Picture of Adding a computer to your car (CarPuter)

a iPhone / Facetime Doorbell security system!

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I did this project several years ago, and posted it on
I have learned alot about carputing and this instructable will be about both the install
and how its been using the carputer these last few years.

This is my 2007 Honda Element, before I attacked it with Soldering iron,
wire cutters, dremel tool and other weapons of mass media

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Step 1: PowerPorts

Picture of PowerPorts
One of the most needed item in any road warrior's arsenal,  is powerports (or if your over 40 they where called "cigarette lighters") so I added two additional ones - one in the dashboard, and one in the center panel. this was actually a easy mod, with me just stealing power from a "only power when ignition is on" line from the car.

Step 2: USB Ports

Picture of USB Ports
The second most important item is USB ports, more and more devices need USB power
and all devices "Talk" to the computer via USB - So I added a Powered USB hub in my glovebox
with a 15' USB cord to my computer.

Step 3: The Front End / GPS System

Picture of The Front End / GPS System
When your driving, you need to keep your eyes on the ROAD.
not on a computer screen, so my front end had big descriptive icons that where easy
to touch, and access, with minimal eye time away from the road

The Buttons: (reading counter clockwise)
Photo library - For showing off pics of the build, etc to passengers
Mac control button (settings / other computer access)
Time and (green button) Wi-fi enabled and joined to a network
Movie player  - Awesome being able to throw a movie on while waiting for my mom shopping!
Car access system (diagnostic computer interface)
Available button for other features (like window control etc)

Step 4: Rear View Camera

Picture of Rear View Camera
I mounted a Back up camera in the rear, so when I put my car in reverse no matter what mode the screen is on, it went to the back up view.
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There are no instructions in this instructable. I find that humorous and cute.

Brendan8023 months ago

How is this an instructable? There's nothing showing us how to do this... it's just some guy showing off. Please remove this.

macgeek (author)  Brendan8023 months ago
Brendan, Of course it's an instructable, I show details of how to build a computer into a car.. Show me YOUR instructable, and out do me, THEN I will remove it.

JimM18 macgeek8 days ago

HHMMM, I see Brendans point. This post is informing us what you did, not how you did it. Check out all the other instructables on this site. They give details as to how it is done, instructing us on the procedures to acomplish such a task. Saying I took it to a professional to get it done is no use to us...

jesterod.7 months ago

i have a question about the popup screen i have been wanting to put a computer in my car and i cant find a pop-up touchscreen than can be used on a computer the only one i found was the thermaltake one and it has been discontinued

Foaly75 years ago
You don't have to make it Mac, do you? I just don't like Mac, so I wanted to know.
macgeek (author)  Foaly75 years ago
now people, lets not get into a pissing contest on mac / PC here.
there is a BE NICE rule in effect, Don't make me have to start deleting comments


Lol... Hey all...

If you BUY an operating system then you are buying into the system that made it....If you get a PC with Windows then your work is owned by Mic if you buy a Macintosh then your work is owned by Mac. If you can't read and change the code you don't own it- you are owned by it.

( Ex:Just try to root your phone)

Linux is made by.. us. You and me... and the code is included.

And.... lol, I'm working on this with an Arduino setup....

lonwel Foaly75 years ago
u crazzy? mac all the way man, sorry i  had like half a dozen pc's go bad in 5 monts so i swear my mac now, they just work, but that's just me, if u like peeling your computer appart every fiftteen minutes to see why it's crashed by all means, i have to ask why you like pc's so much i'm just curious
Foaly7 lonwel5 years ago
I dont know how crazy i am, but you are insane. Macs suck, and I don't care who knows that I think that. Nobody can understand them execpt for superhuman freakish people descended from the first person to ever conceptualize the  Apple/Macintosh company. The software is poorly designed as far as GUI and the user format, and the hardware makes no sense at all. I wonder why the great Microsoft company ever rewrote the Microsoft Office software or Internet Explorer to be Mac-compatible.
Two different systems and require different logic. I use both and they both have pros and cons but for each system you have to forget what you know on either. It's like comparing a drag racer to a speed boat - they are fantastic but require different skills.
Don't dig up the grave of the OS turf war. I use a mac pro for graphic design and video editing; trust me, it does not suck with 8 gigs of RAM. Now hear me out. I also use a PC at school for day to day work. My CNC router is a PC as well. I have realized that Macs don't crash as often as Windows systems. Just calm down please.
Run Linux.
It's not a dead issue, the OS turf war, but I was also angry for having my sanity questioned, I just really like PCs, and now, awhile later, I can stand Macs, but for this particular project I just don't know why it can't be Linux.
Linux all the way!!! more stable then mac and no virus infections. plus absolutely free!!
What distro do you use?
zack247 lonwel4 years ago
i custom built my PC and its NEVER crashed.

'Nuff said.
pfred2 zack2472 years ago
I had a PC burn up on me after 10 years of continuous operation. It had a dodgy power supply. For what a Mac costs I can buy 10 PCs though.
ant_274851 year ago

how did you do the glowing power button?

You2131 year ago
I don't think the front camera and crash idea would work very well because #1 The computer hard drive would be toast unless you had a solid state hard drive and #2 The camera would have to be recording 24/7 because it would be to late for it to start recording during the accident. I would say just don't crash at all(:
Honda Element, ofcourse! Thanks!
HI! Amazing project. keep it up.
eBookLover2 years ago
Greate Work.

How hard is it to remove the covering and bring it back? I think this will never look greate when i remove it in my car.
Holy crap!!!!! That's the EXACT car I'm getting and I'm a mac geek too!!!! Awesome!
vov353 years ago
I'm not sure how you got GPS to work on this?
So far, so good. I've had a 'puter in my ride for going on 13 years now, started way back in the day with a "repurposed" computer & monitor from home (set I'd just upgraded from). Talk about "kludge", this was before LCD's so a big honkin CRT monitor and a huge tower computer...and Bungee Cords EVERYWHERE!

Current setup: 2010 Ford E350 Passenger van:
The current iteration is 1 19" widescreen up front between the driver & passenger seat, directly below that are keyboard & mouse. Mounted to the driver door, placed so the hand falls naturally on it when resting on the door, is a "game pad" (think lots of buttons) with all the most used functions mapped to macros.
In the back are 2 more 19" monitors up high to show the same content as the front monitor, and a 17" touchscreen for the passengers to interact with the system (made, with the assistance of a friend, a touch-friendly interface).
The 'puter sits behind the driver's seat, "strapped" in place with a carrying strap that came with a LanBoy case from Antec years ago. Easy to remove for upgrades, I just "click" it back in place & plug everything back in.
Dude you read that clockwise, not counter-clockwise
bendaniel5 years ago
Very cool but think you missed one major element of instructable projects - the instructions!
 I agree. . . this was a "showable"..
I second the motion.  Or third, as the case may be. 
macgeek (author)  hobomobo5 years ago
any more, and i'm going to get motion sickness.

Foaly74 years ago
How would you make this touchscreen? I think that a touchscreen is all that this needs.
simple. you can buy touch-sensetive flatscreens for PCs. its just a VGA port and a USB port. They come with software. But if you are running a Mac you may want to be sure theyre compatible.
and the reason for not showing us where you put the CPU in the car is. . . ? Dude, there are a lot of places to put it, but its a good idea if you'd tell everyone where exactly you put the computer itself.
Mikey85675 years ago
Ok for those that are concidering putting a computer in the car or want a WiFi hot spot in the car (say you have a bussiness carpool pdas, laptops, email ect, or your a family that has kids with game machines) take a look at this!

No I don't work for them, I am doing a full fledged carputer install, custom dash board, custom couputer, touchscreens in dash 5.1 surround sound the works and wanted to find a perm mount wifi solution with out using those crappy MyFi's or the even worse usb plug in cell doggles. This thing is great and good priced,

It won't phade out like the doggles and is USA baised only (They have been talking about trying in other countries).

Just a thought. And yes I still run around with my laptop using Hot spots untill I get the project compleated.

Either way your setup looks good and nice choice on letting them run the wiring if your not sure, too many hack up wiring harness's and then ask "What happened"

And for a FrontEnd software (the carputer software) check out  thats what I'm running and it's a very nice software for touch screen based systems (you can still use a mouse if you like).
macgeek (author)  Mikey85675 years ago
The price of data, is the same as a MiFi or sprints new device,
the advantages of it being only for your car is very limited.

If I pay $60 a month for Mobile Data, I want it to follow me everywhere
not just in my car, SO I would opt more for a MiFi

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