd recommend the ones available from here:

http://www.mo-co-so.com/category-s/56.htm

The shipping is a bit more than buying locally but I can personally vouch for how good these units are.

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I looked into this, even had a Car PC bought and ready, but decided against it for a number of reasons. Don't want to put you off, but bear these in mind:

  • Defender not the most secure vehicle in the world
  • Vibrations kill non-SSD hard drives eventually. Laptop ones are better, but a Land Rover creates more knocks than the average car
  • Depending on intended usage, considerations would need to be made as to waterproofing, while allowing for ventilation
  • Vehicle usage pattern, I decided that since (at the time) 90% of my journeys are to work (5 mins away) the PC would be barely booted up by the time I got there

If I was to do it now, in an off-roader, I would mount the PC unit itself somewhere high up, either on the bulkhead behind the seats or even in the top of the dash. Should keep most of the water off it that way. I have a USB FM radio receiver somewhere, left over from my Car PC days, which I soldered an ISO aerial connector on to. With the relevant software (Centrafuse was the front end I was looking at) you should be able to pick up radio easily.

I admit it would be cool to have Memory Map/other nav software in a built-in screen in the dash, but a laptop running off an inverter works perfectly well if not quite as convenient, and you can take it out afterwards.

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I've had mine ftted for 6 years and not killed a HD yet, which is a shame as its only 20GB.

Valid point about short journeys, I don't use the PC on my 7 mile commute to work, the radio does just fine. When I need mapping, like on a longer journey or greenlaning, the boot time isn't an issue. You can shave it down quite easily too.

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Completely forgot, for £250 off eBay you can just have everything in one box ready to go:

eonon0.jpg

eonon1.jpg

OK it's a bit of frigging to install OziExplorer on it (but it's quite doable as they're WinCE) but everything else stacks up beautifully. The double-din ones are even cheaperer.

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i've had one inside my 90 before. i removed it when i was having problems with my battery, but it's another story.

anyway, i've killed a disk even while driving on normal roads. perhaps my suspension is a lil too hard.

anyway, the modern power supply will do a auto shutdown and powerup upon cranking and key out. very nice to have, especially when you need to jump out and run to a meeting or so.

good to have it off an aux battery as i had once drained the battery after watching movies for half a day and had to get the wife to help me push the landie. ha ha.

you can really tweak xp to load with lightning speed if you have time to tinker or use nlite to help you.

you also can skin your pc to look like rangie's display, you can use riderunner

garmin mobile pc can be intergated to give a 'seemless' look to your skin.

toss in wifi and a mobile broadband router will also allow you to connect you ipod touch to surf the net so that the wife/gf doesn't get board on long trips.

been there done it. it's sure a lot of work to get it nice. but it's well worth it if you have the time!

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I've been considering one for the car for a while.

The trickiest bit imo is the display. Finding a GOOD touchscreen thats sunlight readable and has a decent resolution isnt easy or cheap. I really wanted a pop-out single din screen, but they just dont exist with the above features. Our cars dash doesnt really have room to fit a full size screen, without finding a later double din console. This would clearly be easier in a landy though.

As above you can get PSU modules that will boot the PC as soon as you start the motor, and you can have windows booting inside 30seconds even on a lowly laptop hard disk. Laptop drives are pretty resiliant too, and arent particularly expensive on ebay if you pick up some older low capacity ones.

Security is a concern, but a touchscreen embedded into a raptor console or similar really wouldnt be that noticable. Certainly less so than a blingy head unit.

SSD's are expensive, however you can get adaptors for common Compact Flash cards which allows you to use them as a hard disk, and while not as fast as a real SSD, should still be quick enough for the indended purpose.

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There are several forums out there giving good advice on car pc's. You will have to put up with swearing though!

The challenge of Defender versus say an Astra VXR is the harsh environment, bumpy, damp and lack of security.

Buy a 2nd hand toughbook and spend the rest of your money properly!!! (beer, women, big tyres, auto boxes, roll cages, the list goes on....)

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