Introduction: Ram-Mount

About: What do YOU want to know about me? Who are YOU? sells mounts for most if not all vehicles. Oddly, this version that uses your seat bolts to be held in place isn't listed as being available from them. If you serf the web you can find this version for sale by an on line seller but it won't be Ram-Mount. It'll be an on line company that sells Ram-Mount products. I bought mine from Ram-Mount two years ago and it was listed in their on line catalog at that time. Try down loading their catalog. It might be listed there.

Step 1: Get a Mount That Doesn't Need Any Drilling.

This model uses the seat bolts so there is no need to drill holes in your car floor in order to attach the mount base.

Step 2: Extra Cost Option

I paid extra for this swivel adapter. It made adjusting the placement of the mount upright support pole much easier. The pole is firmly pushed against the dash which makes the mount more stable.

Step 3: Hide All of Your Wires.

Run the GPS antenna wires behind the dash. Put the A/C power supply under the seat. Hide as many wires as you can to make every thing as neat and safe as possible.

Step 4: More Versatility More Money.

Here are three more adapters. A VESA mount, the dog bone shaped swivel adapter, and the clamp holding the dog bone shaped swivel. I used these so I can pivot and place the monitor in a better position for me to view the monitor as efficiently as possible. These enable me to swing the table top in a vertical position only its not the table top I'm swiveling but a home monitor.

Step 5: More Combobulation More Money.

Here's a better look at my combobulation using the three optional components.

Step 6: You Better Shop Around.

I originally mounted an HP 15 inch LCD display. It had great spec's and only cost $87.00 at Office Depot. No there was no rebate, it wasn't a close out or a display model. It was simply a great price. The cheapest I could find it on the internet was for $129.00. The moral of this story is to shop around. There are great prices everywhere not just the internet.


Step 7: Make Things Neat.

Use zip ties and a plastic conduit to protect your wires and make everything neat. You can find these at an auto supply store.

Step 8: USB Hub

I used an inexpensive USB hub. The laptop only had two USB ports. I'll be using two GPS USB antennas, a hand held trackball and a keyboard made of silicone. A USB hub with multiple ports was necessary.

Step 9: Shoot the Sky.

Here's an out of focus shot of the two GPS antennas on the dash board with a clear view to the sky.

Step 10: Power It.

I used a 150 watt power inverter to convert 12v DC to 120v AC. It's bolted to the transmission hump. I have electric seats so it wouldn't fit under the seat. This is used to power the laptop along with the home monitor. A digital volt meter was used to see how much voltage was used buy my setup and it was less than a 1/10 of a volt. I don't know how many amps. With everything powered up I can start the car and everything stays on. The power converter squeals but the monitor doesn't cut out. If I had to do this over again I would probably buy a bigger power inverter. Eventually everything stopped staying on when I would start the car so I purchased a new 750 amp hour battery and everything stays on again.

Step 11: Monitor Spec's.

This instructiable is not my original install. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be so I have found it necessary to install a slightly larger LCD display. I'm going from a 15 in. to a 17 in. Here's the box for the 17 in. display. I searched the web for a year looking for a 17 in. display with the same maximum dimensions as my original 15 in. display. The 15 in. HP had two speakers in the fascia the 17 in. Acer does not. The 17 in. is less than an inch wider. The Acer cost $129.99 from TigerDirect. Make sure you get one with great spec's or it wont be readable in sunlight. Look for at least 300 nit's and 800 to 1 (or better) contrast ratio. You can find displays for as little as $89.00, but I have found anything selling for less than $129.00 had poor spec's or was a referb or reman. Don't buy a display with poor spec's or one that had problems. You'll be happier in the long run.

Step 12: Woah, 17 Inches.

The 15 in. HP and the 17 in. Acer face to face.

Step 13: Swap That Mount.

Here's the mount on the HP.

Step 14: Swapped Mount.

Here's the mount moved to the Acer.

Step 15: Wire It Up.

Attach the VGA cable the car.

Step 16: Bundle It Up.

Tame your excess cable behind the monitor.

Step 17:

Fire up the $399.00 Crapway (Gateway) laptop. It's not a piece of you know what because its inexpensive. Its simply a piece of crap and Gateway does nothing to help. They do return your email's with useless information. If you "Google" Gateway notebook won't charge battery, you'll discover they make a large number of laptops (many different models) which won't charge the battery. You would think they could figure out how to eventually get it right. I'll stop burdening you with my troubles.

Step 18: Cover It Up.

Close the lid and cover your laptop with a pillowcase that's the same color of your cars interior. Then put your armrest down on top of that. I live in a city that's known for a greater than average crime rate and in two years I haven't had a break in. I cover the display with a black pillow case. I don't take anything out of the car. I park in the driveway and mall parking lots etc. And like I said I've never suffered a break in. Maybe I'm lucky. Maybe not. If I had to remove this setup every time I left the car I wouldn't do it.

Step 19: Microsoft Streets and Trips

Launch MS S&T 2006 first. It doesn't play nice with others. Plug the GPS USB antenna into its own USB port on your computer. Everything else (USB) can be plugged into your USB hub. If you Google the web to find out the difference from 2006, 07, 08, you'll find out there is no difference. MS S&T 20009 has the same "old" map database but must be authenticated on the internet in 30 days or it will shut down.
What that means is, find an older version at a deep discount. Save yourself some money and a headache.

Step 20: Here Is Streets and Trips

Here's S&T.

Step 21: Shrink S and T

I shrink S and T down to 1/3 of the desktop, on the left.

Step 22: Activate GPS

To activate the GPS, click the red spike in a circle button. This exposes a box that enables you to check off "Start GPS". You also choose at this time to configure the map. At the end of the day when your finished and you exit S and T it remembers nothing. YOU MUST DO THIS EVERY TIME YOU START S&T. Yes, I know I could come up with a little script to do this for me but Windows products are buggy enough. I've seen these scripts on the internet but like I said MS is buggy enough.

Step 23: Start GPS

Start GPS etc.

Step 24: All Set Up

All set up and ready to launch Street Atlas.

Step 25: Launch DeLorme Street Atlas

Launch Street Atlas. Every version of SA is better than the last (what a concept). I recommend buying the latest version. Newer database, more features, more stable. What's wrong with this company. They can't make any money that way. When I can find a deal on SA 2009 I'll take it.

Step 26: Street Atlas

Here's SA on my old monitor. Oops.

Step 27: Shrink SA

Shrink down SA to cover 2/3's of the desktop on the right. Click the options button at the top. You'll be able to configure SA under the GPS Settings Tab. The funny thing about SA is when you exit SA if you choose Save, it remembers all of your settings and uses them the next time it's launched. Maybe Microsoft should pay attention to it's competition. Ok, your asking why am I using S and T if it's so inferior. It does a lot of things poorly but it's a lean mean address finding machine. You can give it a partial address and it'll probably find it.....SA doesn't like partial addresses. If you have the full address including the zip code then SA is all you need. But if you often have a partial address then MS S and T is a must.

Step 28: Gps Settings Tab

Here's what the GPS Settings tab looks like.

Step 29: Side by Side

Here's both programs side by side all set up.

Step 30: At Night

Here's S and T's night time map.

Step 31: Street Atlas at Night

For Delorme SA under the GPS Settings tab choose ...high contrast colors... for night time use.

Step 32: Can't Read at Night.

Both set up for night time use. I find the maps very difficult to read at night but usable if set to a high magnification.

Step 33: Shut Her Down.

Windows is such a pain to shut down, I recommend downloading a little shut down script from the internet.

Step 34: Love Me Love My Trackball.

I use this hand held track ball. Google......hand held track ball....... and you should be able to find one for $10 to $15. It makes program manipulation very, very easy.

Step 35: Yahoo Widgets

These are Yahoo Widgets (Konfabulator Widgets).I like them better than Googles Gadgets. But surf the web and try both.

Step 36: Keyboard

I have three keyboards at my disposal. The laptop's keyboard which I don't use. the on screen keyboard which I can use in an emergency. And this flexible silicone USB keyboard I have glued to a thin piece of fiberboard. I keep it on the floor under the seat. When I need it I simply pick it up and put it on my lap.

Step 37: Cover Her Up.

Here's the way things look with a black pillow case covering the display.

Step 38: Merry Christmas

I'm making this inbstructable in Dec., 2008. So here are some more Yahoo Widgets. Red tinsel, a Christmas globe with how many days left till Christmas, and of coarse a Christmas tree. This is my first instruct able. I hope you have found it useful. Have a Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and yours.