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17-09-2004 11:32:02

I'm looking to put together a carputer. Here are my plans for equipment so far:

MiniITX motherboard and processor by VIA. I've not settled on what one as of yet.

I do not plan to use the onboard sound as it will be inadequate for my uses. I'm taking suggestions on the best sound card for the price that will be very compatible with Linux.

Video, I will be using a 15" LCD screen that will fold out from my dash.

Keyboard and mouse will be wireless and kept in my console. I may consider integrating a trackball into the console for kewlness factor.

The hard disk drive will be a laptop harddrive with an IDE adaptor. Fairly easy to do. I'm confident this won't be a problem.

Now, distro. What do you guys think would be a good mp3/oog playing low overhead distro? Also, what player do you think I should go with. I plan on just doing a minimal install with X. Then going in and installing whatever player I decide on.

Also, while it wouldn't see much use, I'd like to be able to play DVDs on it. Any suggestions on that would be appreciated.

Power is not something I'm adequatly prepared to tackle, however my father is an electronics engineer and has promised to help me. I know i'm going to need an inverter, but I would like it to run off of the battery so that way I can shut the car off and still have the computer running. Also, he came up with the idea of engineering a way for the computer to detect when I shut the car off and power down on its own, then there would be no worry of draining the battery :-P

Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Also, please point out any areas I didn't cover. THANKS!


17-09-2004 11:56:48

As you a probably full aware of is that heat will kill your proc and hard drive, so be prepared for premature harware failure. With that said I would wire up a fan and temp sensor independent of the computers power state. This way you can have a fan kick on if temperatures are exceding a certain value, also if you can get outside air to pump in to it it would be a lot more efficient. You could always go the peltier route, but you will have to worry about condensation on your components.

In my experience with the sound card, if you can get an onboard sound card using the nforce chipset this will work perfectly, I have an ASUS A7N8X Deluxe with nforce2 chipset and sound is quite beautiful using alsa in linux.

I can't think of the name right now but there are some small foot print linux distros that support running mythtv on. That would probably be your best bet mythtv even without a tv tuner has some nice features and you can control it via remote control if you have infrared. Also it supports adding your own choice of playback on video stuff as far as mplayer, xine , or gxine goes. It has a nice clean interface and onlys requires the qt libraries to function.

If you threw something like that up running fluxbox for your X session, you would have a nice little machine there.

You could easily have an ignition wire connected to a serial port pin that would let you know if you have a certain voltage on that pin then you know the car is on. That should not be too hard to accomplish, but you will have to be mindful of the voltage that will be comming from the ignition. Not sure what serial is expecting, think 5V, but you will have to step down the inigtion voltage to match, i think it is 12V.

I would make use of some of the 2.6 kernel acpi or 2.4,2.6 apm features to make the computer sleep (suspend to ram) or hibernate (suspend to disk) that way you can have the pc up in a matter of seconds and pick up right were it left off.

I think that about covers all I can think about.



20-09-2004 09:44:19

gentoo ought to be pretty easy to keep as lightweight as you could want. but man oh man, I sure wouldn't want to do all the compiling on a VIA cpu. though there's no reason you couldn't build the packages on a faster machine, I guess.