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The DIY Car Computer vs. the iPad

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the easy-way dept.

Hardware Hacking 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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there is something called voiding a warranty (2, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34322960)

most people who buy cars like to keep their warranty

and what about cost vs a $500 iPad?

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323020)

how the hell does replacing the radio void the warranty?

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (5, Interesting)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323872)

Volvo stereos are deeply integrated into the car system. My 2007 S80's stereo display and buttons are also used for informational display (park assist, climate control) and for accessing the car menu system.

I had the dealer add the Volvo iPod connector* and it was pretty insane what had to be done to make it work (download software into main computer to authorize iPod connector on car computer bus, along with a patch for my specific VIN series). I don't think you could replace the stereo on this car at all without fucking the car to the point where it wouldn't run.

I have the Dynaudio package and while I wouldn't want another stereo from a sound perspective, I wouldn't mind a touchscreen display instead with GPS and better iPod menu navigation.

* I think the iPod integration is better with '07 and up models. While it isn't cheap, I get complete song/artist/playlist navigation on-screen. There is some brain damage (navigation is slow, browsing to an artist and then album and then playing a song "resets" browsing back to the top of the hierarchy, which makes song-surfing frustrating). But it beats the crap out of the "integration" I've seen on a late-model Mercedes CLK230.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (2, Informative)

eric2hill (33085) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323886)

Looks like you may have changed the stereo out before disconnecting power [volvo-forums.com] which is a Bad Idea (TM) when installing new car stereos. Agreed that it's stupid to require a dealer visit to reset a light, though.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323038)

Car companies have to be able to prove that any modification you made directly lead to the failure of any part before they can deny warranty coverage.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323336)

If they even think (or just want to be dick heads) your modification lead to a failure they can deny warranty coverage for that particular problem. If you can convince a court or arbitrators that your widget didn't cause the problem, then they will cover the repair of their failed part.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323054)

Since when does installing audio/video equipment (stereo/CD/DVD/etc) void a car's warranty?

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323070)

Your warranty won't be voided by removing the radio system.

At least, not the important parts, like your transmission or the engine. So you lose the warranty on the radio, you weren't planning to use it anyway.

Check the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323414)

Check the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

This. We had a couple copies of it in our waiting room back when I was an auto tech. We also had the portions most people would be interested in hanging on the wall, printed up on a 36"x24" poster.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

cawpin (875453) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324196)

This needs to be rated higher than the parent post. THIS ONE is correct, the parent is not. Only the parts you remove or modify lose their warranty coverage, nothing else.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323410)

most people also like to have cars that don't have a "please steal me" on the inside in the form of a giant touchscreen.

So yes, an ipad or a galaxy tab is probably a much better option.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (2, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323628)

most people who buy cars like to keep their warranty

Back in 1975, when congress was owned by a wider variety of corporations, they passed the Magnuson-Moss Act [impalaclub.com] to prevent exactly those kinds of shenanigans.

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323780)

My car's stereo head unit cost about the same as an iPad, but only has a 7" resistive touchscreen.. of course it does have nicer sound quality and EQ options than an iPad..

Re:there is something called voiding a warranty (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324138)

OMG YOUR RIGHT! I Just got chrome rims my warenty is ruined! ;-)

Fun? (4, Interesting)

0racle (667029) | more than 3 years ago | (#34322972)

Where is the fun in just buying an iPad?

Same day use? (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323080)

Where is the fun in just buying an iPad?

When you can use video, music, and applications on it directly the same day of purchase?

If assembling the computer is fun for you then by all means that is part of the fun... but for most people the "Fun" part enters in when they start listening to music.

Re:Same day use? (2, Insightful)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323432)

For 'most' people who read Slashdot I would wager half the fun is building it, the other half is the bragging rights to having built it, and the remainder is towards actually using it.

And no I didn't make a math error in the above statement.

Re:Same day use? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324240)

For 'most' people who read Slashdot I would wager half the fun is building it, the other half is the bragging rights to having built it, and the remainder is towards actually using it.

I can't help noting the number of digits in your ID, and have to note that was true about three years ago... I don't think so any longer.

Re:Fun? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323086)

I have yet to figure that out

It depends. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34322986)

It depends. Do you want a patchwork solution (mount for ipad) or an integrated solution (computer with in-dash touchscreen)?

Depends on the use case you are going after (3, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323032)

Can it play regular CDs or DVDs? Can you easily plug a thumb drive into it or otherwise upload additional information without needing a fast network connection or another computer running inside the car? There are lots of things tablets *don't* do well yet. Cellphone docks for cars have been around a long time, they probably do everything you want (except having an extra large screen) and have the added benefit of being more portable (trust me you really don't want to leave your ipad inside your car unless your car never leaves your garage)...

So not surprisingly, the iPad/Galaxy Tab are nice (as are car computers, and traditional stereos) but it's all up to the user to say what's important and what's not.

Re:Depends on the use case you are going after (4, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323652)

Can it play regular CDs or DVDs?

use physical media inside the car? I bet you have one of those cars with the hand crank in the front to start it as well.

Re:Depends on the use case you are going after (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323684)

Cellphone docks? Are they still being installed? Buy a new phone and you need to reinstall it. Just use Bluetooth.

Re:Depends on the use case you are going after (1)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323694)

Can it play regular CDs or DVDs?

Why would you want to? Ripping legacy CDs and DVDs is easier than lugging them around.

Can you easily plug a thumb drive into it

Why would you want to? I've already got much of my music library on my iPad. If I want/need different songs I can always sync different genius mixes before I go to bed.

As for video, shows (or iTunes U) I've already watched are deleted automatically after I watch them, allowing me to keep up with lots of video without having to put in much work (other than subscribing).

Don't give end users forks. They will invariably stick them in their eyes, blame you for the pain and demand that you find a way to make it feel like rainbows and sunshine.

Why not... (1, Flamebait)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323058)

just pay attention to the road, and drive?

(Although, I suppose many Slashdotters sit in their car in the driveway for a change of scenery from the basement in their parents house, so maybe the article is apropos)

Re:Why not... (4, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323290)

just pay attention to the road, and drive?

The computer is a handy distraction for my wife, who would otherwise criticize my abilities as a driver despite not having a license herself. If she can instead distract herself with a game and let me drive in peace, then having an in-dash computer is better for my marriage.

Re:Why not... (1)

Hittman (81760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323366)

In the passenger seat my wife ceases being a friend and a lover and a wife and is magically transformed into a driver ed instructor. After many, shall we say, disagreements, we found a solution. Unless she's tired enough to take a nap, she drives whenever we go anywhere.

Re:Why not... (1, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323404)

So your wife is a harping shrew who complains until she gets her way, and you just sit quietly and wait for the tantrums to end. Go turn in your Man Card, immediately.

Re:Why not... (1)

dgower2 (1487929) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323606)

LMAO! One of the funniest posts I've seen here. "Man card"! HAHAHA

Re:Why not... (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323710)

So your wife is a harping shrew who complains until she gets her way, and you just sit quietly and wait for the tantrums to end. Go turn in your Man Card, immediately.

In this case, the man won the fight. She just doesn't know it. Look at the end result and who is now doing all the work.

Re:Why not... (0, Troll)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323478)

The last time my wife pissed me off by playing the driver's ed instructor, I just pulled over, pulled the keys out of the ignition, and dropped them in her lap. I then got out of the car, walked over to her side, and opened the door for her like a gentleman.

If you want it done your way, do it yourself. Life isn't Burger King.

Re:Why not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323580)

How was the couch?

Re:Why not... (1)

Nocuous (1567933) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323724)

How well did you do in the separation agreement?
"Formal courtesy between husband and wife is even more important than it is between strangers." - RAH
Even that old sexist got a few of them right.

Re:Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323528)

Another distraction for her would be to drive stick.

While you drive the car.

Re:Why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323550)

.The computer is a handy distraction for my wife, who would otherwise criticize my abilities as a driver despite not having a license herself.

That's why God gave you five knuckles on your right hand.

Believe it or not... (1, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323576)

...but I like being married, and not being in jail for being a fucking wife-beater.

It's also a nice place to sleep (3, Funny)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323314)

if SWMBO did not appreciate the latest expensive toys you just purchased.

Re:It's also a nice place to sleep (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323400)

Saucy Waif Man BOy?
Seriously Wicked Mad Barack Obama?

Re:It's also a nice place to sleep (5, Informative)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323508)

She Who Must Be Obeyed.

She Who Must Be Obeyed (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323678)

That's the term that Rumpole used to describe his matrimonial arrangement.

That's also mine...

My wife and I never disagree. Its always "Yes Dear!"

The thing we put up with for the chance to sleep with an ex-gymnast ... who can put her legs behind her head ... and can hold her breath for two minutes ... Uh see you guys. I'm got to go check what SWMBO is doing. :-)

Re:Why not... (2, Funny)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324184)

That's boring, think of all the stuff you could do while...

hold on, I gotta change lanes...

Where is my Android powered headunit? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323084)

I can currently stream music over bluetooth/usb but I'd really enjoy an Android powered headunit with a nice interface and high quality sound. I'm a little surprised the big guys like Pioneer are putting so much effort into their own interfaces.

Re:Where is my Android powered headunit? (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323294)

I have a Archos 5 Internet Tablet velcroed above the factory head unit hooked up via the Aux In port. Music, videos, games, GPS navigation, wifi, and hot swappable microSD card slot. About the only thing that sucks is the GPS software since most Android GPS programs rely on the cell data connection to retrieve maps, so I had to settle for the GPS program provided by Archos that installs to the internal storage (which is pretty much shit).

How clean does it look (2, Interesting)

SuDZ (450180) | more than 3 years ago | (#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?

Theft (3, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323110)

I really wouldn't want to leave an iPad or anything like it in my car. If the unit looks flush and well protected by the dash, there's a much better chance that thieves won't want to dig into it. Does a stereo slot support 9-10"? I doubt it. Does it look like an iPad when a tief looks through your window? If so, expect a big broken window. Any extra cost for a manufacturer's integration is a lot better than having to constantly remove the unit from my car whenever I park my car in public.

At least with a self-built unit, you can make it look like its a manufacturer's unit, but you also need a way of syncing and updating the unit in a way that is simple and straight forward.

Re:Theft (2, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323316)

Does it look like an iPad when a tief looks through your window?

Just put a Gateway 2000 sticker on it.

Re:Theft (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323548)

And a "Windows ME" sticker next to the Gateway one.

Re:Theft (2, Funny)

ebuck (585470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324236)

Just put a Gateway 2000 sticker on it.

And a "Windows ME" sticker next to the Gateway one.

I guess you don't care about your vehicle's resale value.

Re:Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34324214)

In his post at the top of the screen Insert witty name here linked to a video of a guy velcroing his Ipad. The launch page for that video has another one of a new Scoche dash mounted Ipad holder charger and audio in jack which I assume is supposed to link in with the wiring behind the console. It's cool but there's no way you would catch me with one of those. Just an invitation to have my car broken into. Shoehornjob

CarPC = huge time waster (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323118)

Totally. I was about to go down the CarPC road (so to speak) when I bought my Droid phone last year. This thing does 90% of what I wanted in a CarPC and it only took 20 minutes to install a good mount plus a hardwired switched power line to an extra slot in the fuse box. Done. Now I have turn by turn nav, maps, voice recognition, internet, Slacker Radio, normal radio (streaming but can get local channels if I want), books via text to speech, and on and on.

Sure the CarPC can be fun as a hobby, but I know lots of guys who've spent hundreds of hours trying to get their crap to work half as good as my phone does.

Of course it's worth the bother! (3, Insightful)

Slutticus (1237534) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323130)

'cause if there's one thing I need, it's the ability to check my facebook account in addition to checking email on my blackberry, fiddling with my radio, arguing with my wife and entering coordinates into my GPS.
While driving. Down the freeway at 80mi/hr.

Re:Of course it's worth the bother! (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323258)

"'cause if there's one thing I need, it's the ability to check my facebook account in addition to checking email on my blackberry, fiddling with my radio, arguing with my wife and entering coordinates into my GPS.

While driving. Down the freeway at 80mi/hr."

Hey, and don't forget you can NOT spill your beer while doing this ALL st the same time!!

Re:Of course it's worth the bother! (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323570)

And threatening the kids to turn around while eating his Quadruple Whopper during whiteout conditions in a snow storm tailgating a semi looking for the next opportunity to pass.

Re:Of course it's worth the bother! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323976)

Keep in mind, you're doing all these things... while on the LA Freeway.

Re:Of course it's worth the bother! (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323484)

cause if there's one thing I need, it's the ability to check my facebook account in addition to checking email on my blackberry, fiddling with my radio, arguing with my wife and entering coordinates into my GPS.

And in Hell, you fiddle with your GPS, check email with your radio, argue with your Blackberry and enter coordinates into your wife!

(rimshot)

Hey-yo!

(crickets)

obviously.... (2, Interesting)

nblender (741424) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:obviously.... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323196)

As a bonus the first time you come to a hard stop or get in an accident your children can be killed or maimed by the flying ipads.

If you do decide to get one, make sure you get something to hold it to the seatback.

Re:obviously.... (2, Insightful)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323416)

True, but is this a worse risk than the knitting needles my 8-year-old uses while knitting to pass the time on our long drives, or the books she reads, or the sets of sharpened pencils, or any of the other activities she has? Anything loose in a car that is either pointy or heavy can become a deadly projectile in an accident. And, yet, we still keep loose items in cars. I don't see the iPad as any more risky than a hardcover copy of McClosky's "One Morning In Maine". It weighs about the same and has the same basic shape.

In fact, from a safety perspective, my daughter's seat area is FULL of loose objects on any long drive, so she can have several activities handy to keep her busy. On the other hand, an iPad would probably provide her many hours of entertainment for the risk of a single loose object, and she'd probably be happy enough with an iPod that weighs just a few ounces.

But I'll stick with the creative activities for her, even so.

Add-ons (2, Interesting)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Add-ons (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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 (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323824)

Why the hell would you need 200bhp to go at 75mph?

Re:Add-ons (2, Interesting)

atrain728 (1835698) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324076)

Isn't that effectively what Intel does with processors?

Re:Add-ons (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323856)

Oh, I get it, the software + satnav receiver are actually free, 'cause you know, producing software costs nothing.

Personally (2, Insightful)

SteeldrivingJon (842919) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323182)

I grew out of my building-PCs stage. If I'm not going to do that, i'm certainly not going to do the equivalent, PLUS crawling around on my knees bent under a dashboard, dealing with the joy of automotive proprietary wire harnesses and similar.

Throw an iPhone on the dashboard. No interest in an iPad. I don't watch TV, and barely watch movies. I'm not so media-addicted that i can't handle merely listening to audio in the car.

CarPC (4, Insightful)

Oceanplexian (807998) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323236)

The iPad is neat but not even close to being a decent CarPC for several reasons

1) Glossy LCD Screen makes it impossible to read in a car

2) Lack of a tactile interface

3) Tiny, internal GPS can't connect with an external GPS antenna

4) Lack of XM radio integration (Not everywhere has 3G)

5) Audio quality is mediocre when compared to a discrete sound card

6) The screen is huge. Most cars don't have that kind of room in the dashboard without serious modification

7) The interface, while intuitive, is not great in a car environment. I want to see MPG, the song playing, distance to destination, and more on a single dashboard screen

8) It's easy to steal if you make it removable

Re:CarPC (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323692)

One of the new Nokia tablets might be a better choice.
They do have a smaller screen.
They are a lot more hackable. You could create a "dock" with real buttons to add your tactile feed back.
You can write your own custom interface.
Many of the same features can be had with one of the new Dell "too big to be phone" phones. Like the Dell streak.
Problem with that is that it is locked to AT&T.

Obligatory : Will It Run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323250)

Windows Unix 1.0 ?

Yours In Orlando,
Kilgore Trout

How distracted do you want to be? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323256)

There are times when having actual dials and tactile controls is valuable. I can adjust the station and volume on my car stereo without looking at the deck which is considerably safer than having to take my eyes off the road to find the right button on an all-touch interface.

Article not answering the question presented (3, Interesting)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#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

The ultimate in auto entertainment systems (2, Funny)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323274)

is "Fully Loaded" [bookofjoe.com] , by Bruce McCall.

(This is one of Bruce McCall's many drawings of dream cars of the 1959s that should have been.)

Re:The ultimate in auto entertainment systems (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323492)

Looks like a southpark character on the laptop lol

Re:The ultimate in auto entertainment systems (1)

Wook Man (79498) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324048)

Uh huh. This guy managed to predict EXACTLY what a laptop looks like, and South Park.

Depends, obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323286)

My cars dash doesn't have anywhere to put any sort of device mount, without it looking retarded. In some vehicles, it'd look fine, or even like it belongs, but not mine. Anything non-stock sticks out like a sore thumb.

I also do not wish to carry my iPad everywhere, nor leave it or it's mount, in plain view on the streets of baltimore. Just having the mount in view - or the suction cup marks on your windshield - will get your window smashed, because thieves arent stupid, they know the iPad/GPS/iPhone/etc is likely nearby in the glovebox, under the seat, or in the trunk.

Speaking of GPS, the iPad is not one. It should be, it'd make an awesome nav aid, but that's another argument.

So I opted for the in-dash dvd/gps/mp3 unit. Originally I was going to hack the GPS cable to wire a carputer, since it's just a VGA and serial pairs for the mouse/touchscreen, but IRL, it does everything I want out of the box, and looks like it belongs there, and I have enough shit to do anyways.

Just give me a couple of powered USB ports (4, Insightful)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323296)

I don't use the CD Changer anymore. I plug in my iPod or iPhone. I don't have a GPS system because the navigation system on my iPhone works well. I don't watch DVD's while driving and I don't have young kids, but if I did, I'd give them iPads or iPod Touches instead and they could watch or play or whatever. All this stuff works whether it is my car, a friends car or a rental car. It also works when I'm not in a car. Why would I want to pay for something like that if its bolted into a car? Hell I watch all of my video on my iPad or my computer so our TV is gathering dust. So many of the previous generation of entertainment devices are now obsolete. It's funny.

Re:Just give me a couple of powered USB ports (1)

ChefInnocent (667809) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323662)

I don't use the CD Changer. I sing. I don't have a GPS system because I know where I'm at and where I'm going before I leave the house. If I don't know where I'm going, then I don't want to know. I don't watch DVD's while driving, the mountains, stars, and bad drivers are entertaining enough. All this stuff works whether it is my car, a friends car, or a rental car. It also works when I'm not in a car, but I don't get to watch the bad drivers. Why would I want to pay for something like that if it's bolted into a car? I'd be dead since they would likely bolt by larynx first, and I'd bleed to death. So many of the previous generations of entertainment are still viable, but only if your not ADHD.

Re:Just give me a couple of powered USB ports (1)

mdielmann (514750) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324146)

I don't watch DVD's while driving, the mountains, stars, and bad drivers are entertaining enough.

I have nothing but trouble seeing the mountains and stars while I'm driving, but I'm sure trying improves my driving. I suppose that means I'm one of your sources of entertainment!

Just use a smartphone, silly... (1)

DomNF15 (1529309) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323300)

They are about as powerful as the small form factor mobo-cpu combos that are available for these types of projects anyway. You can get most of the functions you want/need (phone, bluetooth, music, movies, GPS) with the exception of controlling the HVAC. And as a bonus you can take it with you and use it the rest of the time you are *not* in your car. Trust me, I looked into doing this for my 2005 Subaru Impreza, the DIN slot was the right size and everything, but it was completely not worth the time/effort. Some other guy had already done it so I even had steps to follow, but to get it to look right, he had to get some plastic custom fabbed from a machine shop. If you're planning on doing the car-puter for any purpose other than fun/hobby, you're wasting your time.

Already on it (2, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323302)

http://www.steering-wheel-ipad.com/ [steering-wheel-ipad.com]

And it won't void your warrenty!

.

Re:Already on it (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323374)

I cannot tell if this is a joke or not...

Re:Already on it (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323504)

It allows the iPad to decapitate you in the case of an airbag release. This way you do not feel anything after the accident.

Re:Already on it (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323470)

best solution.

mostly, wait for other idiots using it and nick the ipad after they crash.

(assuming the ipad's in good condition after the wreck.)

Re:Already on it (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323798)

It probably will be. It's mounted over the airbag and is mounted in such a way that it'll probably impact the driver edge-on, which means the first thing it encounters will be soft tissue, the narrow profile at impact ensures a clean entry into the soft tissue, and the precious glass screen will probably not be the area of initial impact. If it's a clean headshot, the unit might be slightly banged up from passing through the skull, but it's unlikely to have been seriously damaged even so. With any luck at all, the unit will simply pass through the cranium and land safely in the back seat, so you don't need to actually watch the life leave the driver's eyes as you thank them for the loot. You can just mumble some vague thanks, it's the polite thing to do.

About your only real risk is moisture damage from the blood and brains that will no doubt be covering the unit. Get to it quickly and use the person's shirt or the car's upholstery to wipe the worst of it off, and it should be good to go!

Re:Already on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323592)

love the patent link.....duct tape....lol

In theory, theory and practice are the same (1)

Fry-kun (619632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323306)

2 major problems with using iPad as a car pc (off the top of my head, mind you)

* glare -- HUGE problem when you're in daylight and you've got light coming in from every window. And if the sun hits the screen directly... have fun!
* no extensibility -- no CD/tape/radio. Forget sat radio. No higher quality GPS or any other upgrades. True, you don't get extreme flexibility with pre-built car pcs, but they're still upgradeable to an extent..

Re:In theory, theory and practice are the same (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324018)

- no CD/tape/radio.

It's 2010. Where are you buying prerecorded cassettes now?

Or, the question asked by those born in the '90s: "What is tape?"

STiPad (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323386)

Friend of mine decided to tackle the iPad in a car problem, this is what he came up with.

If I had an STi I'd be all over his solution [mp3car.com] .

And while are you playing with all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323398)

and smash in to another car, pedestrian, cyclists, etc. will you wonder wtf you were doing with an entertainment system in your car?

Knight Rider (2, Funny)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323450)

If I can't convince my passengers that KITT is in the car with them, it's not worth doing.

ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323486)

try reading a book -

Can't replace my factory stereo ('07 Volvo S80) (1)

swb (14022) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323568)

The car stereo is deeply integrated into the car; the stereo display shows the climate control settings as well as being the interface to the car's menu system which changes features of the car (door lock behavior, etc).

The computer network in this car is also fairly complicated and interfaces with pretty much everything. I can't even begin to imagine the clusterfuck that would be involved in replacing it outright and replacing it. You'd completely lose the ability change car settings and possibly fuck the computer network to the point where the car wouldn't run at all.

Now I can see how you could add a completely seperate stereo system and maybe wire it into the existing speaker system, but I can't see the value add in this.

Temperatue is a big issue in cars (1)

aceboomblain (830620) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323742)

Automotive standards require things like radios / CD players / etc to operate at a much wider set of temperatures and for much longer than consumer grade stuff. So while DIY Car PCs may be fun for the hobbyist, you may find yourself going thru hard drives or CPUs much quicker than in a PC meant for the office or living room.

iPad all the way (1)

gbr (31010) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323754)

I swapped out my carpc for an iPad. All I needed it for was music (mp3) and GPS. I love it. I modified a couple of cell phone mounts to hold the iPad, and it easily comes with me when I leave the car.

Waiting (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323796)

I want a carputer. But I drive a soft top Jeep with doors that do not lock, so that is out.
I looked at the iPad as a possible solution, but just was not right for what I wanted. (Locked down, glossy screen.)
Android. Maybe, but not right now.
Microsoft. MS has no place in my car.
I came to the conclusion what I really want is a Windows 7 tablet; wiped out, and reinstalled with Linux.
So hurry up and fail with the Windows 7 tablets already. I can hardly wait to pick one up from the clearance bin.

Forgetting about the men in blue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34323812)

You miss the obvious. Making your DIY system will get you hundreds of dollars in tickets if you live in one of the many cities/states where it is illegal to have a system capable of playing back video and visible to the driver that is not hardwired to be disengaged while the vehicle is in motion.

Gaaaaa! (1)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323862)

.....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.

How 'bout ripping out the driver and replacing him/her with someone who will pay attention to THE ROAD and not video, chitchat, texting or surfing the Web? That would be a worthwhile modification.

Please, folks, stop this incessant and increasingly ridiculous "multi-tasking" behind the wheel. 99% of those who say they can do it safely, can't. They just think they can (primarily because their definition of "safe" is "I haven't had an accident.....yet"). Save the rest of that shit for when you get to your destination. If you can't live without being connected to the hive for the length of your commute, stay home.

What do you use the computer for? (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34323910)

Most likely it is for listening to radio and music. 2-3 years ago I bought a new car radio that reads SD cards, CD roms, (wav, mp3 and ogg). Connecting USB devices is no problem and I also have Bluetooth. Oh and the traffic anouncements. This costs me 110EUR. I even got a remote to use it, which is silly, as stretching my arm is easier then finding the remote.

So what did I not get: Touchscreen. Not really missing that. In fact I like the buttons, so I can 'feel' where I am pressing while driving. No Internet. Not really an issue either. No GPS. That is about the only thing I miss, so I had to buy that extra for 150EUR with a European wide map.

So moneywise, the PC that I would build myself should be no more expensive then say 300 EUR and be able to do all that I have now AND fit in the same space I have the radio now.

Building it into the car doesn't make sense. (1)

Above (100351) | more than 3 years ago | (#34324032)

Cars last 10-20 years, which in the consumer electronics world might as well be the difference between the middle ages and today. No mater what system you so carefully install, it will be obsolete before the car, by a wide margin.

What cars need is a small space to install something like a MiFi. It should be a modular space so it can be swapped out over time, the key is to have power controlled by the key and enough space for access point type electronics. An input to the stereo is a huge plus.

Then get an iPad, or an Android Pad, or a netbook, or whatever is trendy next year. Connect to the Internet and be happy. CD, DVD players? What are those, I can put it all on an iPod. As long as I could AirPlay (or similar) to the box to the stereo, why install anything?

Automakers hate this, because it removes high profit items from the car; but it really is the future. Perhaps for the driver a standard docking station, so your pad type device can show you GPS maps and the like. A built in DVD player in the ceiling for the kids though is already on the way out, an iPad gives them more movies, games, and all at less cost....plus each kid can do what they want.

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