so if anyone has been following my posts lately you'll know that i've been working on hacking a garmin to display on the stock screen and came to the conclusion it couldn't be done, so i decided to go the carputer route.
i ended up buying a small netbox with a 1GHz atom processor since it's super small and powerful. i installed a 32GB SSD and loaded windows XP SP1 onto it with Garmin Mobile PC (GMPC). boot times when i start the car are about 25-30 seconds from dead to having the garmin program up and running (GMPC automatically starts in full screen mode when windows starts). so basically by the time i buckle up and get myself situated the program is ready to accept my destination.
i interfaced the video output using the PAC VCI-NIS2, which i had already purchased for my backup camera. due to the type of Nvidia chipset in the netbox i had to use a video converter to change the signal from DVI to RCA. i found a USB powered converter to go from VGA to RCA and just attached the DVI to VGA dongle that came with the netbox. the PAC VCI has a toggle switch to allow me to swap from the stock screen to the computer output. i'll mount the switch on the radio eventually.
for power i'm doing it crude and rude right now. i'm using a cigarette lighter adapter to power the netbox. the BIOS is set to reboot the computer whenever there is a power loss so it automatically comes on whenever i start the car. i'll move to installing a wake on LAN device later in the summer when i have time.
after this i decided to go one step further and install a touch screen overlay on the stock base model LCD. it interfaces via USB to the netbox and works GREAT. it took very little to get it all up and running in reality. right now the only drawback is lack of an on-screen keyboard (OSK), but i think i found a free solution for that online today. for now i'm using an RF mini keyboard that i keep in the door pocket. surprisingly, i don't miss the OSK at all yet. i find that typing on a real keyboard is a more satisfying experience than when i would use the OSK on my window mounted garmin. i'll still try the free one out but i will definitely keep a wireless mouse and keyboard on hand (small ones LOL).
right now i'm getting the voice prompts off the computer's small speaker, and they are OK i suppose but i want to either integrate it into my stereo sound system through my parrot bluetooth system or buy a small USB powered sound bar to place by my seat on the floor somewhere, that way i'll hear the prompts clearly.
right now i am running nothing else off of this computer. my intent wasn't to use it for entertainment but maybe in the future i will. i will likely install a more user friendly front end like roadrunner since its tough to use windows on a small screen LOL, plus roadrunner had a nice integration plug-in for the GMPC software.
i purchased the software and the garmin 10X receiver from garmin.com and they work great. the receiver locks onto the satellites within seconds (huge improvement over my now 4-5 year old garmin c320!!). the only issue is that the software is tied to one computer only (one allowable install), so if i ever decide to swap computers ill be in a world of hurt. i don't know why they did that but i suppose thats something to discuss another time.
for now i have the computer sitting on the floor. i need a few extra 2ft USB cables and i'll put it under the passenger seat. it has a fan so i'm not worried about cooling really.
right now thats about it. i'll upload pics tonight since i'm at work, consider this a teaser