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Hardware Hacking Portables Transportation Hardware Build

The DIY Car Computer vs. the iPad 202

Julie188 writes "Auto dealers are selling infotainment systems at a nice fat profit, but if you know your way around a motherboard and power supply you can rip out your car stereo and replace it with a do-it-yourself touchscreen PC, complete with DVD, GPS, TV, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, MP3, and Internet surfing. The question is, is that even worth the bother? Or is it better to bolt a mount into the car for an iPad or a Galaxy tablet and call it good?"
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The DIY Car Computer vs. the iPad

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  • Fun? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @04:57PM (#34322972)
    Where is the fun in just buying an iPad?
  • by SuDZ ( 450180 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:05PM (#34323104)

    I think the biggest thing that would stop me from wanting to do a full car PC or not is simple aesthetics. Does it look right? Does it look clean and stock? Am I spending half my commute troubleshooting my radio?

  • obviously.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nblender ( 741424 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:09PM (#34323150)
    When the ipad first came out, this was my first thought... Either give Honda $1800 for the 'entertainment' option, or just buy each kid an ipad so they can watch whatever they want ...

    We still manage to keep our 9 yo sufficiently entertained or interested by talking, playing games, and looking out the window that we haven't felt the need to invest in any 'in-car video' gear... Our longest road trip has only been 8 hours though so who knows.
  • Add-ons (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Andy Smith ( 55346 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:09PM (#34323156)

    "Auto dealers are selling infotainment systems at a nice fat profit"

    You're not kidding. My girlfriend was test-driving a car last week and I asked the dealer how much it would cost to get the satnav option, Keep in mind that the screen is already there (used for the radio and air-conditioning controls) so we're talking about a software switch and possibly some kind of additional antenna. Price? £1,400. Hey Mr Rip-Off Car Dealer, you can: Go. To. Hell.

  • by snookerhog ( 1835110 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:13PM (#34323208)
    A couple years ago, I took apart the stereo of my Volvo V70 to install an aftermarket iPod connection. Volvo unit was much crappier and more expensive, so I got a different one and installed it myself. For some STUPID reason, some of the wiring for the SRS somehow connects through the stereo. So by taking the stereo out to plug in the iPod connector to the CD changer port, I tripped some SRS alarm in the system that told me there was a problem with the Airbag system. The Volvo dealer (who I was obviously trying to avoid) told me that they were required by law to inspect the whole system before they could reset the mysterious sensor that I apparently tripped. They also charged me like $150 for this "service" which obviously negated any DIY savings.
  • by Stregano ( 1285764 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:17PM (#34323268)
    The summary asked a question: "The question is, is that even worth the bother? Or is it better to bolt a mount into the car for an iPad or a Galaxy tablet and call it good?" I thought the answer would be waiting for me, and searched that webpage for a page two or something, but there was not one. I will admit it is a very cool concept, but the article just does not seem to give enough information. It basically says, "Hey, this would be a cool car pc" and then leaves it at that. It gives links at the bottom of the page, but that is it. I guess this article is very confusing to me because it acts like it wants to give you some really good, detailed instructions on doing it (plus when the summary talks about all of the stuff you can put into one, everything just seems like the person will build one), and nothing is built. Did the person that do this make a car pc and was really excited about it and want to share his specs on it or something? I guess I am not seeing a point at all to this article. It shows nothing of interest outside of giving you ideas.

    This is not flaming or trolling, as if there is an article out there that gets posted can do it, I feel I should be able to do it through a comment: A fully automated, wireless house/apartment. I personally thought it was a cool idea to control absolutely everything in your house through a remote control (including turning on the shower to a temp you want and stuff). I personally know how to do most of this stuff. Do you want to know how to do it? Yeah, I'm sure you do, let me give you some links instead.

    You see what I mean. I was amped up to find out what the dude did to make it happen, and was left with links to click on instead
  • Re:Add-ons (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @05:45PM (#34323626)

    Reminds me of something I heard some car manufacturers were thinking about implementing, performance "enhancements". The car would have a software limiter in it that limited it to say 200HP/75MPH, but if you payed them an extra few thousand they would remove it and the car would do 300HP/95MPH (both examples, not hard numbers). I'd rather drive a rustbucket then give into that kind of extortion.

  • Re:Add-ons (Score:2, Interesting)

    by atrain728 ( 1835698 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:12PM (#34324076)
    Isn't that effectively what Intel does with processors?
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday November 23, 2010 @06:44PM (#34324532)
    having built these... I can say that a DIY car computer can do ANYTHING you want. Stuff you couldn't even dream of on an ipad. Can you program the Ipad to start the car? Unlock the doors from your cellphone? I have a truck that I use for rock crawling. I've got sensors that can detect the current angle the trucks leaning and audibly warn me if I'm in danger of rolling. It can read information directly from the cars engine and tell you if somethings wrong. You can install accelerometers to sense impact and call emergency services if you want. You can install wifi, share the drive in your car on your home network so when you walk inside you can download data, upload maps, music, movies... Of course almost all this stuff has to be pieced together, the software's in dozens of different open source beta projects... etc... etc.. But really, in my experience Ipads are for Doctors and Dentists with little to no computer savvy that just want to mount their Ipad in their Prius and show off to their employees.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's