Instructables
Picture of Building a carputer
**This is my first instructable, so feedback is highly appreciated!**

So, you're a bit cooky and decide that building a PC in your car would be a perfectly normal idea?
Great! you've got all the basics you need! All you need to do now is get creative enough to take the plunge.

My idea originally started with the desire to bring my whole music collection with me when going on holidays, without carrying busloads of CD's or having it all unsorted on a USB-stick (and there is this feeling of immense awesomeness when you tell people you've got a PC built into your car.

My v1.0 was a converted EEEpc (laptop) from which I disconnected the screen, installed a touchscreen overlay and extended some switches and buttons on the laptop itself. Next I hacked it into the main console of my car and was good to go.
While not being perfect it performed the job quite well (from a it-didn't-explode"-point of view).
All in all I think it was a bit of beginners luck that held it all together.

Added problem of having a carpc that is "easily" removable is that thieves tend to smash your window to steal the darn thing... Which is exactly what happened. I was quite shocked that it happened and my first reaction was to drive around for 6 months without a proper audio device in my car. Then I decided to give it another go and make the whole thing more integrated into the car itself.

This whole instructable is written in retrospect after having sold that car and secretly planning to hack the whole thing into my new car. Some pictures will be blurry because they are pictures I already shot and cannot retake. I do not intend this instructable as a step-by-step instruction, they are more guidelines to get you going.

I will focus on the LCD part, because that's the part that requires some real hacking and slashing to make it look good, the rest of the PC is down to wiring.

If any step is unclear, do ask!
 
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jstrong91 month ago
Awesome build. We have done similar installs with Mac Minis and purpose built screens. Those projects cost $1500+ in just materials. We also used a software called Street Deck ,which was a pc based, infotainment software, designed for automotive application. You might check them out if they're still around.
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Pointy, that's really not bad considering most touch receivers are upwards of $600+. I have just acquired a small 10.1 inch laptop (Specifically, Gateway LT2016U (KAV60) Black INTEL ATOM N270@1.60GHz 1GB RAM 160GB HDD 10.1" LED ), used for free.

I am not extremely well versed in the computer world but I really want to convert that into a touch screen car stereo, (with, fm radio, navigation, etc) similar to what you have done with the car PC. It would fit perfectly in my new Ford Ranger, which has a double din stereo area (very dated but I love the truck). Any chance you may be able to help? I would like to wipe the computer and program to fit specs, which is something I am also not well versed in, however, I love electronic projects and I am learning! PM or comment, I would love to chat about it.
Pointy (author)  envirolutionary11 months ago
I would love to help out! You'll learn most stuff alone the way, just like I did. send me a pm (im On mobile now) and we will get in touch!

PC now! The hard part is not making it touch-sensitive. The most work is integrating it neatly into the car. A laptop defenitly is a nice place to start, since you have ample choice of chargers for car use. However there is downside: laptops are less customizable than tiny ITX and so on. You're bound to the length you get when inverting the screen. You need to decouple the screen from the laptop, in order to fit both into the compartment you have available. It comes down to inverting the screen and joing the stuff in such a way that you still have acces to buttons and so on. On a second note you need to extend the powerbutton into en external one. Which involves some tiny solder points. It'll be hit and miss. I will help you as much and where I can, but don't expect a smooth ride when going with an laptop build.

First things first: Does it fit? (read: measure!)
Pointy (author) 11 months ago
I would love to help out! You'll learn most stuff alone the way, just like I did. send me a pm (im On mobile now) and we will get in touch!
Pointy (author) 11 months ago
it set me back about 250.. but i put in a lot of hours. For a new version I world come out much cheaper as I world design the face a lot simpler. at the Time i didnt have access to a hackerspace. I do now which adds heaps of options!
How much did this set you back, if you don't mind me asking?
rblee2 years ago
Why didn't you just use an Android phone? You get GPS, theft protection (yer pocket), phone, and text-to-speech emails and SMSes thrown in as well. It'll even do ODB2 stuff if you get a dongle thingy to go with it.
Pointy (author)  rblee2 years ago
It is illegal to use your phone while driving here.
besides.. Tiny screen, hard to use while driving and generally dangerous.
My carpc had big buttons that were easy to push, there were no loose wires in the car and so on..
rug Pointy2 years ago
Or just a ipad
Pointy (author)  rug2 years ago
I can understand how thats an option for some people.
I found it too costly. Total cost for the system was 250$.

On top of that I get better performance, better sound quality and an integrated system
rug Pointy2 years ago
Ahhh thats understandable, when you said a laptop I was thinking like $400 and then with the other parts a iPad would be cheaper, have you thought of haveing a second screen in a head rest with a USB controller so people can play games, if you are using a laptop you could use the original screen for it
Pointy (author)  rug2 years ago
My first build was a laptop, the second a converted desktop.
2nd screen is kind of useless for my car.. No back seat!
But I do plan to make a HUD on my dash that reflects of the windshield
tinker2342 years ago
very cool what software did you use
Pointy (author)  tinker2342 years ago
It's Centrafuse. Very user friendly, though moderately customizable.
thnaks
That looks kinda like XBMC with a skin I used to have.