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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok here we go.

I have had the truck for less then a month and already have customized it a great deal. From adding Sirius Backseat video for the kids all the way to the latest project I have been working on for the past two weeks, installing a Carputer.

Whats a Carputer? Its a computer in your car. :)

First off if you have not seen my setup yet please CLICK HERE for lots of pictures of everything, this thread will focus on the Carputer.

I purchased almost everything for my Carputer from Mobile Computer Solutions they had a nice package with everything I wanted.

The system I purchased was their top of the line 2.0GHz 20W C7 CPU Model. It has 1 gig of ram, 120 GB hard drive, external slot loading DVD drive, HCQT AM/FM Radio with RDS, Bluetooth, Wifi (with external antenna) GPS receiver, Special 12v Car Power Supply, Lilliput 7 inch touchscreen monitor and Centerfuse XLE software.

The Carputer came in and I spent a good week loading it up with all my MP3's and other software at my office. Then it was time to get it installed in my Ridgeline.

For the initial install I decided for the electrical stuff to be done by the pros so I took it to Jo Di's Sound Center in West Hartford, CT. These guys are the best and were excited to jump into this project.

They mounted the LCD Touchscreen to the right of my built in Navigation system. The ran the wires for it down and behind the trey that is in front of the passengers seat and down through the carpet to the computer. You can't see any wires from the drivers seat or passengers seat.

They also ran the power and USB extension cable for the DVD drive inside the center console. Again I was very happy with the job they did.

The computer slides under the front of the passenger seat and you cant see it unless you look under there for it.

The operating system on the PC is Windows XP Home Edition. The frontend software making it all tick is an amazing software called Centrafuse.

With the computer now booting it was up to me to get all the components working. While I have XM built into the truck I decided that I want all the sound coming through the computer. Luckily I had an old XMPCR unit that I haven't used in over a year. the XMPCR is a black USB Box which lets you listen to XM on your computer. I ran the wires for the satellite antenna, sound output and usb cable to the PC. Going into the Centerfuse I just needed to specify the port that the XMPCR was using and the Centerfuse software did the rest of the work setting up the XMPCR. With a quick call to XM the XMPCR was turned on and I now had live XM Satellite radio in my system.

Next up was getting the HCQT radio to work, one issue there was no documentation other then a wiring diagram which came with the system from Mobile Computer Systems, so it took me awhile to figure out what port the AM/FM radio was on. Once I found it I only got static. I went on ebay and found a mariene AM/FM antenna which is just a long wire. I got it plugged in now and the wire goes around the passengers door (under the weather stripping) Now I can listen to AM/FM although the reception is not the greatest. I need to figure out a way to add a real AM/FM antenna as this antenna is not cutting it. When I have a good enough signal the RDS works great, and I can see the station name and song and artist information.

Next up to get running was the Navigation. Again with no documentation I had to figure out what port the GPS receiver was using. Once I had that set up correctly the GPS started working automatically in Centrafuse. I dont really like the GPS map and software in Centrafuse as it does not let me zoom in on the map as I would like.

In my center compartment I needed an additional 5 volts as the unpowered USB hub that Mobile Computer Solutions sent over wouldn't work with a lot of the things I plugged into it, so I had to go out and buy a powered hub. Once I did this all my issues were taken care of.

I spent a good part of Saturday trying to get the slot loading DVD drive working, if I plug it into the USB the computer sees it and tries installing drivers for it, however there is something wrong with the drive, as I have 5 volts going to it (using the wire sent to me by Mobile Computer Solutions) and I tested it with a volt meter and its receiving the correct voltage so it appears I have a bad drive. I will need to contact Chris from Mobile Computer Solutions to get it replaced soon.

One of the neat things about this setup, is I can take my Cell Phone / PDA which is a Sprint Mogul 6800 and plug it in to the powered hub. Now beside being able to charge my phone I am able to teather my phone to the computer using a great piece of software called PDA Net. Now I have a 1.2Mbps in my car.

This high speed internet connection lets me do all kinds of things, such as check my mail, browse the internet or my favorite, let me watch TV from home using Slingbox software. SO now in my truck at my fingertips I can watch anything from my Dish Network or DirecTV receivers.

I have an IR Remote which lets me move the curser around on the screen, I have not been able to get the number keys on it to enter actual numbers on the computer, if I could get that then I could easily change channels on my satellite receivers at home with the remote. But for now I can see my remote control from my satellite receiver on the screen and can touch the numbers that way.

The unit has WIFI and an external antenna, however I think something is wrong as I can barely pickup wifi signals even if I am sitting on the side of a wifi router. I am thinking that the wire which was soldered to the Wificard was not done correctly, I will need to check that later, although with my cell phone with me I have Internet access anyways.

I couldn't believe how easy the Ridgeline trim and carpet were to work with, its so easy to just pull them off and get to work. In fact one day I had everything ripped apart and was able to get it looking like I wasn't doing anything in less then 10 minutes.

When I get in the car it only takes a few seconds for the PC to boot. When I turn off the car the computer automatically goes into hybernation mode about 30 seconds after turning off the key. Once its done hybernating it turns off the power of the computer.

Audio for everything is fed to the aux jack on the Ridgeline. I currently do not have the Bluetooh setup for my phone as Centrafuse is just coming out with a new version which changes to an improved bluetooth stack. The issue though is that this new bluetooth stack is trial software and stops running after a few minutes of talking. (When the official release of this new Centrafuse is released then the Bluetooh software will be full registered)

BTW I took the video output from my Sirius Backseat Video setup and hooked it up to the video 1 input on the Liliput monitor now my wife can watch the cartoons with the kids if she wants. The monotor has a knob on top of it so its easy for her to move the monitor so that she can view it in the passenger seat.

Anyways on to the pictures!

First the install...

I am very happy with my carputer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
View of the Media Center and the Slingbox software... (Yes folks LIVE Satellite TV in the car (and if you will notice on some of the pics I am actually watching some HD channels LIVE in my car.) :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Finally... more pictures of the Satellite Radio, AMFM Radio interface and yes folks it is running Windows XP.

I will try taking more photos later showing shots of the truck instead of just closeups so you can see how clean this install is now that its done and in addition I want to do some video showing you the system which I will put on Youtube.

And that folks is a Carputer in a 2008 Honda Ridgeline. :D :D
 

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Whoa awesome install. One of these days I'll get off my lazy bum and do something like that. Looks good, well dell!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It was around $1,300 all together. I could have gotten it MUCH cheaper but this one was already put together loaded up ready to go.

This was really a plug and play setup.

I got mine from http://www.mo-co-so.com
However search around another great resource was http://www.mp3car.com they have a forum and a store there as well. You can get a good setup for $600 - $700.
 

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It was around $1,300 all together. I could have gotten it MUCH cheaper but this one was already put together loaded up ready to go.

This was really a plug and play setup.

I got mine from mobile computing solutions - carputer mini itx mini box lilliput jetway mp3car carpc
However search around another great resource was MP3Car.com - Your source for mobile computing solutions! - Home they have a forum and a store there as well. You can get a good setup for $600 - $700.
Thanks... Still a very cool setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I actually have 4 Slingbox units

1 - Slingbox Pro - Connected to Bedroom Dish Network 622 HD DVR, a Fortec Mercury II Free To Air Satellite Receiver, Cox Basic Cable

2 - Slingbox Classic - Connected to DirecTV HR-20 HD DVR, Bell ExpressVu HD DVR.

3 - Slingbox Pro - Connected to Downstairs Dish Network HD 211 Receiver, DirecTV H20 Receiver

4 - Slingbox Classic - Connected to Comcast Cable at work.

That may sound like a lot but my job is running my website which deals with Satellite Television. So I need to be able to access each satelite service so when they make a change or if people start reporting problems I can check them myself no matter where I am at.

The funny thing is for the most part I don't actually WATCH tv, even at home the majority of the time I just listen. So I don't want you guys to think I am driving down the read at 75MPH watching TV, because that is not the case.
 

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That is an awesome set up. What is the case? It looks larger than an Ampie? VoomPC?
 

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I told my wife about this install and the first thing she said was "so what are you going to do?"

I said, what do you mean?

She said, "so what are you going to do" like I have to out do this carputer mod.

I said I'm not doing anything. I don't quite know if I can "one up" this setup and I don't do my mods for any other reason than to make myself happy. One upsmanship has nothing to do with it.

Anyways.....

Alas, It looks like I have been stripped of my "King of the Gizmos title." :(

On the other hand, I think that I just got permission to do a pretty expensive mod. :)

Too bad I just resigned to not do any more modifications to my truck. :(

BTW - What "one ups" this carputer? Retro rockets or something? :eek:
 

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Nice job! I recently installed a carputer in my RL as well (a Mac), link in the sig file...
 

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Very nice. I'm getting ready to start a auto pc project but I going to go the cheap route with a laptop and a LCD touch screen.
 

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Here's some pics of my current setup. I'm using an old dell laptop as my carputer. I'm planning to upgrade later on. Using my Verizon Cell as a broadband modem.

 
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