I'm into photography and carry my Canon Digital Rebel everywhere. I have two 512MB Lexar Pro CompactFlash Cards and occasionally they'll fill up when I'm out shooting miles from a PC where I can dump them. My car PC to the rescue. I pondered where to put a CF reader in my car, but it was very clear the only cool place to put it was INSIDE the Lilliput LCD. I bought a Dazzle USB2.0 CF Reader and tore the guts out. This left me with a small board that looked easy enough to fit in the deep LCD, but it got very big when I tried to close it inside of the case. After trying two or three positions and ripping out the internal speaker, I settled on a top-loading position and mounting the PCB where the touchscreen interface was mounted. I moved this to the center of the board, inverted to make it low enough to fit and hot glued both the touchscreen and CF reader PCB into place.
CF Reader Mod
(0.1) LCD innards and the CF reader in action. The CF reader PCB is unwired in the center picture, to the left.
Scroll Mod: After using the CarPC very successfully for a few months, I found (as I could have guessed) scrolling long lists of mp3s and whatnot with a touchscreen somewhat tedious. After flirting with the idea of physically mounting a USB mouse scroll wheel inside the casing of my LCD, I turned to a pile of PS/2 mice that I was not using. Upon disassembling them, I found the push/pull style scroll much more appealing than a wheel. I took the guts out of the 5-button mouse and de-soldered some of the switches. I had previously opened my LCD to check out it's internals and found it's rarely-used control buttons on a separate PCB inside. When I got the two components together, I cut the non-ground traces to the far right two buttons and to the center two buttons (marked "Volume") to disconnect them electrically from the LCD. I wired the first two buttons to the "Up" and "Down" switches of the scroll and then the second set of buttons to the "Back" and "Forward" switches on the mouse PCB. I'm currently looking for a way to make the "Back" and "Forward" buttons control the system volume. If only the manufacturer had just added a physical scroll and/or volume control to the touchscreen controller... but what's the fun in that?
While I had the LCD open, I also hardwired the "Power" button closed to switch on the LCD when power is applied, as opposed to the off by default.
During this time I also upgraded my WiFi card to a Buffalo WLI2-PCI-G54S which works very well with Netsumbler. The GPS and mapping software were also upgraded to a Delorme Earthmate and Street Atlas 2005. This upgrade fixed the FTDI serial converter conflict that arose again when using the MediaEngine software. The best feature of this GPS is the ability to use is as a purely USB or converted serial device.
Speaking of MediaEngine, I've dumped it for Winamp, XtremePCR and the Street Atlas software. MediaEngine's best features are still beta and are too troublesome. I'm probably going to develop my own all-in-one software with the Winamp and XM PCR interface modules MediaEngine used. More to come.
(0.1) Mitsumi 5-button scroll mouse connected to the LCD via 5-Pin DIN pigtail.
So, for the longest time, putting a PC in the place I spend about 2 hours every day has been a goal of mine. I finally got up the gusto to do it. My 01' Malibu presents, the Car PC...
After a lot of browsing I came up with a shopping list with a hefty pricetag:
Seagate 2.5" 40GB 5400rpm Hard Drive $109.00
Opus SFX Automotive 150W DC-DC Power Supply (ATX/P4) $199.00
Netgear WG311 54 Mbps Wireless PCI Adapter $57.00
VIA EPIA M10000 Fanless Mini-ITX Motherboard $135.00
Lilliput 7" Wide Screen VGA TFT Display with Touchscreen $279.00 RadioLabs.com
802.11 Magnetic Mount Mobile WiFi Antenna 7 (7.8dBi) $49.00 XMFanstore.com
XM PCR (Discontinued) $14.98 MyRadioStore.com
Terk XMicro Antenna $29.99 Rayming.com
Rayming TN200 TripNav USB GPS Receiver $115.95
Pioneer GM-X364 4CH Amplifier (I've had this a while) $159.95
A fan I had lying around $15.00