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New Car PC

JohnWPB

Active Member
Alright, Electron has once again helped me spend my money! ;) I am just starting to put a CarPC together, well more software than anything else really. I actually cheated and am using a Dell Inspiron Laptop 1Ghz machine. I just ordered a 7" Touchscreen monitor, and a DeLorm USB GPS device, with Street Atlas 2005 software.

Can anyone reccomend a decent quality, but not to expensive mic for in the car? I have a convertable, so there is quite a bit more "road noise" than in a sealed cabin for sure. I would immagine that I do not want it to be a sensative mic, as I will probably mount it dirrectly above me in the sun visor. Something with a windscreen would probably be the best bet...

I was pleasently supprised that the NeoSpeech voices work with Street Atlas. The synthesized voices that come with it are REALLY bad. I have SA2002 here and am using that as a test bed till the 2005 version gets here with the GPS. Being in South Florida, and all the construction, the maps in 2002 are REALLY out of date!

Thanks for any advice, pointers or tips in advance!
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Most carpc owners recommend the $30 Logitec noise cancelling mic from Best Buy, but Staples sells a Labtec for $10, which is the exact same mic (just different branding), which has the same features, including noise cancellation. However, I don't think that any mic is going to work with that much road noise.

Also keep in mind that if you are planning on using a 7" touchscreen, you are going to want to go with gps software which is touchscreen friendly, which narrows the list down big time. The major players are: Routis, Iguidance, CoPilot and Destinator.
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Thanks for the quick reply! Do you know what name the mic is rebranded under? There is a Staples pretty close to my house.

I checked out all the software you listed above, and all but one, the Co-Pilot software, seems to be for a PDA.

I am going to try the Street Atlas for now, as I have a nice little on-screen keyboard overlay. Also, the voice comands will make it pretty user friendly, "Where am I" centers on your location, show the next stop, show the next turn, are we there yet (tells tims and sistance to destination, pan left/right, zoom in/out ect.

As for the road noise, I wasnt planning on trying it with the top down ;) So the additional noise shouldnt be TOO bad, with the mic just a few inches from me in the visor.

All of the stuff should be here this week, and will get it all hooked up and give it a try, and see how it goes from there. Thanks for the mic advice, and I will go look around tommorrow and see if I can find the one you mentioned.
 

Skibum

Senior Member
I would suggest a DSP USB mike. Possibly go bluetooth. That is the direction that I am heading... just as soon as the new Plantronics unit is released..(3 weeks)

Voyager
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
As for the rebranding question, LabTec is the manufacture (the brand staples sells), Logitec is the rebranded version.

All the gps packages I list are in use on carpc, both Routis and iGuidance are available for PC, and the Destinator software has an SDK ($50) which allows you to run it on the PC. Many people like the interface of Destinator, but iGuidance (which comes with voice prompts as well) is more accurate.

As for Street Atlas, good luck, it just doesn't work that well with small touch screens, plenty of people have tried ;)
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Well I have figgured out that I will probably need some sort of PTT (Push to talk) mic. Street Atlas keeps listening even when it is speaking and it messes ITSELF up.

The voice recognition is almost needed in my opinion. It gives total hands free operation, you can tell it to show next turn, repeat that, are we there yet (TIme and sistance to destination) zoom in/out (how many times) ect.

Just need to find some sort of switch that I can mount (preferably on the steering wheel) that looks nice. I guess the center console would be ok too, a very small almost unseen momentary switch.

The 7" Touchscreen Liliput monitor arrived FedEx this monring. It is a very nice looking monitor, and am very happy with it. The VGA cable locks in, which is good as I heard many complaints on the forums about loose cables on the small monitors.
 

smee

Senior Member
JohnWPB said:
Just need to find some sort of switch that I can mount (preferably on the steering wheel) that looks nice. I guess the center console would be ok too, a very small almost unseen momentary switch.
How about on the floor like an old high-beam switch?
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Smee, that a good idea! My car actually has a aised spot on the the floorboard where the left foot goes. Hmmmm will definately look into this. Now to find a rugged momentary switch with enough surface area ect...
 

compuguru

Active Member
Just a quick question...What would be the actual computer in a Car PC? It would have to handle sudden power losses (when you turn the car off) and boot quickly I would assume. Is a laptop the solution, or what do you guys think?
 

DavidL

Senior Member
The PC itself is same stuff as desktop - P3 or p4. Some use small motherboard flavors. Mine is a Shuttle (not installed yet).

The power supply can be 12 volt type or use a 12 v to 110 volt inverter before a standard 110 volt pc powe supply. Some of the 12v custom power supplys have capacitors or secondary battery to handle short voltage glitches like starting of the vehicle.

Boot quickly - some are using XPLite for this reason. Most are just using a standard XPPro OS.
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Thanks guys, Sorry... I was not ignoring the responses, I was out of town for a week on a mini-vacation. Just got back, Electron, I will check out that link tommorrow.
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Smee:

Well you have a point! Thats all I seem to take are "Mini" vacations. Its about all I can stand away from the computer! hahahha Remoting-In just isn't the same ;)

I will say, in my defence, that I called it a mini vacation as I was just 2 hours drive time from my house. Was a lot of fun though! I did get a chance to meet Zac in person (CBL(College Boys Live)) and he was a REALLY nice guy and SO knolegable about HA I was jeleaous! He has went so much further into what can be done with HomeSeer and automation, that I will probably ever get to.

My next vacation, mini or not, I HOPE, will get me out of the state of Florida!
 

JohnWPB

Active Member
Well, the Car PC is definately on hold for now ;) After all a carPC is not much good without the car! My car was stolen yesterday in broad daylight at a busy supermarket in the middle of the day! In a good neighborhood at that!.

I have the Laptop here still, luckily, but the 20Gig external Drive was tucked under the seat with all the MP3 and mapping software installed on it. Also the GPS receiver was mounted in the window with the wires tucked under the molding. Also HA related were a DS10a, and a motion sensor wired up to monitor the car home/away status. Oh, and the power inverter that powered everything..... unreal....

Anyhow, I am leaving in a few minutes as a friend is taking me car shopping. I did not have theft insurance on the car, so I think that is something I will do this go-around ;) If they find the car, after I get another one, I will just sell it as is, as I am sure the ignition, and God knows what else will be wrong with it, as the doors we locked, windows up, and concidering it was a convertable, probably a sliced top, as thats the best way in that I can figgure.
 
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