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Discussion Starter #1
I am interested in getting an after market LCD and computer. I'd like it to have GPS and storage for music.

I have a 2008 Altima 2.5 S.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I second that motion. I'm not a big mod guy but I need MP3 capability in my car. So I bought an MP3 player and hooked it up to the AUX jack. Not as good as I was expecting. It's dangerous to take your eyes of the road to fiddle with the buttons on a small appliance.

So I'd too be interested to know how I can upgrade the radio in my Altima to something that at least can play a CD with MP3 tunes.
 

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Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4

I dont have my camera with me tonight but here's a few terrible camera phone pictures.
If you've never done a carpc install before I'll kinda go over whats happening.

The motherboard I just dropped in the glovebox. It's not ideal and when I had this system in my Lincoln it was much better and built into the console but I will be upgrading the board this summer so I wasn't going to waste the effort.
It's powered by an M2-ATX intelligent DC-DC power supply. It takes a direct feed off the battery and while I could write a few pages about how it works the long and short of it is that it automatically turns on and off with the car.
My board has componant out which goes to the screen.
The screen is pressure fit into the spot where the cubby used to be. It is being powered by the cigarette lighter that was in the cubby.
You'll notice I dont have a cable in my AUX port and that it's got a big orange hole.
I desoldered the jack front the face plate and extended it to behind the head unit. I initially tried to solder more leads so I could keep the jack in the front as well but due to the autosensing jack that proved to be impossible.
The computer uses 3/5mm out to the aux port.
This allowed me to keep the factory stereo (sucky as it is) but most importantly the wheel controls.
I'll try and get some better photos up in the next few days here to really show you whats going but it's currently -30 and I'm not terribly stoked about being outside.
I'll do a full picture instructional when I replace the board this summer.

It's tough to just tell you about it, if there's anything you dont follow just ask and I'll explain how it works.
 

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Some things I forgot to mention. I control the system using a logitech DiNovo Mini. The keyboard has a trackpad in the top right corner. Price wise it came in at about 140$ http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/keyboards/keyboard/devices/3848&cl=ca,en

The powersupply was a bit more when I bought it, I think I paid 85 shipped to canada.
M2-ATX 160W Automotive PSU, m2atx, matx, auto car smart power supply, wide input power supply

The motherboard I pulled from an old shuttle PC. I dont remember the model exactly.

This is the screen I used but without the tv tuner.
Pyramid MVR96T 9.2" SWIVEL TFT Monitor w TV TUNER - eBay (item 260347648734 end time Feb-14-09 14:51:26 PST)

All told it was about 500-600$ by the time I had everything.
There are lots of things I`d have changed about the setup but you live and learn.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Truly you are a god among men!

I would absolutely love to hear anything you have to say about this.

From what I gather in those pictures (I feel like a bitch for complaining it was -20 a while back and single digits now...) is you have the components in the glove box and screen in the cubby below, but how do those two communicate?

The second biggest thing holding me back from doing on in my car is taking things apart while the first is putting it back together. Was it very difficult for you? What kind of experience do you have in that kind of thing before your Altima?

I have the cheapest stereo in my car...I absolutely love it. No wheel controls, though - I use my Zune and AUX in.
 

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I wouldn't say I'm godly, just unhappy with the options I was given.

This is my third CarPC install. The first in my lincoln I used a flip out touch screen dvd deck, it worked okay but I found the screen was too small (Single Din has a max size of 7") Also I learned that touch screen was not a very effective way to use the pc. Theres lots of reasons but the biggest problems were that the screens dont clean well so they're alway oily, the flip out one I had wasn't really sturdy so it flexed when I touched it and finally the touch sensor is an overlay over the screen making the display a bit dimmer.
The second install was in a friends grand am, he didn't have a huge budget so it didnt turn out as well.

The two don't have much to communicate, the pc has componant out on the board and the screen has two componant in's (I have a backup camera but I have yet to install it) So there's a regular video cable going to the screen. The use input is accomplished with the DiNovo Mini (This keyboard is great, I would 100% recommend it to anybody who wants to do CarPC or Home Theatre PC, I've had it for almost a year and I've only charged it maybe 4 times)

As for the tear down and rebuild the Nissan is an absolute dream to work on compared to the Lincoln. Really theres a few less than a dozen screws. I just spent a few minutes looking at the centre console and tugging to find out where everything was screwed in. I eventually got the Factory Service Manual but you really don't need it.

I don't really have much experiance I'm more so stupid enough to not worry about my warranty.

Anyways, if you're looking to build a system for your car I'd be happy to work with you, theres some really cool parts that have come out in the last few months that opens up a ton of possibilities.

Keep in mind that if it didn't come with the car I would have opted out of the bose system, it's terrible to work with, however I do love the steering controls.

More off topic,
The weather comes and goes, Edmonton can be pretty bitter, when I bought my altima last year in Feb, the second day I had it was -40 with wind chill and it wouldnt start. I'm not complaining but its just a fact of life. Normally we're only about -25.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Even with that little bit of experience you far surpass me. I'm sure I will read the manual inside and then go taking things apart.

When you say the touchscreen doesn't work - what software were you using? A friend's touch screen on a single din unit works just fine, but there are only a few buttons overall. In a brand new Challenger/Ram 2500 the touch screen felt fine to me, though options are very very limited. I'd imagine a full PC desktop would be painful on the touchscreen.

How did you get the video out from the components in the glove box to the LCD? Did you drill a hole in the side/rear of the cubby?

What kind of PC hardware did you use?

Did you get your car Feb 17 by chance? On the 10th my car old car bit the dust - SimpleViewer - and a week later I bought the Altima (researched the last 6 months and I had my mind up a while back, just waiting that kick to get going). I simply do not like the bitter cold, as my hands get cold fast and then I feel very sick in only minutes.
 

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The touch screen does work, however I run FrodoPlayer for a front end (A terrible thing that it's no longer under development) Which is a database driven player so you always use the search function, however on a 7 inch screen to get all the letters on the display they end up being very small and the touch sensors on these screens just haven't been that accurate as far as I've seen. Maybe it's just the cold that gets to them, I don't know.
With the keyboard I find it's much more comfortable so when you're searching at a light its just like you're sending a text right, because it's in your lap instead of reaching to the centre console. It doesn't sound like much but when you need to do it for every new search you'll learn how annoying it can be.
Keep in mind this was just my experience with touch screens and for example MP3Car.com doesn't even sell non-touchscreens.
Even if I had a touch screen, I would use the keyboard first.
It's a decision you'll need to make for yourself but ask around and see what people say.

As for the cable, I took the glove box apart and just ran the cables when I reassembled it. It wasn't hard, and it's not a very long run. Getting power to your subs is way more work.

Like I said, I use the remnants of an old shuttle pc. However my system is a few years old and theres much better stuff out there. Like these Atom Based Boards

I think I had pickup on the 9th or something. Very close none the less.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Do you actually find yourself using the keyboard while driving? I can easily use the touch screen while driving but the tiny little keyboard would be problematic. I would like to have a button that simply says shuffle all music and play, then a few more buttons that show up to skip tracks, volume, etc. This is the #1 thing I want.

Getting the cable into the cubby - where does the screen actually connect at? Did you have to drill a hole? Would better pictures be an option?

I don't really have a budget limit, but I do not want to waste money. Looking at Car Computing 101 I need:

Machine
Displays
Interface Hardware
Power

If you had to do it all again, what parts would you buy?
 

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Since you say money isn't the issue here is what I would build. I have not tested most of these items however I would be taking a chance on them if I had the money available to me.

Intel D945GCLF2 Motherboard kit
1GB DDR2 Memory
Hitachi Travelstar 7K320 320GB 2.5" Mobile Hard Drive - 7200, 16MB, SATA-300, OEM 0A57547 in Canada at TigerDirect.ca
Lilliput 8" Widescreen (16:9) VGA Touchscreen 889GL-80NP/C/T
I would recommend the keyboard but since you say you prefer the touch interface I left it out.
After that its just labour. You need practice soldering and patient confidance.
If you wanted to go ahead with the install I'd gladly help from a distance if possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Just over $500 - is that all I would need? I'll get the keyboard if I feel the same way about the touch screen. It's bad enough that I text while driving...let alone use a full blown keyboard and mouse...

Is this as simple as connecting the PSU to the battery and the motherboard to the screen?

What software options are there?
 

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Setup is actually very simple, if not time consuming.

Software options really depend on what you want to do.
I use FrodoPlayer like I said, great for music but it assuredly has it's faults.
I tried RoadRunner and didnt like it.
Theres a bunch of others, you can check the software forum at MP3Car.com but I've found their forums pretty empty these days and the devolpers quit years ago.
 

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If you only want about 8gb of space you can get away with a Digiwalker mio and an adapter for the sound to route into the aux input. It has an MP3 player in it and there are some skins/hacks for the thing that will let you play mp3s while you use the navigation. Just me two cents. It should also only cost you about $150 if you look around.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm currently using a Zune 120 for music. I don't really like the controls in my cup holder, though =/
 
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